PK-12 Education Architects
Of all types of design, educational architecture has perhaps the clearest, most meaningful purpose — the development of our students and the communities that surround them.
It also presents a complex set of challenges.
Schools need to achieve a holistic range of goals — like safety, physical health, mental health, quality learning, and more. They need to achieve these goals across a myriad of spaces — like classrooms, hallways, dining areas, sports fields, arts & theater spaces, and more.
It takes the vision of faculty and school board members, in partnership with an experienced school architecture firm, to create an educational space that accomplishes all the practical requirements of a school and transforms the learning experience for its student population.
Contact SSP today to speak with an education architect about creating or redesigning your educational institution.
School Design that Enhances the Learning Experience
Every day, you work to design curricula and programming that make a positive difference for your students. But did you know you can also transform their experience through architecture and design?
Design and architecture have the power to improve mental health, encourage inclusivity, make your school run more efficiently, and enhance the learning experience.
A Multitude of Learning Spaces
A school is a multi-use environment — a mosaic of spaces — including administrative offices, health offices, cafeterias, arts venues, athletic facilities, a variety of classroom types, and more.
Each space brings distinct value to your school, and each must be designed in a particular way to achieve that value.
- Music rooms require wood, carpet, and other sound-proofing materials, combined in a form that accommodates (and inspires) an entire ensemble.
- Photo labs need collaborative classroom space, plus a darkroom where students can complete their work without getting in each other’s way.
- Science classrooms need to be conducive to scientific experimentation and group learning.
- Physical education spaces must enable a flow that facilitates physical health from the locker room, to the gymnasium, to the playing field, and back.
This is just a small sample of the many learning spaces that might exist at your school.
In addition, today’s learning experiences are changing with technology. For example, the music technology suite at the Middlesex County Vo-Tech School has allowed students to engage in a more modern approach to music-making.
How does school design impact learning?
Education architecture is a valuable opportunity to create a long-term positive difference in a community. It begins with the students and faculty who inhabit the space, then ripples out to the families and community members who have connections with the school.
To address the importance of school architecture, we start by asking two questions:
– What constitutes a great learning experience?
– What architecture and design elements empower this experience?
Designing for greatness in education
The possibilities are endless. We can make schools more inviting and engaging through choices around colors, tones, lighting, form, and more. We can allow people to move efficiently and freely. We can promote curiosity, imagination, and heightened thinking through the design choices we make.
High ceilings have been proven to foster creativity. Natural light cultivates good mental health. Good insulation allows a school to stay warm in the wintertime, while airflow allows students to stay cool and comfortable in the warmer seasons.
When choosing colors, we know that tones in the green-blue-purple spectrum are calming and soothing, while tones in the red-orange-yellow spectrum are awakening and invigorating. Your school spirit colors can foster a sense of community. We can blend these tones, using them thoughtfully to create the right experience in the right space.
All these aspects of architecture and interior design for schools are essential to crafting an inviting, stimulating, and beneficial learning experience.
If you’re a private school, a college, or another type of post-secondary school, then you may want a school design that impresses prospective students and encourages them to sign up.
Yet, whether you’re public or private, the “buy-in” of students in their learning environment is key to them achieving their potential.
Just as the design of top-notch curricula and programming can improve student grades, retention, and graduation rates — we believe that school architecture is inextricably tied to educational outcomes, and we work with you to create a design that leads to student success.
Safety and Health in School Design
Another essential aspect of school design is child protection and safety.
Planning a school for fire safety means designing a facility that allows students to evacuate swiftly. It also means designing a school with the proper layout and materials that make it possible to contain a fire before it spreads.
Entranceways and corridors can be optimized for safety in the event of an emergency. The right windows and blinds can allow natural light to enter while making it difficult for outsiders to see inside the classroom.
In addition, advanced security systems and door-locking mechanisms are all options today for enhancing school safety.
Student Safety and Peace of Mind
Beyond these more concrete security measures, it’s important to design a school that discourages harmful conduct and encourages positive behavior.
Designing for visibility and lines-of-sight can reduce behaviors like drug use and bullying. We can go a step further by building accessible, inviting spaces that increase inclusivity for all members of your community.
The health of students and faculty is a key consideration in every corner of your school, from creating spaces that are easy to clean and sanitize, to designing state-of-the-art nursing facilities that make students feel comfortable.
In a post-covid world, it’s highly important to design schools with quality ventilation systems. It’s also important to create layouts for students and teachers to practice social distancing and help minimize the outbreak of any illness in your school population.
Finally, all the design elements mentioned above can help build an environment that’s good for students’ mental and emotional health.
Social inclusion, physical health, feelings of safety, and a great learning experience can all help lift the spirits of the people in a school community.
Every choice we make in educational architecture is a chance to foster a positive sense of happiness, learning, and community.
Our Work in Educational Architecture
At SSP, we have a wide range of experience in school architecture. We’re extremely proud of our work in the education sector, and we’re happy to chat any time about how we can use our skills and experience to help you transform your educational institution.
Elementary School Architecture
Neptune Midtown Community School
This elementary school, serving over 700 students in Neptune, NJ, has had a major positive impact on education in this Jersey Shore community. The school’s LEED-Platinum design includes a wellness clinic, a parenting and tutoring center, an outdoor amphitheater, a 6000 sq. ft. greened space, and much more.
Our portfolio of elementary school architecture and design includes:
- Claremont Elementary School
- South Street Elementary School
- Madison Avenue Elementary School
- Dr. Maya Angelou Elementary School
- Fort Lee Board of Ed Elementary School 2 (additions and alterations)
Middle and High School (Secondary School) Architecture
Montville Township High School Media Center
The new MTHS media center is a modern transformation of the school’s library. The space now combines their full collection of books with a state-of-the-art technology suite, giving students all the learning possibilities that come from both traditional and new media.
Our work in secondary school architecture includes: