As new schools of architecture are built around the world, classrooms and studios are being reimagined. As places where critique, collaboration and problem solving come together, these buildings are made to inspire future generations of architects and designers. Whether designed by faculty within the school itself, alumni, or distinguished architects, the projects are built to empower education through the exchange of knowledge and ideas.
The following projects explore relationships of tectonics, theory and space within modern architecture schools. Reflecting new ideas and trends in both academia and contemporary practice, they are drawn from across four continents and seven countries. Formed across a range of scales, there are similarities in circulation and program. Each manifests a distinct design process with a diverse set of spatial and formal approaches that embody architectural education today.
The project is structured around creating the conditions for casual interaction and dialogue. The School of Architecture is designed around a large studio conceived of as a factory floor, a large space on the first floor, structured by courtyards and light wells. Seminar rooms overlook the studio to make an integrated design space and a large stair skewers the building connecting all floors.
The building is located within a World Heritage Site in Greenwich Town Centre. Its massing is organized in narrow and wide bands which step down towards the residences at the rear. The wide bands house the program with narrow bands containing courtyards and services. A series of roof terraces is created by the stepped section which becomes learning and meeting spaces for the students.
The Daniels Building at the University of Toronto embodies a holistic approach to urban design and sustainability. As the new home for the John H. Daniels Faculty of architecture, landscape, and design, its purpose is to engage students and the broader community in dialogue about the built environment. At the center of one of Toronto’s few circular parcels, the project anchors the southwest corner of the University and opens the circle to the public after years of inaccessibility.
It restores the historic and forgotten building to its original grandeur while also integrating a new addition. The north-south axis characterizes symbolic relationships to the City, while the east-west axis is activated by pedestrian traffic. On the western edge, a discreet arcade addresses the residential scale of the adjacent neighborhood.
Kent State Center for Architecture and Environmental Design by WEISS/MANFREDI, Kent, OH, United States
The Kent State Center for Architecture and Environmental Design “Design Loft,” which was selected as the winner of an international competition, is a site for new connections. A continuous gallery anchors the building’s main public level and opens up to a new esplanade.
The ascending sequence of ground floor spaces support a broad range of activities including a cafe, gallery, 200-seat multi-purpose lecture room, library, classrooms, and reading areas. The 117,000-square-foot building, which is on track for LEED Platinum certification, unites for the first time all of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design’s programs inside an expansive 650-seat design studio.
New School of Architecture, Royal Institute of Technology by Tham & Videgård Arkitekter, Stockholm, Sweden
The new school is inserted into an existing courtyard space with existing pathways and is located adjacent to Erik Lallerstedt’s original and quite monumental brick buildings from the early twentieth century. Based on the logic of a free campus layout that encourages movement, the idea is to accommodate and encourage circulation within the building and all around it as a way of thoroughly integrating and anchoring the new school to the site.
With its rounded contours and a total of six floors, the school building includes a sunken garden and a roof terrace, while cultivating the character of the courtyard as one continuous space. The floor plans highlight the extensive use of curving walls, which generate fluid, interconnected spaces and volumes. The deep red corten steel exterior relates to the dark red brick of existing buildings.
The teaching spaces of La Fabrique are projected into the streetscape, encouraging students to engage with the building’s context and allowing the city to permeate the ribbed veil of the façade. The transparent plinth gives the feeling that a gravitational force has pulled the building upwards leaving it to rest on stiletto heels, allowing the city in underneath.
The building’s massing consists of two-story blocks stacked on top of each other. The lower block cantilevers over the transparent, ground floor plinth, while the uppermost block steps back, providing the maximum volume within the constraints set by the planning regulations. The blocks are unified by the common envelope, a semi-transparent aluminum skin that cloaks the glazed “boxes.”
University of Miami School of Architecture Thomas P. Murphy Design Studio Building by Arquitectonica, Coral Gables, FL, United States
The new studio building for the University of Miami provides a space conducive to learning and studying, but also serves as a teaching tool by illustrating some of the basic tenets of modern architecture. The building is located at the center of an intersection, creating a plaza and adjoining pathway that act as a link from the campus to the Miami Metrorail.
The southern wall peels away to address the portico of the existing auditorium and gallery. The warping corner of the roof folds over the southernmost tip of the building, shading the interior space from the strongest sunlight. The building has tall and flexible spaces, both indoors and outdoors. Narrow steel pipe columns support the 18-foot high ceilings to create a sense of openness and allow natural light to permeate the building.
Vol Walker Hall and the Steven L. Anderson Design Center by Marlon Blackwell Architects, Fayetteville, AR, United States
The Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas is complex but resolute hybrid, combining the restoration of historic Vol Walker Hall, the original campus library, and the modern addition of the Steven L. Anderson Design Center. For the first time, the Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Interior Design programs will be located in the same building with room to grow.
The new entry is fully accessible for students and faculty of all disciplines, leading to an exhibition gallery and integral displays along the central axis. The addition also makes Vol Walker Hall fully accessible for the first time. New twin stairwells are located between the restoration and addition, connecting old and new and delivering daylight and activity into the center of the building.
The building is a long, airy loft on two to three levels articulated by a series of “scoops,” defining structure-enclosures that can be used for casual meetings and “crit” sessions. These line the central street that gently rises up the hilltop site. As befits a hot and sometimes sticky climate, the building is airy and folds over upon itself in a series of fan-like roofs and slits. The design takes advantage of the east-west axis to create a climate-controlled building envelope that includes sunshade “eyebrows” on the sun-drenched north side.
Milstein Hall promotes innovative ways of teaching and serves the daily activities of the studio environment — a blend of physical and digital creative work. Physically, Milstein Hall is a connector between a unique site and existing conditions. The design includes an elevated second floor that provides much-needed flexible contiguous studio space and connections to Sibley and Rand halls.
The structure is cantilevered on the north side and southeast corner with the space underneath left open to form a pedestrian plaza that provides outdoor gathering and exhibition space protected from the elements, and a sheltered pedestrian connection to the sculpture studios located in the Foundry. A concrete dome in the center provides the incline for the auditorium seating and creates a ceiling for the critique space below.
This school covers an area of 5,600 square meters and has the capacity to accommodate 600 students. It is located in the University of Rwanda’s College of Science and Technology campus in Nyarugenge District. The works started in early 2017 and were completed at the end of 2017.
Its architecture is inspired by the territory and by colors and shapes found in nature. The four natural elements are represented in the conception of the building: Fire: orange color, Water: inner garden, Air: circulations, and Earth: lava rock and rammed earth. The team created prisms inspired by Rwanda’s landscape and topography.