This issue was an inspiring one to put together, and as a mom, restored some hope and optimism in me for the youth of our country.
As an industry you have been busy and we’ve got the fruits of your labor to show for it, both on the following pages and online. The education market has so many factors to consider for designers; so many demographics to accommodate; so many obstacles to overcome whether that’s funding, proper safety or just general understanding. But you are doing an amazing job helping the world see there are many different types of learners, all with their own strengths and weaknesses, and all deserve a school environment that builds them up, not inherently works against them.
Take the neurodiverse community, for which my own son is a part of. Thanks to the groundbreaking work of two of our sources in this issue: HOK’s Kay Sargent (page 43) and the legendary Dr. Temple Grandin (page 22), students with learning disabilities are now being set up for success, both in school and into employment. Read what they have to say about developing interiors and products that cater to those with sensory sensitivities as well as visual and auditory processing difficulties, then hop on over to iands.design to see our photo gallery of the Yaldei School and Therapy & Early Intervention Center, where lots of their suggestions were put into practice by Montreal’s Stendel + Reich Architecture.
But perhaps the biggest movement in the education market that this issue uncovers is that of equity. Giving underserved communities access to well-designed learning facilities that implement universal design principles is changing lives, creating happier, well-adjusted students who are reaching their full potential. Today’s schools are also taking this a step further by finding ways to connect them back to the neighborhoods they are such an integral part of. We spoke with several school safety experts on page 24 for our feature titled “Marked Safe” who all say this is critical:
“More than any bulletproof glass, a meaningful and caring relationship between a school and the world outside its walls is essential to keeping our children and educators safe,” said Elizabeth Stoel, director of architecture for Cooper Robertson in New York City. There are so many ways to do this as The Michelle Obama School in Richmond, Calif.—the subject of our On the + Side column on page 50—exemplifies. It’s extending its reach out into the surrounding predominantly Latinx community to offer up its spaces for events and a program called “Parent University” that includes ESL classes, tax filing assistance and parenting workshops. Schools are also making a concerted effort to equip students with the ability to apply their trades and skills immediately upon graduation with spaces like the automotive shop at the Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Edmund, OK (page 30).
We think all four projects featured in this issue will knock your socks off (does that phrase age me?)—and more importantly we as always hope it helps you in your day-to-day. And if you’re a parent, I give you my personal guarantee that it will make you smile.
Thanks for reading!