Letter from the Editor

Dear DesignShare Readers,

I spent the first days of April in Argentina. While in Buenos Aires, I met school architect and landscape designer Ana Ines Bajcura for a coffee. She has been a friend and colleague of DesignShare and served as a former Design Awards juror. I had never met her before, never spoken on the phone, and had only her DesignShare profile photo to go off of when we decided on a bustling cafe to meet. Once we found each other, I felt I’d already known her though.

Workspaces just don’t work the same way they used to, and isn’t that the beauty of the 21st century? Admittedly there are challenges associated with working from home or on the road, staring at a screen all day and being more familiar with the ring tone for a colleague than you are with his or her face. Nevertheless, the flexibility allows for far more time thinking creatively about problems. It breaks down the 9-to-5 constrictions of a traditional office. And like it or not, it’s the direction in which things are moving.

Schools are doing the same thing. Or at least the people inside them are. As we continue to plan, discuss, and design new buildings for the future, this is a theme not to lose sight of. The coincidental theme of this month’s enews is “reinvention.” Prakash Nair’s article “Don’t Just Rebuild Schools – Reinvent Them” speaks powerfully to these shifts in school design. A New York Times article proposes a new take on innovation. Rotraut Walden’s book “Schools for the Future” will inspire and arouse ideas.

Cheers and Happy Spring!

Clare Vogel, Editor

On Tap

Don't Just Rebuild Schools—Reinvent Them
By Prakash Nair – Education Week
With all the money being allocated for school modernization, repairs, and new construction, Nair encourages educators to attach “strict conditions to any support” for new facilities projects under the much talked-about federal stimulus package. “Those conditions should send a clear message to each community that facilities spending be leveraged to change the educational paradigm from the largely teacher-centered model now practiced everywhere to a 21st-century, student-centered approach.” Read the full article...

Reinventing Innovation
Alice Rawsthorn - New York Times
Some words just wear themselves out. They are used — or misused — so often that they lose their meaning. A recent recruit to the endangered list is “innovation.” Once hailed as a panacea, it has been so diminished by hyperbole that it risks seeming irrelevant. Yet just like “design” and “contemporary,” “innovation” is losing credibility as a word at the very time when it is needed most urgently. Read the full article....

One Corner of the World

Great Schools Campaign
The UK in the middle of the biggest investment in school buildings since Victorian times! “We want to shape and influence government policy in the design and building of future schools across the UK and beyond.” The British Council for School Environments’ Great Schools campaign aims to create a national debate about great schools and explore the role that schools and learning environments play in tackling social inequality and improving the life chances of children and young people. Read more...

DesignShare’s Bookshelf

Schools for the Future: Design Proposals from Architectural Psychology
by Rotraut Walden (Ed.)
Contributions from international experts discuss how school buildings can work together with users’ own creative responses and result in educational environments that are ‘alive.’ DesignShare has long maintained friendships with several of the contributing authors as part of our Design Awards program, including Dr. Jeff Lackney, Henry Sanoff and Kaname Yanagisawa. Read the full review...

Event Calendar

A full listing of events can be found on

2009 School Building Expo (Pittsburgh)
June 2 - 4, 2009
If you're planning new schools, designing a new school, or renovating a school... If you're an architect designing schools and colleges, if you're a campus planner, a university architect, or you're an educational facilities planner... If you're building new schools, if you're building a college building, if you're building a university campus... If you're a member of AIA Committee on Architecture for Education, if you're an educational facilities planner or your direct capital projects for a school or college, if you're in school construction or college construction... If you're a member of CEFPI and interested in educational facilities planning... If you want to know more about Green Schools, solar power in schools, or LEED for Schools, then School Building Expo is for you.

September 27 - 29, 2009
6-Degrees of Connection

International Conference on Sustainable School Buildings (Ljubljana, Slovenia)
October 1-2, 2009

VIII International Congress on the Development of Educational Spaces (Mexico)
November 2009
Contact: Carlos Bocanegra:

ARCHILD International Congress Architecture and Children (Turkey)
ARChild Conference (Turkey)
November 18-21, 2009
The Organizing Committee for the ARCHILD International Congress Architecture and Children is pleased to announce that the Congress will be held at Ankara during November 18-21, 2009. The goal of ARCHILD Congress is sharing the theoretical and practical experiences about city and architectural cultural works. The congress will include oral and poster presentations of the ARCHILD working groups, in plenary format.

Safer Schools, Safer Communities: Ensuring Safe and Secure Learning Environments for Children and Young People (UK)
January 18-19, 2010

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