The 2011 Cleveland Design Competition invites professionals, students, firms and designers from all over the world to submit visions for a new kindergarten through twelfth grade (K-12) public school in Downtown Cleveland. At a time when educators are implementing dramatically new ideas in pedagogy, curricula and organization models, the reinvention of learning environments deserves equal attention. The 2011 Cleveland Design Competition presents an opportunity to re-imagine the school and explore how educational facilities must evolve to provide world-class opportunities for learning.
The challenges education and educational facilities currently experience is not unique to the City of Cleveland. Many cities throughout the world are faced with a growing achievement gap between high performing and poor performing schools. Families from communities with poor performing schools who seek to improve the educational opportunities for their children have little choice but to move to communities where school districts are better funded, better operated and offer more opportunities for children to achieve academic success.
The 2011 Cleveland Design Competition has partnered with Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Cleveland State University to envision an innovative new school for Campus International School in Downtown Cleveland. The Campus International School, one of the CMSD’s innovation schools, is charged with developing new teaching and learning methods that translate into measurable success that can be implemented throughout the entire municipal school district. In its first year of existence, the Campus International School has been recognized for its vision, high standards and academic rigor. Enrollment is telling. In addition to drawing a large portion of its student population from the City of Cleveland, parents are sending children from surrounding suburbs to enroll in the new school; creating one of the few schools drawing families into a Cleveland public school.
The 2010 U.S. Census shows that Cleveland lost 17% of its residents in the last ten years. Many residents of depleted neighborhoods affected by the foreclosure crisis and rising crime continue to migrate to other parts of the city and beyond, leaving behind once vibrant neighborhoods. Educational opportunity is a key factor for improving the future of a cities existing population and attracting new populations. Population patterns suggest that families are moving away from the city in great numbers, in some part, due to poor educational opportunities. Cleveland public school enrollment declined at an even faster rate of 38% over the same timeframe, from 72,000 students in 2000 to approximately 44,000. If the student population continues to decline at this rate, by 2020 the public school system will have fewer than 27,000 students. Educators, community foundations, and residents in the City of Cleveland are devising strategies for creating successful schools for the families that remain, and creating viable school choices in the urban core for families living throughout the region. There is a common belief among Clevelanders that the future success of the city is dependent in large part on the success of its schools. Submissions must explore how the design of better learning environments, and their ability to connect with the city, might help to slow or reverse the population exodus from the public school system in Cleveland and many other urban areas throughout the world.
The 2011 Cleveland Design Competition invites designers to break from the standardized formula for prescribed programming and designing to imagine a learning environment that supports new approaches to education. This is an opportunity to re-evaluate the physical spaces in which children learn and give as great an emphasis on educational environments as others have given the educational philosophies; an opportunity to influence the approach to school planning and design in the City of Cleveland and around the world.
For more information, please download the full competition brief.