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There is a psychological importance to the design of educational spaces that outstrips the practical requirements of class size, locker provisions, and common rooms. And while many program needs may be more logistical than visionary, there is a higher obligation to design experiences that excite minds and encourage inquiry that is entirely up to the architect. AN looks at six newly completed education projects, from schools in upstate New York and Los Angeles for children with special needs to new campus buildings at Barnard and City College in New York, where circulation not only connects spaces but also takes the learning experience well beyond the classroom.
Bruce Damonte


The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture
New York

Rafael Vinoly Architects remakes a soulless, 1950s building at the City College of New York as a mulitilevel generator of new campus vitality.





Courtesy turner brooks architect






Center for Discovery Autism Campus
Harris, New York

A constellation of buildings designed by Turner Brooks Architect and tailored for students with autism is highly attuned to the haptic experience of space.


courtesy weiss/manfredi






The Diana Center at Barnard College
New York

Weiss/Manfredi's new hive of activity for the 120-year-old liberal arts college for women puts a new face on the venerable Morningside Heights campus.




doug olsen

Park Century School
Los Angeles

Los Angeles architect Christopher V. Ward reinvents a concrete tilt-up warehouse in Culver City as a delightfully playful space for students with learning disabilities.








raul otero

Watts Learning Center
Los Angeles

Taking cues from African Kente cloth and throwing in a number of sensibly sustainable twists, the Cuningham Group has given Watts its latest landmark.



courtesy som

St. Albans School
Washington, D.C.

Inspired by the Olmstedian grounds of the nearby National Cathedral, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill updates a century-old campus with a modern dose of interconnectivity.