TOP 10 educational facilities of 2014




as an architectural type, schools often reflected societal values aimed at encouraging a learning environment conducive for progress. based on this tendency of indicating contemporary conditions – in conjunction with varied global contexts and architectural languages – 2014 saw the completion of very diverse and spatially expressive educational facilities intended to promote local identity, connection to nature, and overall improvement of life. additionally, the school is evolving away from simply being a series of classrooms, to include new functions in hopes of providing increased learning opportunities for students. read on for our list of the TOP 10 school buildings – in no particular order – realized in the past year, ranging from kindergartens to university programs.






emerson college by morphosis architects

top 10 educational facilities 2014 designboom

photo © iwan baan




the new ‘emerson college los angeles (ELA)’ building opened this past year in the heart of hollywood, serving to condense the school’s various programs into a single urban site. the facility was designed by morphosis architects, and is arranged with sweeping-formed volumes contained within a larger outer frame. the campus provides a permanent base for an institution renowned for its communication and arts curriculum, and unites student housing, instructional facilities, and administrative offices into one structure.







farming kindergarten by vo trong nghia

top 10 educational facilities 2014 designboom

photo © hiroyuki oki




the ‘farming kindergarten’ by vo trong nghia architects functionally and visually expresses an educational model aimed at instilling values of sustainability and local agriculture. the building features a fully accessible green roof shaped in a triple-ring form, with three courtyards enclosed by the looping structure. the result provides safe and secure playgrounds for the students, as well as the ability for participation in small scale food cultivation. located in dongnai, vietnam, accommodates up to 500 children. 







tiantai no. 2 primary school by LYCS architecture

top 10 educational facilities 2014 designboom

photo © shengliang su




as a display for how roof levels can offer added functionality in the built environment, LYCS architecture designed the ‘tiantai no. 2 primary school’ based on the form of a 200-meter running track. the strategy responds to issues of land scarcity prevalent in this old-city zone in china, and similarly exist in many urban areas worldwide. the scheme allows for the sport and playground space necessary in contemporary educational institutions, while keeping the massing’s site coverage relatively low (41%) for reduced density and usable outdoor space on the ground plane.







orfatterhuset kindergarten by COBE

top 10 educational facilities 2014 designboom

photo © adam mørk




featuring curved corners and lush roof gardens, danish architects COBE completed a daycare center in copenhagen that seeks to reflect the significance of its historic surroundings. ‘orfatterhuset kindergarten’ is comprised of five small structures united with a distinctive vertical brick façade that both protects the scheme and references the region’s existing architecture. externally, the center is envisioned as a ‘village for children’, while internally, the plan is coherent and efficient – establishing a compact place that is functional, flexible, and inviting.







issam fares institute by zaha hadid architects

top 10 educational facilities 2014 designboom

photo © hufton + crow




the ‘issam fares institute for public policy and international affairs’ (IFI), designed by zaha hadid architects, was completed in 2014 as part of an on-going campus redevelopment at the american university of beirut. the facility immediately serves the school’s students and administrators, but on a larger scale is a hub for local, regional, and international academics, researchers, and politicians. the structure’s form features a large cantilever over an outdoor plaza, with linkages on all sides to the surrounding campus.







gangouroubouro primary school by LEVS architecten

top 10 educational facilities 2014 designboom

photo © LEVS architecten




LEVS architecten designed and realized a primary school for the village of gangouroubouro, mali, which both reflects and utilizes vernacular building traditions. the building’s walls have been constructed from locally-produced and hydraulic compressed earth blocks (HCEB), positioned in alternating strips that determine the rhythm of each façade. the project is comprised of an educational facility for local children, toilet blocks for sanitary facilities, and a shared outdoor space.







beijing no.4 high school fangshan campus by OPEN architecture

top 10 educational facilities 2014 designboom

photo © su shengliang




for the design of the fangshan campus of beijing’s regarded no.4 high school, OPEN architecture sought to create a facility with close connection to garden spaces and recreation program. the building, partially sunk below grade, is organized with many appendages extending from a central spine in order to increase exposure to the surrounding outdoor areas and provide ample daylight to all interiors. through its decentralized and non-hierarchical organization the architects seek to subvert many qualities of typical school facilities in hopes to, ‘inspire and initiate some much needed changes in the education system of china today.’







dr. chau chak wing building at UT-sydney by frank gehry

top 10 educational facilities 2014 designboom

photo © andrew worssam




the frank gehry-designed ‘dr. chau chak wing building’ at university of technology, sydney has been completed and opens to students for the first term of 2015. the facility is the california-based architect’s first in australia, and houses teaching, learning, research, and office spaces for the institution’s business school. it features dissimilar façades to the east and the west, with the former made of waving brick in reference to the region’s sandstone heritage, and the latter of angular glass panels reflecting the contemporary context.







school of economics at UDP by duque motta AA

top 10 educational facilities 2014 designboom

photo © fernando guerra, sergio guerra | fg + sg




the school of economics at diego portales university in santiago, chile is part of the first completed phase in the huechuraba campus master plan, designed by architecture practice duque motta AA. the plan intends to instill a new image of permanence and professionalism into the otherwise academic landscape, while also reflecting the surrounding landscape. the structure is elevated from the ground plane, while daylight is permitted through many small windows and balconies across its façades as well as its inner courtyard.







seona reid building at glasgow school of art by steven holl architects

top 10 educational facilities 2014 designboom

photo © iwan baan




this past year steven holl architects completed the ‘seona reid building’ at the glasgow school of art. the addition is intended to both complement and contrast the iconic charles rennie mackintosh’s structure which was completed over 100 years before. the translucent materiality of the design juxtaposes the masonry of the existing structure, allowing the building to express the school’s activity to the city’s urban fabric. the facility’s layout is organized by shafts, termed ‘driven voids of light’, which illuminate its communal and workshop spaces.