TOP 10 schools and educational buildings of 2019

TOP 10 schools and educational buildings of 2019

educational architecture is a powerful tool for stimulating creativity, as well enhancing concentration, motivation, and understanding. whether it’s a kindergarten, high school, or university, the environment in which we study directly influences how knowledge is absorbed. with this theme in mind, 2019 saw a wide range of educational facilities and school buildings promoting sensitivity towards landscape, flexibility, and the future.


take a look at the TOP 10 educational stories featured on designboom over the past 12 months, including projects by some of the field’s most recognizable names, such as BIG and SANAA, and a brick and bamboo school in rural mexico.




1 – kindergarten in vietnam features a landscaped hilltop play area

kientruc o ben tre kindergarten vietnam
image by hiroyuki oki



kientruc o, an architecture firm based in ho chi minh city, completed a kindergarten in ben tre, a city in the mekong delta area of southern vietnam. the kindergarten forms part of a larger school complex, which is located in close proximity to a large lake and surrounded by a perimeter park. in developing the project, the architects sought to design a building that would have a positive impact — both on the surrounding neighborhood, and on the children that use it.

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2 – SANAA completes new bocconi university campus in milan

TOP 10 schools and educational buildings of 2019
image by paolo tonato



SANAA, the japanese architecture firm led by pritzker laureates kazuyo sejima and ryue nishizawa, completed a new campus for bocconi, a private university in milan, italy. the new campus includes: a 300-bed residence hall; the new headquarters of the bocconi school of management, comprising three fluidly shaped buildings; and, finally, a park and multi-purpose center featuring an olympic swimming pool. only half of the 35,000 square meter site is occupied by new buildings, with the remainder dedicated to outdoor areas and green space. 

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3 – BIG nestles college into the undulating landscape of the faroe islands

BIG nestles the 'glasir' college into the undulating landscape of the faroe islands designboom
image © rasmus hjortshoj



in april, bjarke ingels group (BIG) unveiled its completed educational project situated amid the rolling landscape of the faroe islands. located in the country’s capital of tórshavn, ‘glasir’ college benefits from an elevated position, gaining views over the city below and out to sea. with a program combining the faroe islands’ gymnasium, tórshavn technical college and business college, the building caters for over 1,750 students, teachers and staff. other educational projects completed by BIG this year include the firm’s first public school in the united states and a new building for a business school in massachusetts.

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4 – students initiate construction of brick and bamboo school in rural mexico

comunal taller productive rural school
image by onnis luque



architecture studio comunal: taller de arquitectura collaborated with students in mexico to build an educational space from locally sourced materials. motivated by the bamboo workshops taught by comunal in 2015, and the lack of classrooms in their community, students in tepetzintan — a community northeast of puebla — decided to initiate and self-build the project, with participatory design workshops beginning in 2016.

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5 – denmark’s roskilde festival high school completed by MVRDV + COBE

MVRDV COBE roskilde high school
image by ossip van duivenbode



marking the 49th edition of the roskilde music festival, designboom was invited by MVRDV and COBE to visit the festival folk high school in denmark. inside an existing factory hall, the school, along with new student housing, is the final piece of MVRDV and COBE’s rockmagneten masterplan. the project, which broke ground in early 2017, joins the adjacent ragnarock museum, which was inaugurated in 2016. the high school is closely linked to the world-famous roskilde music festival, which annually transforms the small town into the fourth-largest city in denmark.

read more here



6 – ryuji fujimura tops nursery school in japan with curved concrete roof

ryuji fujimura tops subaru nursery school in japan with curved concrete roof
image by takumi ota



surrounded by a vast expanse of rice fields and a continuous mountain range, the ryuji fujimura-designed subaru nursery school in fukuoka, japan, merges harmoniously within the landscape. in order to accommodate two age groups, the sinuous building is divided into two distinctly-shaped nursery rooms, each with an adjoining garden that either faces the nearby sacred grove or the the rice fields on the south side.

read more here



7 – jean nouvel conceives university building in cyprus as an ‘earthwork’

jean nouvel stelios ioannou learning resource center
image © danica o. kus



having previously completed a mixed-use tower in the city of nicosia, french architect jean nouvel has returned to the cypriot capital to design a vast university building. envisioned as an ‘object’, the learning resource center — which contains a brand new library — has been conceived as an ‘earthwork’ whose form mimics the region’s undulating terrain. the project was inaugurated in december 2018, and has been captured in new images by architectural photographer danica o. kus.

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8 – kindergarten in china organized as a mini village of scattered volumes

crossboundaries beisha kindergarten
image by wu qingshan



beijing-based architecture firm crossboundaries introduces the beisha kindergarten, described as a ‘second home’ for its young occupants. the project was initially commissioned by the local government of jiangsu, china, as the region currently faces a shortage of pre-school education. this initiative places jiangsu as the first province in china to accelerate the development of high-quality education for young children throughout both its urban and rural areas.

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9 – new face of RISD by WORKac expresses perforated materials

new face of RISD by WORKac expresses orange detailing and perforation
image by bruce damonte



at rhode island school of design’s new student success center, an historic three-story brick building actively reveals a dynamic and colorful intervention by new york-based architecture firm WORKac. the contemporary new structure inserts itself into the open section of the building — a U shape in plan — offering two vibrant new spaces, a bold new public face for the school, and a newly activated streetscape. half of the addition hosts space for mail sorting and pick-up, displaying incoming packages as an expressive element in continuation with the building’s transparent ethos.

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10 – net zero singapore school mixes sustainability with tropical vernacular

serie multiply architects NUS
image by rory gardiner



the net zero ‘NUS school of design & environment 4,’ designed by serie + multiply architects with surbana jurong, opened in singapore. the building, a prototype of sustainable design, combines contemporary sustainable methods with a tropical building language. located on a hilltop near the southern coastline of singapore, SDE4 is a new addition to a larger campus redevelopment in the design and environment precinct. the climate-responsive building includes more than 1,500 square meters of design studio space, a 500-square-meter open plaza, workshops and research centers, and a new library.

read more here



see designboom’s TOP 10 stories archive:

top 10 towers

top 10 towers

top 10 towers

top 10 towers

top 10 towers

TOP 10 schools and educational buildings of 2019

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