The 12 most beautiful new schools in America

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Indian Springs School in Birmingham, Alabama.
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Lake Flato Architects

On September 8, The American Institute of Architects, a national organization of 88,000 architects, announced the winners of the 2016 Education Facility Design Awards.

The awards are for new and recently renovated North American schools that facilitate learning and demonstrate excellence in architectural design.

Here are the winning schools.


Western University’s Richard Ivey School of Business was selected as a winner for its timeless and elemental materials: stone, concrete, glass, copper, steel, walnut, and Douglas fir. It’s located in Ontario, Canada.

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By Hariri Pontarini Architects
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Hariri Pontarini Architects

Hariri Pontarini Architects created numerous communal spaces where students can collaborate and learn in teams.

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By Hariri Pontarini Architects
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Hariri Pontarini Architects

The warm cedar exterior of the the Dwight-Englewood School Hajjar STEM Center helps it blend into the surrounding woods.

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By Gensler
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Gensler

Located in Englewood, New Jersey, the building’s seven classrooms and eight science labs center around a common area. Moveable furniture, AV capabilities, and writable surfaces encourage students to “hack” the space.

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By Gensler
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Gensler

Fayetteville High School in Arkansas won for its collegiate feel. It features a large courtyard in the center between buildings.

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By Hight Jackson Associates
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Hight Jackson Associates

At more than 500,000 square feet, it is the largest high school in Fayetteville. It’s designed as a small learning community, meaning classes are small and more personalized.

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By Hight Jackson Associates
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Hight Jackson Associates

Instead of standard bleachers, its gymnasium has stadium seating.

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By Hight Jackson Associates
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Hight Jackson Associates

Located in New York City, the Kennedy Child Study Center lives inside a renovated 1930s warehouse, where it serves special education students.

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By PellOverton Architects
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PellOverton Architects

The 25,000-square-foot space presented a number of design challenges, including unusually low ceilings and an absence of natural light. In response, PellOverton Architects installed large, high-performance lights throughout the building and prioritized white walls with pops of bright colors.

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By PellOverton Architects
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PellOverton Architects

In Boston, Massachusetts, Harvard Business School’s Tata Hall features a stunning, curved facade and grassy area.

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By William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc.
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William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc.

The seven-story glass and stone building provides two classrooms, 179 residences, and three gathering spaces for students — not to mention panoramic views of the Charles River.

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By William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc.
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William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc.

The Henderson Hopkins School in Baltimore, Maryland is for pre-school through grade eight students. It features a cluster of numbered buildings inspired by East Baltimore’s brick row houses.

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By Rogers Partners
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Rogers Partners

The 125,000-square-foot space has a wooden slat ceiling and large windows so that light pours in.

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By Rogers Partners
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Rogers Partners

Located in Washington, DC, the Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School consists of two buildings: a renovated historic school and a new pre-k annex.

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By Studio Twenty Seven Architecture
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Studio Twenty Seven Architecture

As part of the renovation, Studio Twenty Seven Architecture added this funky staircase.

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By Studio Twenty Seven Architecture
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Studio Twenty Seven Architecture

In the annex for pre-schoolers, a large window adds lots of natural light. There’s also a large space to play around.

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By Studio Twenty Seven Architecture
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Studio Twenty Seven Architecture

Students at the Indian Springs School in Birmingham, Alabama study both indoors and out. When classes happen outside, they have a view of the nearby Oak Mountain.

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By Lake Flato Architects
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Lake Flato Architects

The 350-acre boarding and day school serves grades eight through 12. Teachers and students can travel between buildings using plant-lined, elevated walkways.

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By Lake Flato Architects
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Lake Flato Architects

The building was commended by the AIA for its connection to the surrounding nature.

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By Lake Flato Architects
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Lake Flato Architects

The Seton Hill Arts Center in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, with a steel and metal clad frame, was conceived as a “factory for the arts.”

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By designLAB architects
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designLAB architects

It features an outdoor “Art Yard” where artists can paint, mold, or weld any material they please.

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By designLAB architects
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designLAB architects

Inside the four-floor facility, there are studio spaces for painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, graphic arts, theater, and dance.

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By designLAB architects
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designLAB architects

Marlon Blackwell Architects won the AIA award for its restoration of the Steven L. Anderson Design Center at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. The use of Indiana limestone honors the history of the building, while the west-facing glass makes it feel contemporary.

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By Marlon Blackwell Architects
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Marlon Blackwell Architects

A slender skylight adds natural light to this workspace, which includes massive white boards.

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By Marlon Blackwell Architects
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Marlon Blackwell Architects

Regional Plant 2 Facility boasts a simple, glass and steel rectangular structure. It sits on the campus of Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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By Clark Nexsen
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Clark Nexsen

While the primary function of the Regional Plant is to house heating and cooling systems, students can also come and learn about energy efficient building systems.

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By Clark Nexsen
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Clark Nexsen

Located in Phoenix, Arizona, the Integrated Education Building serves as the anchor for the GateWay Community College. Its developers are seeking LEED Gold Certification for the building, meaning it uses minimal energy.

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SmithGroupJJR

The three-story structure features classrooms with life and physical science labs, a library, and a one-stop-shop for student services. There’s also a roof deck where students can hang out or study.

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SmithGroupJJR