Architecture Trends in K-12 Schools

November 20, 2019 jill Blog


By Bill Whittaker

Schools are some of the most complex and unique structures in all of architecture.

Builders tasked with these projects have to consider strict budget requirements, high safety standards, and the complex needs of an academic institution.

Since K-12 schools are such important facilities, the trends for designing these buildings have evolved. Trends impact school design by showing builders which options pay off and which ones need to be modified.

From better materials to changes in style and features, here are some of the most prevalent architecture trends for schools.

Does Style Matter in School Design?

Making a first impression is important, especially when an area is designed to promote learning and nurture interests.

Some stylistic choices provide both style and functionality. Windows, for example, may be designed to reflect heat and improve energy efficiency. Modern technology makes it possible to achieve this while also maintaining a stylish appearance. Several rows of windows may be used along a sizable stretch for this very reason.

Additionally, the layout of a school may be separated based on grade levels, class types, and various other factors. The design style can take advantage of this and make the facility easier to navigate.

Creating a Layout with Strategic Planning

Linking different buildings and areas together is a tricky process. Foot paths, coverings, rails, and openings must all be set up in the proper place to make it easy for people to move around the location. Building schools sometimes requires architects to use this strategy.

New school architecture needs are determined by the grade level and the amount of space required. Sometimes making multiple buildings and connecting them is superior to creating one large structure. Not only can this make it easier to keep the school organized, but it also offers economic and safety benefits.

Safe and Economic School Architecture

School design deals heavily with budget limitations, and this can sometimes put constraints on builders. Design trends are now moving toward energy-efficient and cost-efficient options that provide all necessary space while also saving money.

Strategic school architecture, like church architecture or stadium architecture, must account for the possibility of having many people in the same place at the same time.

Modern design is centered around creating a safe location. No matter the age of the children in attendance, keeping the area secure is a top priority.

The Role of the Architect in School Design and Construction

Schools have to adhere to many requirements in terms of their safety standards, costs, and functionality. School projects must adhere to regulations and flow more smoothly, an architect help with the planning and management processes.

School architecture involves coordinating complex arrangements to achieve a very precise result. With a knowledgeable professional to help make the necessary preparations and oversee the process, things can be greatly simplified.

Starting Off a School Design Project

When a new school is approved, there is typically a wide variety of discussion concerning what will be needed. Plans are made according to budget forecasts as well as the standards the building will need to adhere to.

Projects can change quickly or have very limited timelines. It is easy to overlook things or even become overwhelmed by complexity. An architect helps provide valuable insight to ensure the plans for a new school design are set up properly.

Ensuring Safety and Staying on Budget

Architects know the regulations for new school architecture, as well which options are most economical for these facilities. Going off budget or failing to present plans that are up to code can derail a school project. Architects ensure that these issues are handled. Another way an architect impacts a school build project is by overseeing the project while it goes on.

Handling Construction Management for School Projects

Construction projects involve a lot of coordination, and sometimes things don’t go as planned. Architects are often hired to make sure all needs are addressed, and things proceed on time.

Schools may lack the knowledge to handle construction-related problems and rely on architects to manage projects to a successful completion.

Constructing a school is a complicated process. College, school, stadium, and church architecture all involve creating a facility to hold many people while performing many unique functions.  New school projects will proceed much more smoothly with the involvement of architects.

From the planning process to the final stages before the school is opened for use, architects play a vital role in creating the academic institutions people depend on.

Bill Whittaker is principal architect/owner of Bill Whittaker Architecture, a Design Center Practice Studio with experience in a variety of commercial and residential project types,

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