The AIA's Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) announced nine winners for the 2015 edition of its annual Education Facility Design Awards program, which this year honored on projects imbued with flexible programs and collaborative teaching spaces. Multi-use staircases that do double function as amphitheaters and circulation were another trend in this year's batch of winning schools. 

The jury for this year's Education Facility Design Awards was led by J. Stuart Pettitt, AIA, of Straub Pettitt Yaste Architects, and included William C. Ayers, an education advocate from Chicago ; Victoria S. Bergsagel, of Architects of Achievement, based in Mercer Island, Wa.; Mark Kranz, AIA, of SmithGroup JJR; and Robert Miklos, FAIA, of Boston's designLAB Architects.

For more images and information about each project, click on the project names below

Health Sciences Education Building, Phoenix Biomedical Campus, by CO Architects with Ayers Saint Gross - East elevation.
Bill Timmerman Photography Health Sciences Education Building, Phoenix Biomedical Campus, by CO Architects with Ayers Saint Gross - East elevation.

Health Sciences Education Building, Phoenix Biomedical Campus, Phoenix
CO Architects with Ayers Saint GrossAward of Excellence

Jury comment: "This project fires on all cylinders. Utilizing a cross-disciplinary approach that brings together different programs and schools, the building combines a magnificent exterior, a plethora of thoughtful elements, and an environment that enhances the complete spectrum of learning methods and styles."

© Robert Benson Photography

Berklee Tower, Berklee College of MusicBoston
William Rawn Associates, ArchitectsAward of Excellence

Jury comment: "An electrifying space cleverly conceived and beautifully executed. Everything from the planning process—which involved students, the community, and the city—to the tasteful use of lighting and color, to the taller-versus-wider approach, to the inclusion of exercise space, to the light-filled social spaces, make this a winner."

2015 COTE Top 10: University Center - The New School
Courtesy James Ewing South facade of the University Center

University Center—The New SchoolNew York
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill with SLCE ArchitectsAward of Excellence

Jury comment: "A delightful concept of an extraordinarily complex mix of multi-use spaces including performance venues, student life and social spaces, teaching and learning spaces, and residential quarters. It is a challenging project done well—a masterful assemblage of diverse program elements with different volumetric requirements and wonderful interior spaces."

Lara Swimmer

Vashon Island High SchoolVashon Island, Wash.
Integrus ArchitectureAward of Excellence

Jury comment: "This is a beautiful campus with the idea of the 'little red schoolhouse' as an inspiration. An authentic and unpretentious project with a commendable singular concept that was driven home inside and out, and executed with elegance, simplicity, and relentless attention to detail."

Paul Warchol Photography

Clough Undergraduate Learning CommonsAtlanta
Bohlin Cywinski Jackson ArchitectsAward of Merit

Jury comment: "Given its appealing spaces, furnishings, and services, it is easy to see how this undergraduate learning commons might become an "academic center of gravity." The simple organization of the linear bar successfully combines a large variety of teaching, learning, and social spaces while knitting together the campus and creating a new quad."

Christian Columbres

Reed College Performing Arts BuildingPortland, Ore.
Opsis Architecture, Award of Merit

Jury comment: "This project, replete with evocative photos, validates that the spaces are beautiful and the architectural response to the college's program profound. The acoustics also seem a feat of wonder. Fantastic interior spaces are carefully tailored to their purpose, yet flexible. This is a thoughtful, sustainable, and artistic project."

Carl Sandburg Elementary School. Kirkland, Washington
by NAC|Architecture
Benjamin Benschneider Carl Sandburg Elementary School. Kirkland, Washington by NAC|Architecture

Carl Sandburg Elementary SchoolKirkland, Wash.
NAC|Architecture, Award of Merit

Jury comment: "This is a lovely project that not only meets the design goals established by its community but exceeds them. This is a strong, holistically designed project with elegant detailing and materiality inside and out. Good organization and sustainable features with industrial fabric and material in combination with meadow and natural site."

Nueva Upper School, by Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects - Classroom.
Kyle Jeffers Nueva Upper School, by Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects - Classroom.

Nueva School at Bay MeadowsSan Mateo, Calif.
Leddy Maytum Stacy ArchitectsShirley Cooper Award

Jury comment: "This project's strong design approach is something toward which we all should strive. Adaptively reusing space at a former horse racing venue, the school is an integral new part of its budding community. Technology is employed thoughtfully to support cross-disciplinary, real-world learning. Beautiful interior spaces feel fun and inspire the students."

E3 Civic High, by LPA - Entry park.
Costea Photography E3 Civic High, by LPA - Entry park.

E3 Civic HighSan Diego
LPAWalter Taylor Award

Jury comment: "Co-located in the same building as a branch of the San Diego Public Library, this school is a wonderful expression of community partnerships and student-focused learning. Taking advantage of several surrounding amenities, it also shares its space with others. Multi-use spaces simultaneously allow for gathering and quiet reflection."

For more images and information about each project, visit ARCHITECT's Project Gallery