VMDO Architects, headquartered in Charlottesville VA, has specialized in design for educational institutions since 1976. Our hallmark is the unwavering commitment to designing educational environments that are responsive to the way people live, learn, teach, and play. At their best, such environments can uplift the human spirit. Jim and Wyck attended Educon 2.3 last year, and are poised to continue mutually productive conversations with educators about spaces that genuinely engage teaching and learning.
Manassas Park Elementary, a Virginia public school recognized as a national model for the concept of building as a teaching tool, will be used as a principal backdrop for the conversation. Combined with examples of other innovative K-12 projects, the presenters will use case studies to address the issues of creating and sustaining innovations in learning spaces. These spaces occur across a wide spectrum: the scale of the individual learner, the scale of the classroom, the scale of the school, and the scale of the school campus. Across these scales of teaching and learning, we will discuss how the physical environment as third teacher can actively contribute toward educational success. Teachers and administrators have long known that buildings and landscapes are never neutral in the educational process they are either working for you or against you. Keeping student engagement as its principal focus , a carefully thought-out school can also inspire, motivate and instill responsibility.
We design schools because we recognize the impact that architecture has on education and thus, we approach design from the perspective of the educator. Evocative imagery and examples will be used to catalyze conversations amongst educators and architects alike.