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2009 Open Architecture Challenge: Resources and Links

Why green school design matters?

  • Benefits of a High Performance School:
    ▪ Higher student test scores
    ▪ Reduced operating costs
    ▪ Increased daily attendance
    ▪ Enhanced teacher performance and satisfaction
    ▪ Reduced environmental impact
    ▪ Increased building life
    ▪ Reduced liability
    (Collaborative for High Performance Schools, Volume 1, 2006, p.2)

  • In a green school, it is possible to work with natural lighting, which turns out to be better for the students’ concentration abilities and overall learning. Test scores in green schools show a 20 percent improvement over students tested in non-green schools.
    (Study conducted by Heschong Mahone Group)

  • Students with the most classroom daylight progressed 20 percent faster in one year on math tests and 26 percent faster on reading tests than those students who learned in environments that received the least amount of natural light.
    Paula Baker-LaPorte and others, Prescriptions for a Healthy House (Gabriola Island, BC, Canada: New Society Publishers, 2001, p. 175)

  • Good indoor air quality helps people do their jobs more efficiently, the brain works better and there are fewer sick days and fewer allergies' Nancy H Taylor, Go Green. How to Build an Earth-Friendly Community
    (Layton, Utah, United States: Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 2008, p.44)

  • High performance schools provide superior indoor air quality by controlling sources of contaminants and supplying proper ventilation, resulting in fewer student sick days and increased average daily attendance. Since a majority of a schools’ operating budget is directly dependent on average daily attendance, even a small increase can significantly boost the operating budget.
    (The City of Stockton, California, Energy Efficiency Schools, High Performance Schools,, n.d.)

  • High performance school buildings are consciously designed to have low environmental impact. They are energy and water efficient. They use durable, non-toxic materials high in recycled content, and the buildings themselves can be recycled. They preserve pristine natural areas on their sites and restore damaged ones. And they use non-polluting, renewable energy to the greatest extent possible
    (Collaborative for High Performance Schools, Volume 1, 2006, p.7)

School Building Performance Standards

CHPS - Collaborative for High Performance Schools Documents
Best Practices Manual -
The CHPS Classroom -

Modular Building and the USGBC's LEED Building Rating System.
(Modular Building Institute, Charlottesville, VA , 2008)
PDF advises the modular building industry on how it can benefit from an awareness of the LEED Building Rating System.

UNICEF Child Friendly Schools
UNICEF has developed a framework for rights-based, child-friendly educational systems and schools that are characterized as "inclusive, healthy and protective for all children, effective with children, and involved with families and communities - and children" (Shaeffer, 1999).

NCEF Education Search Engine
The NCEF Search function provides direct access to NCEF's extensive database on school facilities. Search the entire website or search NCEF's Resource Lists only.

World Bank Report
Putting all children worldwide in school by 2015 will constitute, collectively, the biggest building project the world has ever seen. Some 10 million new classrooms will be spread over 100 countries.

The World Bank: Education Notes Series
The Education Notes Series is intended to summarize lessons learned and key policy findings from the World Bank’s work in education as it relates to Education for All.


Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality and Energy Efficiency in the Design of Building Services Systems for School Classrooms
(Tam, K.L., Indoor Air 2002, The Ninth International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate, Monterey, CA, 2002, 5p.)
Introduces Hong Kong's proposed Indoor Air Quality Management Programme, its achievements, and proposed target objectives.

Improving Indoor Environmental Quality and Energy Performance of California K-12 Schools: D-2.8b Final Equipment List and Performance Specification.
(Architectural Energy Corporation, Boulder, CO, Jul 29, 2005, 12p.)
Documents the requirements for new products designed specifically for thermal displacement ventilation (TDV), with the objective of identifying new products for TDV that are not currently available.

Indoor Air Quality in Canadian Schools: Final Report.
(Dalhousie University, Atlantic Health Promotion Research Centre, Indoor Air Quality in Canadian Schools Project, Halifax, NS, Nov 2003, 249p.)
Presents data on IAQ perspectives and experiences from parents, students, teachers, staff, Teachers Federations/Unions, IAQ consultants, community-based advocacy groups, school boards/districts, government policy makers and deputy ministers from most jurisdictions across Canada

School Indoor Air Quality Best Management Practices Manual.
(Hall, Richard; Ellis, Richard; Hardin, Tim, Washington State Dept. of Health Services, Office of Environmental Health and Safety, Olympia, Nov 2003, 126p.)
This manual focuses on practices that can be undertaken during the siting, design, construction, or renovation of a school; recommends practices to help ensure good indoor air quality during building occupancy; and suggests protocols and useful reference documents for investigating and handling indoor air quality complaints and problems.

How Does Indoor Air Quality Affect a Child’s Ability to Learn? EPA
Evidence continues to emerge showing that poor indoor air quality (IAQ) can cause illness requiring absence from school, and can cause acute health symptoms that decrease performance while at school.

This document summarizes the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) considerations regarding the purchase/lease of relocatable classrooms (or “portables”) and the contracting for renovation of existing space.
Partnering With Community



Classroom Lighting Know-how
(Northern Energy Efficiency Partnerships, Inc.; Design Lights Consortium, 2002, 8p.)
This guide provides some advice on how to use photocell dimming in schools to save lighting energy without creating distraction to students.

Lighting Control Best Practice Guide: Schools.
(Watt Stopper, Inc., Santa Clara, CA., 2002, 58p.)
This publication offers design, specification, and installation guidance for lighting control appropriate for K-12 educational facilities

Daylighting in Schools: Reanalysis Report.
Heschong, Lisa; Elzeyadi, Ihab; Knecht, Carey
(California Energy Commission, Public Interest Energy Research Program (PIER), Sacramento, CA. New Buildings Institute, White Salmon, WA. , Feb 14, 2002, 105p.)
This study expands and validates previous research that found a statistical correlation between the amount of daylight in elementary school classrooms and the performance of students on standardized math and reading tests.

Lighting for Schools 6p. 2001
Provides concise guidance on how to imbue school facilities with the most modern and effective lighting systems and design attributes, such as daylighting, which can be an effective and energy efficient strategy for almost all school spaces. PDF


Information Technology

The Impact of ICT on Schools: Classroom Design and Curriculum Delivery, a Study of Schools in Australia, USA, England, and Hong Kong, 2000.
Eadie, Gillian
(Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, Wellington, New Zealand, Feb 2001, 46p.)
Evaluates current and possible future impacts of information and communication technology (ICT) on school timetables, curricula, and facilities.


Energy Efficiency

How Parents and Teachers Are Helping To Create Better Environments for Learning. Energy-Smart Building Choices.
(Department of Energy, Washington, DC., Feb 2002, 7p.)
This brochure shows parents and teachers how smart energy choices reduce school operating costs and create better learning environments.

Report on the 2005 Annual Performance of Monitored High Performance Mobile Classrooms.
Cleveland, Tommy
(North Carolina State University, Raleigh, Dec 2005, 18p.)
Presents numerous graphs comparing the energy use for a conventional versus a high- performance modular classroom.

Energy Performance Evaluation of an Educational Facility: The Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio.
Pless, S.D.; Torcellini, P.A.
Nov 2004, 140p.)
Documents the post-occupancy energy performance analysis of Oberlin College
s Adam Joseph Lewis Center, an academic building designed to be an energy producer, rather than an energy consumer

Classroom HVAC: Improving Ventilation and Saving Energy.
(Apte, Michael; Faulkner, David; Hodgson, Alfred; Sullivan; Douglas, U.S. Dept. of Energy, Office of Scientific & Technical Information, Washington, Oct 14, 2004, 16p.)
The primary goals of this research effort are to develop, evaluate, and demonstrate a very practical HVAC system for classrooms that consistently provides quantity of ventilation in current minimum standards, while saving energy, and reducing HVAC related noise levels.

School Operations and Maintenance: Best Practices for Controlling Energy Costs.
(Prepared by U.S. Dept. of Energy, Rebuild America EnergySmart Schools Program, Washington, DC; Princeton Energy Resources International, Rockville, MD; HPowell Energy Associates, Westford, MA; Alliance to Save Energy, Washington, DC., Aug 2004, 114p.)
Provides detailed practical guidance on how K-12 school districts can plan and implement enhancements to their current operations and maintenance programs that can successfully maintain their facilities while also reducing energy costs up to 20 percent.

Improving Indoor Environmental Quality and Energy Performance of California K-12 Schools.
(Arent, John; Eley, Charles, Architectural Energy Corporation, Boulder, CO, Feb 03, 2004, 12p.)
Presents a report on the coordination of research for this study of thermal displacement ventilation (TDV) in California schools.

Preliminary Evaluation of Performance Enhanced Relocatable Classrooms in Three Climates.
(Thomas-Rees, Stephanie; Parker, Danny; Sherwin, John, University of Central Florida, Florida Solar Energy Center, Cocoa, 2004, 13p.)
Summarizes comparative energy performance data from side-by-side installations of standard and energy-efficient portable classrooms in New York, North Carolina, and Florida.

Energy Efficiency and Indoor Air Quality in Schools.
(U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Dept. of Energy, Energy Star Program, Washington, Sep 2003, 5p.)
Describes how to protect and enhance school indoor air quality while improving energy efficiency. Common threats to indoor air quality are described, as is the energy cost of outdoor ventilation, energy recovery ventilation, and energy efficiency measures where adjustments may be necessary.

Students Leading the Way 2002-2003: Energy Saving Success Stories from California.
(Alliance to Save Energy, Green Schools Program, Washington, D.C. , Sep 2003,
Students and teachers from 37 of the over 80 California Green Schools describe their accomplishments in this booklet. Includes their strategies to reduce energy waste and bring the energy efficiency message into the community.

Energy Design Guidelines for High Performance Schools: Cold and Humid Climates.
(U.S. Dept. of Energy, National Renewable Energy Lab, Golden, CO., Jun 2002, 83p.)
The U.S. Department of Energy's EnergySmart Schools provides school boards, administrators, and design staff with guidance to help them make informed decisions about energy and environmental issues important to school systems and communities. These guidelines contain recommendations generally appropriate for cold and humid climates, for which Minneapolis-St.Paul, Minnesota, served as a model city.

Energy Design Guidelines for High Performance Schools: Cool and Dry Climates.
(U.S. Dept.of Energy, National Renewable Energy Lab, Golden, CO., Jun 2002, 83p.)
The U.S. Department of Energy's EnergySmart Schools provides school boards, administrators, and design staff with guidance to help them make informed decisions about energy and environmental issues important to school systems and communities. These guidelines contain recommendations generally appropriate for cool and dry climates, for which Denver, Colorado, served as a model city.

Energy Design Guidelines for High Performance Schools: Temperate and Humid Climates.
(U.S.Dept. of Energy, National Renewable Energy Lab, Golden, CO., Jun 2002, 85p.)
The U.S. Department of Energy's EnergySmart Schools provides school boards, administrators, and design staff with guidance to help them make informed decisions about energy and environmental issues important to school systems and communities. These guidelines contain recommendations generally appropriate for temperate and humid climates, for which Atlanta, Georgia, served as a model city. Other guidelines have been developed for the other climate zones.

Energy Design Guidelines for High Performance Schools: Temperate and Mixed Climates.
(U.S.Dept. of Energy, National Renewable Energy Lab, Golden, CO., Jun 2002, 83p.)
The U.S. Department of Energy's EnergySmart Schools provides school boards, administrators, and design staff with guidance to help them make informed decisions about energy and environmental issues important to school systems and communities. These guidelines contain recommendations generally appropriate for temperate and mixed climates, for which various cities in Washington and California served as a models.

Get Smart About Energy.
(U.S. Dept. of Energy, Washington, DC, Feb 2002, 16p.)
This publication discusses the high costs of energy in schools, the benefits of smart energy use, options for smarter energy use, energy's impact on student performance, how schools can participate in the EnergySmart Schools campaign operated by Rebuild America, and successful initiatives at other schools. Also included are a list of resources and factsheets on myths about energy in schools, the Rebuild America campaign, and energy initiatives at Seattle public schools.

Energy Efficient Homes and Mortgages.
This comprehensive consumer guide to energy efficient housing and
"green mortgages" covers what EEMs are, how they work, the different kinds of EEMs and more.


Facilities and Student Performance

School Facility Conditions and Student Achievement.
Earthman, Glen I.
(University of California Los Angeles, Institute for Democracy, Education & Access, Oct 2002, 18p.)
Explains how the condition of school facilities has an important impact on student performance and teacher effectiveness, particularly where classroom temperature and noise level are concerned.

Teachers as Placemakers: Investigating Teachers' Use of the Physical Learning Environment in Instructional Design.
Lackney, Jeffery A.; Jacobs, Paul J.
(School Design Research Studio at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2002, 9p.)
This paper summarizes research conducted to assess how and to what extent teachers actively use and manipulate the physical classroom learning environment as part of their instructional design. (Contains 19 references.)

Do School Facilities Affect Academic Outcomes? 24p. 2002
Examine facility attributes that most affect academic outcomes and in what manner and degree. The research is examined in six categories: indoor air quality, ventilation, and thermal comfort; lighting; acoustics; building age and quality; school size; and class size. PDF

The Effect of the Physical Learning Environment on Teaching and Learning. vironment-on-Teaching-and-Learning.pdf
(Victorian Institute of Teaching, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 2007, 7p.)
Presents conclusions on the impact of school facilities on learning, drawn from a literature review of 22 sources. Includes 35 references, 13 of which are suggestions for further reading.

Best Practice in Classroom Design.
(Ministry of Education, Wellington, New Zealand, Jan 31, 2004, 174p.)
Presents detailed results of surveys of New Zealand teachers, students, principals, board members, and design agencies, regarding the effect of good school design on learning outcomes.

The Walls Speak: The Interplay of Quality Facilities, School Climate, and Student Achievement.
(San Diego State University, College of Education, 2006, 6p.)
Presents results of a study conducted at 82 Virginia middle schools, where randomly selected faculty were surveyed on a variety of issues at their school, including facility condition. Includes 23 references.

Classroom Design for Student Achievement.
DuFault, Tim; Dyck, James; Jackson, Jeanne
(American Institute of Architects, Jul 2008, 53p.)
Presents the insights of a panel of architects regarding school design intent, classroom functionality, and building attributes for effective learning environments.

The Effects of the School Environment on Young People's Attitudes Towards Education and Learning.
Rudd, Peter; Reed, Frances; Smith, Paula
(National Foundation for Educational Research, May 2008, 31p.)
Summarizes research to demonstrate the difference that the British Building Schools for the Future (BSF) schools are making to young peoples attitudes towards education and learning, as measured by their levels of engagement and enthusiasm for school.

Public School Principals Report on Their School Facilities: Fall 2005.
(U.S. Dept. of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Washington, Jan 2007, 93p.)
Reports on principals' satisfaction with environmental factors in their schools, and the extent to which they perceive those factors as interfering with the ability of the school to deliver instruction.

Report on the School Environment: Survey 2007 Results. [UK]
(Teacher Support Network, London, United Kingdom, 2007, 6p.)
Reports the results of a British survey of teachers regarding their school environment. 530 respondents rated their schools for design, layout, lighting, ventilation, furnishings, flexibility, safety, and physical activity accommodation.

Principles of modern Ergonomics
Importance of healthy sitting in classrooms, a study by Dr. Mandal



Open Architecture Challenge Companion Curriculum
Eight lessons giving school-age students an introduction to design and architecture through active exploration of the space around them. Designed specifically for the Open Architecture Challenge.

Boston Society of Architects Children’s Design Workshops
What can you learn from a walk around the block? A great deal. By observing, measuring, writing and drawing, by taking photographs and map-making, students study architecture and develop a sense of stewardship for their neighborhood.

O Ambassadors: Seven Steps to Social Action
These Seven Steps are the platform through which you can effectively teach the Millennium Development Goals and their four core themes (poverty, education, health and sustainable development), while encouraging research, learning, idea-sharing and the most important step—action.

Taking School Design to Students 9p. 2004
Describes seven strategies for effectively involving students in school design.


Introduction to Green Building

US Green Building Council
The LEED for Schools Rating System recognizes the unique nature of the design and construction of K-12 schools. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED for Schools is the recognized benchmark for green schools, with third-party reviews to ensure that school are healthy for students, comfortable for teachers and cost-effective.

The Green Schools Initiative
Comprehensive background and links for green school building.

Sidwell Friends School
Leed Platinum Middle School

US Department of Energy: Smart Communities Network
Background and links for sustainable development

University of Michigan Sustainable Architecture Compendium
The construction and operation of buildings consume the majority of the world's natural resources and energy, and contribute the bulk of landfill waste. This paper introduces the concept of sustainable architecture and gives an overview of the educational resources in this compendium


Building Architecture as a Learning Tool

The International School

The International School is a meeting place for 1800 pupils with 80 different nationalities, all with their own language and culture. All of them move very often, this is why the school schedule of all the International Schools around the world is exactly the same.

Trias VMBO

This school for Preparatory Vocational Education imitates the real world of workrooms of all types of jobs, including an office environment, spaces for care, catering and workshops for engineering and fashion design. All of them have their own ‘shop’ located at the ‘village square’ at the heart of the school.

Robin Hood Foundation Libraries

A program to retrofit libraries in existing schools in New York City. The program focused on creating creative, inviting spaces for students that went beyond traditional models of library interaction.

School Without Walls Senior High School

Situated in a 19th century building with a 21st century addition, this school blurs the physical and programmatic boundaries between a small urban high school and a research university, creating a seamless, grade 9 through 16 curriculum. This school-university partnership also grew to renew and expand a deteriorating historic school building and create a new residence hall.

Atrium School

This project called for the adaptive reuse of a brick warehouse on a limited site in a mixed industrial/residential neighborhood into a functional schoolhouse for an expanding, independent K-6 program. The transformation required rethinking the building’s orientation relative to site and creating a playful interior sequence that breaks down the long and narrow building volume.

The Children's School

This modified one-room schoolhouse for an established Montessori school is designed to support their child-centered teaching methodologies. The open space encourages the free movement of the child through different learning areas. Environmentally sensitive design features instill values of conservation and stewardship in the students.



A Kindergarten school has been designed with an attempt to form it as an educational tool with emphasis more on visual education, which keeps them learning by analyzing and observation, a process where they learn with fun.
The classrooms area not closed rooms but having big windows overlooking the corridor and the exterior spaces which form a visual link between two spaces where children from different class and parents can have view of classroom activities, expanding the volume of teaching areas.

Gilroy High School

This student services facility also serves as a community center for the city. It encloses a central landscaped quad and provides a cafeteria, exterior snack bar, and open dining room for 600 students. Outdoor covered space accommodates another 300 students. The design promotes a sense of student and community engagement.

Menea Developed School project

The major challenge of this project for the Egyptian ministry of education was how to create a new model for government schools that can cope with the fast development of teaching methods and technology together with the economic constraints of limited budgets for education in the developing countries.
Our team views the school environment as essential to the development of the new generation of students who will be graduating in 14 years. The challenge is to try to make this school project in line with the latest educational developments yet within the constraints of a limited government budget.

JDT Islam

The project explores the potentials of an experiential and territorial environ as pro-active learning space, contrary to the standard, functionally derived classrooms. Wrap-3 is an ‘insertion’ in an existing large campus to revitalize the institute and a set as a model / blue print for future actions / decisions. The design employs color for spatial definition and lean heavily on child psychology and color perception.

Oswego Early Childhood Center

The architect partnered with the district to design a new facility that meets the unique needs of the children within the Early Learning program. Children who attend the school are between the ages of 3 and 5 and most have either physical or learning disabilities. The district’s goal was to improve the quality of their lives by designing the building to accommodate their needs and create the best learning environment.

Silver Lake Regional High School

This mostly new comprehensive high school serves 1,1125 students from three towns. The design team’s challenge was to build on the site of the existing outdated facility and adjacent to a recently completed new middle school to create an educational campus to effectively serve the community.

Henson Valley Montessori School

The Montessori philosophy and a former military compound. Was there ever an educational philosophy and building type that were so mismatched? Yet this renovations project - completed on a budget of thousands, not millions — turned seven “bunker buildings” into spaces that promote exploration and create connections with the outside world.

Jackson Community College

The William Atkinson Hall Information and Technology Center (ITC) is the foundation for a new renaissance at the College’s campus, and is the result of an innovative approach to multiple academic programs resulting in a new hybrid building. This building merges the library, information commons, student lounge, flexible classrooms and multiple staff offices into a single structure. The building is the academic center for the College, as well as, providing state-of-the-art services to the surrounding community.

Resala Language School

This is a K-12 campus located in a new suburb in Cairo. The school is to house all learning levels from kindergarten to pre university level with their playgrounds and facilities, all to be located on this limited 7500m2 site with 30% building ratio.


Adaptive Reuse

Creating Schools and Strengthening Communities through Adaptive Reuse 12p. 2003
Examines four school projects that illustrate the many benefits of adaptive reuse and show that mainstream school districts can meet the regulatory and political challenges necessary to make such projects succeed, providing new schools when and where they are needed and transforming unused buildings into spaces that serve the diverse needs of students, parents, educators, and communities.

Design For Indigenous Communities

Detailed Information on the Bureau of Indian Affairs K-12 School Construction Assessment.
(U.S. Office of Management and Budget,, Washington, DC , 2007, 15p.)
Reports on progress and remaining challenges in the Bureau of Indian Affairs K-12 School Construction program. Improvements include the Secretary of the Interior's authority to assume control of problematic projects, development of a Space Criteria Handbook to clarify consistent space requirements for new construction, and implementation of a standardized design format to speed up construction.

Navajo Architect Collaborates on Modular School Honoring Native American Culture.
(Walley, Catherine, Modular Building Institute, Charlotteville, VA, 2007, 2p.)
Briefly describes Arizona's Shonto Preparatory School, a small modular high school that serves Navajo students in the north central part of the state.

Baca/Dlo'ay azhi Community School [Prewitt, NM]
(U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Program, Sep 2005,
The Baca Dlo'ay azhi Community School, located on the Navajo Nation reservation in Prewitt, New Mexico, serves students in kindergarten through grade six.

Building Indigenous Learning Communities.
This paper proposes the building of Indigenous learning communities as an avenue to address the limited engagement of Indigenous Australians with education.


International Design

Schools Good for Children?
Nair, Prakash
(DesignShare, Jan 2005, 6p.)
Challenges the notion that conventional school buildings naturally create a quality learning atmosphere and reviews India's nurturing Gurukul School.

An Ultra Energy-Efficient School in Quebec.
(PEB Exchange, Oct 2003, p24-25)
Describes the siting, materials and systems of Le Tournant School. Designed in 2002 for maximum energy efficiency, it is the second most energy-efficient institutional building in Canada.

Korea's School Grounds Project.
(PEB Exchange, Oct 2003, p19-20)
Briefly describes Korea's Green School Project and School Forest Pilot Project. Provides contact for more information.

Creative Kindergarten. [Israel]
Eylon, Lili
(Architecture Week , Aug 2003,
Case study of a kindergarten in Caesarea, Israel, a city full of Roman structures. The architects took the linear motif of the famous Roman aqueduct and translated it into a contemporary building.

Current Concerns for Austrian School Facilities.
Schwarz-Viechtbauer, Karin
(PEB Exchange, Jun 2003, p9-10)
Summarizes four recent concerns of the Austrian Institute for School and Sport Facilities, which is responsible for current issues and problems related to educational buildings in the country: schools as low energy buildings, electromagnetic fields and school buildings, chairs and tables for educational buildings, and school grounds (learnscapes).

360 Degrees: Issue 15.
(Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, London, United Kingdom, Spring 2008, 12p.)
Considers how young people can learn about sustainability from their built environment, and profiles the Dalton School, an "eco-school" in The Netherlands.

METI School of Rudrapur, Bangladesh.
(Kriscenski, Ali,, Sep 06, 2007)
Profiles this award-winning hand-built school that showcases sustainable design practices and locally sensitive architecture.

School Building Design and Learning Performance, with a Focus on Schools in Developing Countries.
Knapp, Eberhard; Noschis, Kaj; Pasalar, Celen
(Colloquia Sàrl, Lausanne, Switzerland, 2007, 144p.)
Presents the results of a colloquium concerning how school buildings look, how they work, and how they are used by pupils and teachers in contexts where usually the priority is simply to be able to offer basic school training for youngsters.

Considerations when Programming for School Construction.
(U.S. Agency for International Development, Washington, 2006, 7p.)
Outlines experiences of USAID in school construction overseas, advising on issues such as building new or renovating, cultural considerations in building design, particular climactic and geographic factors, maintainability, building codes, political considerations, and partnerships.

Schools as Community Facilities: Policy Framework and Guidelines. [Australia]
(Dept. of Education and Training, Melbourne, Australia, Nov 2005, 36p.)
Outlines community use of schools from an Australian perspective, including opportunities for use of schools by the community, benefits and features of school-community partnerships, types of agreements, and case studies.

International Workshop on Educational Infrastructure: Conclusions.
((Summary of Proceedings, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, February 24-27, 2002). Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Programme on Educational Building, Paris, France, Feb 2002, 31p.)
This document summarizes themes developed and conclusions from the International Workshop on Educational Infrastructure.

Air Quality and Ventilation Rates in Schools in Poland
Sowa, J.
(Indoor Air 2002, The Ninth International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate, Monterey, CA, 2002, 6p.)
Compares indoor air quality in classrooms in Poland with national and international standards. The evaluation is based on measurements in 28 classrooms in Warsaw.

General Design Brief for Post-Primary Schools. [Ireland]
(Dept. of Education and Science, Planning and Building Unit, Tullamore, Ireland, Feb 2000, 38p.)
This design brief contains general information on school design; room functions, layouts, and area interrelationships; planning procedures; and costs intended for use by design teams and school authorities when planning new schools and extensions.

Energy Management Plan. [Tasmania]
(Tasmania Dept. of Education, Facilities Services Section, Hobart (Australia), 2000, 25p.)
This report presents an overview of the energy management plan for Tasmanian schools. The policy and objectives of the plan, designed to minimize the costs of all forms of energy usage within these facilities, are provided.

Passive Solar Schools International Expertise in Support of the First Sustainable Elementary School of The Netherlands.
Van Weenen, Hans, ed.
(Sokkerwei School, Castricum, The Netherlands, 2000, 64p.)
Presents the results of an international workshop convened to create a sustainable elementary school in the Netherlands.

Indoor Air Quality and Energy Efficiency in the Design of Building Services Systems for School Classrooms [Hong Kong]
Tam, K.L.
(Indoor Air 2002, The Ninth International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate, Monterey, CA, 2002, 5p.)
Introduces Hong Kong's proposed Indoor Air Quality Management Programme, its achievements, and proposed target objectives.

Sustainability: Building Our Future. [Scotland]
(The Scottish Executive, Edinburgh, 2004, 55p.)
Outlines principles and processes for achieving a sustainable school, covering issues that should be considered throughout the design and construction process.


International Articles

“Fear over portable classrooms.” BBC News. 23 Mar. 2005. Accessed 7/7/08
Parents have expressed concerns after pupils had to be evacuated from a classroom in a portable school building which needed urgent repairs.

"Concern over temporary classrooms." BBC News. 2 Sept. 2001. Accessed 7/14/08
There are concerns that 26,000 school children in Devon are still being taught in temporary buildings.

"Portable schools to stem dropouts.” MSN Education. 16 Jan. 2008. Accessed 7/7/08

"Schools struggling with crises: Financial constraints hamper expansion of primary education in Africa." Africa Recovery Online. Accessed 7/14/08

"Temporary schools provide normalcy for children displaced by conflict." HDPT Central African Republic. 20 Nov. 2007. Accessed 7/14/2008

"Busted demountables lead kids to declare: School’s rubbish.” The Daily Telegraph. 29 Jan. 2008. Accessed 7/14/08

"$17 million to be invested in modular classroom spaces.” Alberta Education. 11 Jan. 2006. Accessed 7/28/08

“The Road to School after the Quake.” UNICEF. Accessed 7/7/08


US Schools Guidelines

Alaska: Site Selection Criteria and Evaluation Handbook

Arizona: Title 7. Education Chapter 6. School Facilities Board Rules

Arkansas: Arkansas School Facility Manual.

Colorado: Elementary Educational Specifications - Facilities Planning Standards

Connecticut: Construction Document Guidelines for School Districts and Design Professionals.

Delaware: State of Delaware School Construction Technical Assistance Manual.

Florida: State Requirements for Educational Facilities.

Georgia: General Criteria for Public School Construction.

Hawaii: Hawaii High Performance School Guidelines

Illinois: Illinois Resource Guide for Healthy, High Performing School Buildings

Indiana: Indiana State Board of Education School Facility Guidelines

Kentucky: Kentucky Design Manual: Kentucky Green and Healthy Schools Design Criteria.

Maine: Maine High Performance Schools Program.

Massachusetts: Massachusetts High Performance Green Schools Guidelines and Criteria.

Minnesota: State of Minnesota Sustainable Building Guidelines.

Mississippi: Mississippi School Design Guidelines

Missouri: Elementary School Buildings | High School Buildings

New Hampshire: Manual for Planning and Construction of School Buildings.

New Jersey: 21st Century Schools Design Manual

New Mexico: Checklists and Step by Step Instructions: Funding, Building and Maintaining Schools in New Mexico

New York: NYC Green Schools Guide

North Carolina: Pre-Engineered Buildings, Relating to the Construction and Maintenance of Public Schools in North Carolina

Ohio: Putting the Pieces Together: A Guide to Your Building Project, 2005-2006 Edition.

Oklahoma: Planning for Education: Space Guidelines for Planning Educational Facilities.

Rhode Island: RIDE School Construction Regulations.

South Carolina: 2008 South Carolina School Facilities Planning and Construction Guide.

Texas: Commissioner's Rules Concerning School Facilities: 61.1033

Utah: School Building Construction and Inspection Resource Manual.

Vermont: High Performance School Design and Construction Standards: Recommendations for Vermont Public Schools

West Virginia: School Building Authority 2007 Guidelines and Procedures Handbook [West Virginia].

Wisconsin: Wisconsin Green & Healthy Schools Program

Wyoming: Wyoming Public Schools Facility Design Guidelines



American Institute of Architects School Design Video
1hr 25min
Classrooms design is changing to meet new methods of teaching and in recognition of our better understanding of how students learn. This is a beginner level presentation aimed at architects who have never designed a school before or are just beginning to practice in the educational market. Posted December 2nd, 2008.

Modular Construction Animation
Short animation sequence showing modular construction

Videos for portable classroom solutions by Rare Architecture:


Federal Education Funding - FY 2010

  • $46.7 billion in fiscal year 2010 spending
  • $500 million spending increase from FY 2009 to FY 2010
  • The stimulus package, which is separate from the budget, contains another $81.1 billion for education.
  • The budget establishes a new five-year, $2.5 billion program
    starting in FY 2010 to help low-income students attend college.
  • The FY 2010 budget "increases funding for the Charter School program
    to support the expansion of successful charter school models, while
    increasing state oversight to monitor and shut down low-performing
    charter schools."
  • The government's fiscal year runs from October of one year to
    September of the next.


Ambassador Photos and Videos

Ambassadors from around the world have sent us photos and video clips of their local schools. Check them out! Feel free to use these images in your design entry - photo credits are listed at the end of each PDF document.

Photos_Architecture For Humanity


Discussion Forums

Join the conversation!

General Questions
Do you have general questions about participating in the challenge? Post them here, or see if they have already been asked and answered.

Partner Requests
Are you a school that needs an architect to team up with, or a architect that needs a school? Post your information here, and find a partner!

MBI Discussion Forum
Looking for answers to specific modular classrooms questions? Ask you questions on the Modular Building Institute forum.