Committee on Architecture for Education

Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) develops a knowledge sharing network of individuals working on planning and design of learning environments, including public and private colleges and universities, community colleges, early childhood and K12 facilities, museums, libraries, cultural and civic centers, and other educational spaces.


Third Wednesday of the month, 5:30 - 7:00 PM

2022 Outdoor Networking + Visioning Session

Be a part of the Vision! Last year our team of planners, educators and design professionals tackled the question of what it means to create safe space for learning in a post-pandemic world. What do you think are the themes driving design for education in 2022?

Join our committee for a lively in-person networking and visioning session outdoors on Wednesday, February 16th, at 5:30pm over drinks and snacks. Location to be confirmed.



Irene Monis, AIA

Joey Favaloro, AIA

Tara Ogle, AIA

Matt Pietras, AIA

2021 Ideas Competition

The Classroom of the Future: Creating Safe Spaces for Learning in the Aftermath of COVID-19

AIA San Francisco (AIASF) is pleased to announce the awardees of the 2021 Future Classroom Competition, an ideas competition spearheaded by AIASF’s Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE). This year’s recipients include two teams: Berliner Architects in the Professional Category, and Team Delta from BRAC University in the Student Category.

Join us for a conversation on The Classroom of the Future with the awardees and jurors in conjunction with AIASF's 18th annual Architecture + the City festival on Tuesday, September 21, from noon to 1pm Pacific.


For the Professional Category, the five-person team from Berliner Architects was selected for their “Learning Everywhere” idea, which is a “Mobile Strategy for Pedagogy at School, at Home, on Field Trips, and in Transit”. The team, comprised of Richard Berliner AIA, Eric Rutgers AIA, Tannaz Mohtasebi, Ian Fitzpatrick, Miguel Lamas and Kai Telless, stated that “Learning Everywhere is the natural progression of the shift from lecture-based classroom instruction to an individualized, project-based pedagogy, taking advantage of new technologies that enable remote and individualized learning everywhere.” Their winning proposal took inspiration from public television’s Magic Schoolbus and delighted jury members with its playful yet practical approach.

For the Student Category, the four-person team from BRAC University in Dhaka, Bangladesh, comprised of Sohana Khan, Mahzabin Marium, Syed Tawsif Munawar, and Ishrak Shalih Talukder, developed “The Classroom for Future in Rural Context of Bangladesh.” The team explored ideas of creating flexible, resilient classrooms for elementary grade students in the context of rural Bangladesh. Their concept employs local vernacular forms and traditional modes of teaching to address the current pandemic, along with many other demands, noting that “before the pandemic hit, the students went to schools which were quite far from their houses. So, a new learning environment can be created. It will be play-based learning.”

Awardee Projects Pictured, Left: Berliner Architects “Learning Everywhere”, Right: Team Delta, BRAC University “The Classroom for Future in Rural Context of Bangladesh.”


Over the past year, our entire learning landscape shifted. Schools pivoted to online learning and families shifted to support learning at home. While we have begun to shift back to in person learning, it is clear that the outbreak of COVID-19 has triggered a moment of reflection on what it means to create a safe space for learning.

This competition is envisioned as an opportunity to broaden the conversation around how we teach and learn, and the environments that support the same. As we work to move beyond the current pandemic, this moment can serve as a springboard to re-envision our learning environments. Participants are encouraged to think big picture about the long-term implications of creating safe space in terms of space, technology, materials and more.

What do spaces look like that support the needs of students, teachers and communities during this time and into the future? How has our response to COVID-19 changed our thinking about what it means to create a resilient and flexible classroom and school environment? What activities need physical space and how do the virtual and physical classroom function together?

Participants are encouraged to submit a vision for the classroom, school or campus of the future with an eye to the following potential topics:

  • > Community building
  • > Equity
  • > Health and wellness
  • > Personal vs shared space
  • > Flexibility and resilience
  • > Technology

Submitting, Deadlines, Entry Fees, + Eligibility

Entry fees were non-refundable. Submissions must be fully completed and entered on or before the Early Submission Deadline in order to qualify for the discounted submission fees rates.

Submission was fully electronic through the portal. Entrants were encouraged to submit support materials in a variety of formats, which might include digital or hand drawings, images of 3 dimensional models, video or other formats.

This competition was open to anyone and everyone interested in the topic. Teams can be formed for a maximum of 5 people. The registration fee is per team, regardless of the number of team members and based on the entrant categories below:

Pre-College Students, with ID and/or transcript (grades 6-12)

  • $5

Full-Time Architectural and Design Students, with ID and/or transcript (college-level)

  • Early deadline: $15
  • Final deadline: $25

Post-college, working professionals

  • Early deadline: $25
  • Final deadline: $40

Each winning submission will receive a $333 gift certificate from Steelcase and will be featured in our fall Symposium on Tuesday, September 21, from 12 to 1 pm Pacific in conjunction with AIASF's Architecture + the City festival.



Mark Cavagnero
Principal, Mark Cavagnero Associates

Mark Cavagnero, FAIA, founded Mark Cavagnero Associates in 1993, after he left the New York office of Edward Larrabee Barnes Associates. Since that time, the design-centered practice has grown to a staff of 60+ to serve clients internationally, without losing focus on its strong social commitment to generating a body of award-winning, public serving projects. His work embodies a timeless quality, visible in a broad range of renovation and new construction work for various building types from education, museums, civic buildings, theaters, and residential buildings. Throughout his career, Mark has deliberately developed and honed his talent for preservation. Adhering to this philosophy by carefully investigating the cultural roots and social patterns of each place, his design approach always considers its context. Mark is a socially and environmentally conscious architect, with a significant contribution to the context and quality of civic life. His projects are known for careful attention to balanced natural light through all parts of the building, in support of activities and wellness of the occupants. His approach is often modest, in finding the balance between character, form, and richness of materiality. Mark Cavagnero Associates’ approach in design has garnered the firm more than 100 awards from international, national, state, and local organizations.

Dr. Shabnam Koirala-Azad
Dean of the School of Education, University of San Francisco

Dr. Shabnam Koirala-Azad is the first female dean of the School of Education at the University of San Francisco, and in 2018, was recognized as one of the Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business by the San Francisco Business Times. Her leadership is informed by a strong background in educational research and scholarship. For more than a decade as a faculty member in the School of Education and as department chair for the Department of International and Multicultural Education, she added a strong global education component to the curriculum and co-founded the first degree program in Human Rights Education in the United States. As a scholar, she has made new conceptual and methodological contributions to the field of international and comparative education, migration, and diaspora studies. Specifically, her work with South Asian immigrant students and families brings a transnational lens to concepts of identity, belonging, citizenship and civic participation, disrupting misconceptions, and offering critical possibilities for grassroots collaboration across borders. The Center for Humanizing Education and Research (C-HER), known to be one of the newest innovative educational research centers focused on justice, launched under her leadership and vision

Tom Rockwell
Senior Creative Director for Global Collaborations, Exploratorium

Tom Rockwell is Creative Director at the Exploratorium, San Francisco’s museum of science, art, and human perception. Since joining the Exploratorium in 2005, Tom has led the exhibits and media departments, the development of new galleries for the museum's move to the waterfront in 2013, as well as the Geometry Playground exhibition and other National Science Foundation supported projects. His interests include exhibiting the human sciences, mathematics, and fundamental physical phenomena, as well as exploring the relationship between science, art, and religion. Prior to coming to San Francisco, Tom founded and ran Painted Universe, Inc. where projects included exhibitions such as It’s a Nano World, The Enchanted Museum: Exploring the Science of Art, and illustrations for The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene.

Brett Schilke
Faculty, Singularity University
Founder, Irresistible Futures Lab
Education Strategist, Center for Humane Technology

Brett is a social architect and storyteller for the future with deep experience in human behavior, intercultural dynamics, and education. His background includes time as a psychological researcher, startup CEO, and head of a development agency in Siberia, and his work today focuses on addressing social structures and paradigms that stand in the way of change.

He has advised and led projects with various government organizations (including the US Congress, UAE Ministry of Education, Interamerican Development Bank, and the G20), and his academic research on the evolution of human psychology in times of change has been published internationally.

Additional jury members will be announced soon.

Community Partners

Steelcase / One Workplace


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