Great Schools by Design


In 2013, the American Architectural Foundation launched Design for Learning, a national initiative to develop, advance, and promote innovative modes of teaching and learning through architecture and design. Design for Learning builds on the ten-year legacy of Great Schools by Design, which engaged hundreds of local government officials, superintendents, design professionals, parents, educators, students, and the community around the opportunities and challenges facing their districts. 

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AAF established Great Schools by Design in 2003 with the belief that a well-designed learning environment is an important, perhaps essential, contributor to successful teaching and improved learning. AAF also recognized that education leaders are often unaware of the full potential that design and the design process can provide. We expected that empowering these educators with an understanding of the principles of design would support their efforts to serve their students and communities.

During its operation, GSbD engaged hundreds of superintendents, local government officials, and design professionals, as well as parents, teachers, students, and other stakeholders in a far-reaching conversation about what must be done to improve the places where children and young adults learn. AAF has now launched the next phase of that work, Great Schools by Design 2.0 if you will, as Design for Learning.

Great Schools by Design Articles

AAF and the Gates Foundation National Design Summit for Stem Education 

Classrooms with a View: Innovative school design is hard, but it doesn’t have to be.

Voice of the Teacher

Great Schools by Design Videos

AAF + USGBC = Greener Schools

Great Schools by Design: Rosa Parks School 

School of One

Schools as Center of Community: John A. Johnson Achievement Plus Elementary School

Great Schools by Design Institute Reports