Booker T. Washington STEM Academy is a K-5 school in an underserved African-American neighborhood in Champaign, Ill. The new 425-student school was a response to a desegregation order and replaced an existing building that had important roots in the neighborhood. Community engagement was a high priority in the design process, and the building reflects ASSOCIATED FIRMBailey Edward ArchitectureCAPACITY425COST PER SQ FT$222.00CITATIONWilliam W. Caudill CitationFEATURED IN2012 Architectural Portfolio history of the community.
The design forms a living laboratory for the STEM curriculum and provides spaces throughout the school for hands-on learning experiences focusing on problem-solving and learner-centered education. Academic communities, a STEM lab and collaboration areas encourage students to ask questions and engage in activities with their teachers and peers. This creates a STEM-centric learning environment where students gain skills and abilities to think critically, solve complex problems, and understand advancements in science and technology.
Achieving LEED gold certification, the building includes multiple strategies to attain high levels of energy efficiency. Outdoor learning areas were designed to support the STEM curriculum and foster a sense of environmental stewardship within the students.
"This project supports 21st-century learning and has outstanding flexible learning spaces. The inclusion of community history and inspirational messages are an effective component of this design."--2012 Jury