Centre for Effective Learning Environments (CELE)

CELE’s 4th Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities: The jury has spoken


Preparations for CELE’s 4th Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities included a world-wide call for submissions in early 2010, and 166 submissions from 33 countries were collected. Then an international 6-member jury met in Paris for intensive discussions on the respective merits of all the architectural projects submitted. The educational facilities had to be not only user-orientated, but qualify in relation to one or several pre-defined criteria: innovation in design, fitness for purpose, sustainability and safety.


By the end of the selection process, the jury recommended that 60 projects from 28 countries be included in the publication. Among these, they identified six particularly remarkable ones and one overall outstanding design.


The names of the successful facilities weer unveiled by OECD Deputy-Secretary General Aart de Geus at the Education Ministerial Meeting (4-5 November 2010) which assembled 26 ministers of education. For the complete list of successful facilities, see here.


The most outstanding facility is presented first, and the five other exceptional projects follow in country alphabetical order.


Fuji Kindergarten, Tachikawa City, Tokyo, Japan

Takaharu Tezuka and Yui Tezuka

© Katsuhisa Kida/FOTOTECA


This school is based on the concept that “a kindergarten is a huge playground for children’s growth, a tool for fostering children.” Some 600 children play in the building and the garden. They can clamber over the three large zelkova trees growing through the roof.



Bertha von Suttner Schule, Schwechat, Austria

Architect: fasch&fuchs

© Paul Ott photografiert


A school for children with disabilities has 50 full time and 100 part-time primary and secondary aged students. The building was designed with the idea that disabilities should not be hidden away. The gallery overlooking the gym encourages people to watch what is going on below.



West-Africa Secondary School, Dano, Burkina Faso

Architect: Diébédo Francis Kéré

© Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk


The main aim was to provide a sustainable learning environment for 150 secondary school students. The building is built using local materials and young people who passed on their construction skills to others. The roof is shaped so that air is drawn into the classrooms through small gaps in the ceiling. 



Liceo Técnico Profesional la Florida, Santiago, Chile

Architect: Marsino Arquitectos

© Ministry of Education, Chile


The school has 900 lower and upper secondary, and vocational students. The aim was to create a strong reference for quality education within the community. A central courtyard forms the heart of this school, around which a ramp spirals up giving access to the classrooms.



Tecnológico de Iztapalapa, Mexico DF, Mexico

Architect: Taller de Arquitectura

© Luis Gordoa


Designed for students who are blind or visually impaired, the school is now open to the whole community. It has a swimming pool and theatre as well as classrooms. Surface textures, plants and water enhance the senses of touch, sound and smell, creating an environment  accessible to all. 



School of Art and Art History, University of Iowa, USA

Architect: Steven Holl Architects

© Christian Richters


The building has art library, studios, classrooms, an exhibition gallery, a media theater, painting and design studios, a metal shop and offices. The central atrium with its dramatic steel staircase allows interaction between people, facilitating the free flow of people and the exchange of ideas.





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