Learn By Design

Learn by Design elevates groundbreaking work in the design of physical learning environments and how it impacts pedagogy and learning outcomes.

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Learn By Design

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About Learn by Design


Learn by Design celebrates the collaboration of designers and educators in the pursuit of design-based solutions to challenges within education.

The 2018 Learn by Design competition will feature projects and design solutions that enhance physical learning environments for students at every age. Ten projects have been selected as finalists and will compete in the live event. These finalists span over four categories; higher education, Pre K-12, informal learning and conceptual and will be evaluated by an esteemed panel of judges.

For frequently asked questions and answers about the competition, please review the Learn by Design FAQ.

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Learn by Design Schedule

Tuesday, March 6 @ 4:00pm

Learn by Design Competition
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Tuesday, March 6 @ 6:00pm

Learn by Design Happy Hour & Winner Announcement
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SXSW EDU 2018 Learn by Design Competition Emcee, Raeche_French.
Raechel French
K – 12 Educational Planner, DLR Group

SXSW EDU 2018 Learn by Design Competition Emcee, Sam Seidel, Standford d.school.
Sam Seidel
Director of K12 Strategy + Research, Standford d.school


SXSW EDU Learn by Design Judge, Kelley Tanner.
Kelley Tanner
Owner, BrainSpaces | Connextions

SXSW EDU Learn by Design Judge, Michael Ford.
Michael Ford
Co-Founder, Urban Arts Collective

SXSW EDU Learn by Design Judge, Katie Kizziar.
Katie Kizziar
Associate Director of Research & Innovation, Thinkery

SXSW EDU Learn by Design Judge, Dan Coleman.
Dan Coleman
Chief Learning & Design Officer, Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning


SXSW EDU Learn by Design Coach, Amy Jones.
Amy Jones
President, O’Connell Robertson

SXSW EDU Learn by Design Coach, Adam Nye.
Adam Nye
Director, City as Our Campus

SXSW EDU Learn by Design Coach, Carlos Moreno.
Carlos Moreno
Co-Executive Director, Big Picture Learning

SXSW EDU Learn by Design Coach, Taryn Kinney.
Taryn Kinney
Principal, DLR


SXSW EDU 2018 Learn by Design Finalists,  Libraries of the Future.
Libraries of the Future – The Urban Learning Park
This project aims to address current social and health issues through the creation of a new physically interactive learning model. It proposes the adaptive re-use of disused urban carparks into a new public building typology, bringing together the library, the urban park, the art gallery and community center.

SXSW EDU 2018 Learn by Design Finalists, Community Information Trust- Do Space
Do Space
The project gets tech and educational experiences into every facet of the community, all ages and all levels of expertise. Do Space is a one-of-a-kind concept: It’s a community technology library, a digital workshop, and an innovation playground filled with new opportunities to learn, grow, explore and create

D&F x Ghata, Learn by Design 2018 Competition Finalists.
D&F x Ghata
The Ghata was designed in response to the protracted Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon. Initially envisioned as a shelter unit, the design was adapted as a classroom – serving thousands of refugee children – to prioritize access to education as a strategy to school a lost generation of youth displaced by war.

SXSW EDU 2018 Learn by Design Finalists, HEART board Pyramid.
HEART Board Pyramid
How do we make places people truly love? In an intriguing approach to understand the simplicity and impact of production, Heart Board Pyramid provides participants of all ages with a modular temporary popup space and furnishing system that fully unleashes their creativity and concrete problem solving skills. Made from 100% recyclable and reusable cardboard, this sustainable architectural project only requires the manpower needed to fold the material and creativity.

SXSW EDU 2018 Learn by Design Finalists, KM Kindergarten and Nursery.
KM Kindergarten and Nursery
This is a renovation project of a dilapidated kindergarten in Osaka,
Japan. For our design, we focused on two significant issues: children’s lack of exercise
caused by narrow site in urban location, and children’s lack of knowledge about local business. Through architecture and design, we attempted to make these positive and impactful changes.

SXSW EDU 2018 Learn by Design Competition Finalists, Missouri Innovation Campus.
Missouri Innovation Campus
A progressive partnership between a school district, community college and University is reshaping the way students experience education at Missouri Innovation Campus. The 2 + 2 program, which is a collaboration between both industry and academic partners, focuses on learner outcomes in an immersive and rich real-life workplace experience.

SXSW EDU 2018 Learn by Design Finalists, Outdoor Classroom for John Muir Middle School.
Outdoor Classroom for John Muir Middle School
Designed to promote a unique connection to the natural environment, the Outdoor Classroom at John Muir Middle School allows students to learn and play while enjoying the outdoors. This minimal gray and yellow enclosure is the perfect balance of natural and built space, and is completed with a stage and seating to provide definition without disrupting the surrounding large tree canopies.

SXSW EDU 2018 Learn by Design Finalists, Pathfinder Kindergarten Center.
Pathfinder Kindergarten Center
Pathfinder Kindergarten Center in Washington is an innovative, next generational learning environment for 600 Kindergarten students under one roof. The custom design solution reduces time lost to transitions through push in specialists and decentralization of services.

SXSW EDU 2018 Learn by Design Finalists - Sierra High School - Summit Public Schools. Seattle, Washington Image license: NAC Architecture, Kirtley-Cole, DCI Engineers and Summit Public Schools - Sierra High School.
Summit Sierra
Sierra uses a fully flipped classroom model, with teachers providing targeted guidance: no textbooks, no bells, no teaching walls, no corridors, no teacher desks, no lectures. The design supports this with collaborative spaces, transparency, and flexibility. Comparable strategies can be used to retrofit any school building to support similar pedagogy.

SXSW EDU 2018 Learn by Design Finalists, West Houston Institute.
West Houston Institute
Designed by a team of educators from Houston Community College and designers from PBK and Harrison Kornberg Architects, the West Houston Institute is an integrated set of Next Generation learning spaces created to facilitate innovative, design, and STEAM learning for formal and informal students of all ages.

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Learn by Design History

Learn more about the history of the Learn by Design competition and browse a full list of past design finalists, winners and judges.

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