Future100: Learning At All Scales

Through concepts for education and play spaces, these three students introduce innovative ways to design for children.

Portfolio 8 Images Mf100 02
Xie Maggie Hill translated the hands-on pedagogical ideas of Friedrich Fröbel into a kindergarten design for Bryker Woods Elementary in Austin, Texas, which comprises desk and learning modules. An Aquaponics Cluster is meant to teach kids about the ecology of food production. Courtesy Xie Maggie Hill

In design and representation, children are among the many segments of society who are overlooked in favor of more normative, able-bodied adult figures. These students have bucked that persistent oversight by conceiving studied, comprehensive designs for play and education spaces where children at different stages of development can feel at home. An open-ended, holistic understanding of child growth—physical, emotional, and social—pervades the cohort’s designs. A general appreciation for the importance of sheer delight is also apparent.

Play Perspective
A day-care center for the Greek town of Aegina, Cale Ambuehl’s Acropolis of Play patches together activity and common spaces via a “play corridor.” The gridlike space morphs at points resulting in niches, climbing areas, and other surprising and delightful places. Courtesy Cale Ambuehl

Visit metropolismag.com/future100 to see more groundbreaking student work.


More from Metropolis

Drury University

Graduate Architecture

NOMINATOR: Robert Weddle, Dean

Along with his Acropolis of Play, Ambuehl’s CommunityMake community and exhibition center in Chicago follows a modular, tectonic approach that draws on LEGO pieces. Both projects are represented with plans, sections, and maps that communicate a rich sense of spatial context.


The University of Texas at Austin

Undergraduate Interior Design

NOMINATOR: Tamie Glass, Associate Professor, Faculty Director of Design in Health

Two educational designs—a kindergarten and a Boys and Girls Club, both in Austin, Texas—aim to instill a sense of confidence, empowerment, and exploration among kids and teens. Hill’s Caldera Bath House uses ash and tiling as building blocks of a “volcanic, otherworldly experience.”


Boston Architectural College

Graduate Interior Architecture

NOMINATOR: Diane Kitchell, Adjunct Faculty Member

A seasoned designer, Shue has led a handful of built and in-progress educational projects in the South. A project at Auburn University creates an informal learning space in a central atrium, while another for the University of Georgia in Athens includes dozens of labs, classrooms, and a large lecture hall.

You may also enjoy “At Dallas’s Hall of State, a Return to Majesty

Would you like to comment on this article? Send your thoughts to: [email protected]

Register here for Metropolis’s Think Tank Thursdays and hear what leading firms across North America are thinking and working on today.

Recent Projects