Designing for Success: Discovering a School's Unique Identity to Create Inspiring Learning Spaces

Sprouting from the soil of community gardens, the new annex allows Waters Elementary School to nurture a growing student body in a space as vibrant as their integrated curriculum of fine arts, environmental studies, and technology. The exterior design reflects the school's unique identity and history, drawing inspiration from existing buildings and the external neighborhood. Working within the material and financial requirements of Chicago Public Schools, we reflected the school's unique curriculum by using nature-inspired colors for the floors and walls of each new space. The bright yellows, greens, and blues of the interior are illuminated by large, open windows in every classroom and common space, allowing students to connect with nature both inside and outside of the building. Indoor and outdoor learning environments allow students to explore their creativity. Through the construction of the annex, new life has been brought to an old building through elements reflecting the school’s history, values, and vivacity.

What you will learn:

  • Find exterior and interior design inspiration in a school's curriculum, existing facilities, and external community.
  • Create both indoor and outdoor learning environments for K-8 students.
  • Understand principles of wellbeing to design spaces caring for the mental and physical health of students, faculty, and staff.


Damon WilsonDamon Wilson, AIA
Sr. Project Designer
Bailey Edward Design

Thursday, June 15, 2023
Spaces4Learning K-12 Virtual Summit Agenda

SESSION 1     10 a.m. PDT / 1 p.m. EDT
Designing for Success: Discovering a School's Unique Identity to Create Inspiring Learning Spaces

SESSION 2     10:45 a.m. PDT / 1:45 p.m. EDT
Daylighting for the Future

SESSION 3     11:45 a.m. PDT / 2:45 p.m. EDT
Hottest Third-Party Solutions
Our partners demonstrate how their products and services help enhance learning in the classroom and beyond.


Since 1979, Jonti-Craft has been the leading manufacturer of children’s educational furniture. With over 4,000 handcrafted pieces across multiple brands and categories, we furnish spaces that engage, inspire, and protect young learners. From schools and daycare centers to churches and waiting rooms, we have just what you’re looking for.

Inventionland Education
Inventionland Education designs award-winning Innovation Labs® and maker spaces in K12 schools. Its design team works with architects, designers, and educators to design, construct and install immersive spaces in underutilized rooms, libraries, and new construction. Its K12 applied STEM course is recognized as a top 10 STEM solutions provider.

School Outfitters
At School Outfitters we’re dedicated to bringing your learning space visions to life, whether it’s new construction or renovated classrooms. We pride ourselves on enterprise-level project services like expert space planning and hassle-free installation. And with our ready-to-ship inventory, your project will get done on time and on budget.

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