Don Weinreich, Alex O'Briant, and Todd Van Varick at the American School in Japan

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Ennead Partner Don Weinreich FAIA, Principal Alex O'Briant AIA, and Associate Principal Todd Van Varick AIA, recently gave a talk on modern purpose-built schools as a part of ASIJ 2030, a series presented by the American School in Japan (ASIJ) and later followed up with a visit to the school, speaking with students about the importance of environmental responsibility in architecture.

You can listen to their talk, Re:think | The Built Environment and the Way We Learn, which discusses best practices in K-12 architecture and how our buildings can shape us, and watch a video from their visit with AISJ students, who shared what they would like to see in their new campus.

"It's really exciting and important for us to engage with students, particularly during these early planning phases of the project,” said Todd Van Varick, Associate Principal. “We encourage the students to talk about their spatial experiences and their social experiences."

"Increasingly we're seeing and responding to a whole health agenda in our planning and design – a real focus on mind and body and supporting the health of the community of users, especially students,” said Alex O’Briant, Principal. “How do we do that? Creating spaces that encourage movement, that are flooded with daylight, that support community and give a lot of different ways for the community to interact, and create a framework to really celebrate humanity is a huge part of our design agenda."

Ennead Partner Don Weinreich talked about campus planning for the future and adapting to an ever-evolving typology. "The rate of change for pedagogy in the world far outpaces the longevity of individual buildings,” he said. “We design with flexibility, we design with modularity, and we try to avoid over-specificity,” he continues, “so that manipulating them is less of a financial hardship.”

Watch their full talk below, and the video from ASIJ about the visit here.