College & University

Dialogue, discussion, communication and collaboration are the hallmarks of CannonDesign’s approach to responding to the changing paradigms of education.

We create spaces to support meaningful academic and social student interactions. Student success and growth are paramount in our designs, which shape unique environments responding to student and campus life patterns. These environs bridge the future of learning, while respecting campus traditions and creating a thriving, long-lasting setting for generations. We believe buildings and spaces are essential tools for achieving a vision for tomorrow – that life-long experiences are created within these spaces.

Featured Projects

  • Lukanic, Bradley

    Bradley Lukanic, AIA, LEED

    Executive Director, Education

    Brad Lukanic leads CannonDesign’s higher education practice specializing in the planning and design of academic learning environments, student unions/dining commons, libraries/learning centers and performing arts projects. Lukanic examines how the pedagogical shift in learning environments is transforming learning communities and places for instruction, and how these buildings not only incorporate sustainable strategies but also visually convey environmental stewardship principles. An active member of the Association of College Unions International (ACUI), the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP), the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) and the American Library Association (ALA), Lukanic is keenly aware of the trends in higher education institutions. He frequently speaks across North America on topics of education, and the millennial generation’s impact on living and learning spaces.

    Read Brad's 5 Predictions for the Future of Higher Education in Fast Company.

  • Abidi, Safdar

    Safdar Abidi

    Vice President

    As the education practice leader for Ontario and the eastern Canadian provinces, Safdar Abidi brings more than 20 years international design and implementation experience to the firm’s institutional projects. With a keen focus on evolving trends in post-secondary education, his mission of collaborating with regional university and college clients achieves truly “transformative” potential for campus buildings. Abidi ensures new and renovated facilities are designed as an investigation of pedagogical, cultural and business impacts. He implements a methodology to explore the philosophical vision, design characteristics, branding aspects, cost and schedule management, sustainability and increasingly the fundraising priorities of academic clients. Abidi is a member of the Society of College and University Planning, the Toronto Society of Architects, and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.

  • Bou, Patricia

    Patricia Bou, AIA, LEED


    Patricia Bou is a Principal at CannonDesign, where she concentrates on project management, operational and team organizational strategies. Her focus provides higher education clients planning solutions to meet emerging trends as they seek to develop new and renovation construction projects. Her strong management skills and broad experience have translated into many well-organized and successful projects, both in terms of meeting schedule and budget goals. Bou possesses expert and hands-on leadership to CannonDesign’s projects and activities, including firm-wide initiatives to raise women’s profile in the practice and profession. She is the Director-at-Large and a committee member for both the Education and Diversity committees of the AIA D.C. chapter, an active member of the Society for College and University Planning, and Association of College Unions International. She received her bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College, and her master’s in architecture from Columbia University.

  • Coyle, J. Lee

    J. Lee Coyle, AIA, LEED


    J. Lee Coyle is an expert in programming, design and project leadership of large, complex projects. He believes the most responsive buildings are born from a true partnership between architects and clients, and he always strives to build consensus and an atmosphere of mutual trust among project stakeholders. Through his expertise in building design for undergraduate and graduate education and research, Coyle has developed insight into human behavior patterns relating to movement, gathering and student interaction – and his designs for academic environments benefit from this perspective. He focuses on creating well-balanced spaces that both allow contemplation and promote collaboration.

  • Deninger, Lynne

    Lynne Deninger, AIA, LEED


    Lynne Deninger brings over 20 years of experience planning and designing various types of university architecture projects coupled with an effectual leadership presence she has applied in diverse capacities such as marketing, recruitment, project team staffing and mentoring. Strongly committed to green design, she has managed interdisciplinary teams of professionals responsible for establishing green strategies on a wide scale. She is also the New England region’s higher education practice leader, and provides both regional and national expertise for CannonDesign’s higher education practice. She specializes in the programming, planning and design for student residence/student life facilities.

  • Dordai, Philippe

    Philippe Dordai


    Phil Dordai is a principal with CannonDesign, focusing on higher education clients and projects. He brings a broad range of architectural skills to his role as a programmer, planner and project leader. With a noteworthy history as a designer, manager and sustainability advocate, he has overseen projects such as the competition winning scheme for one of the first green office buildings in New Jersey in the mid-1990s. Phil’s significant academic experience can be seen on the campuses of Carnegie Mellon University, Coppin State University, Dickinson College and Syracuse University. He is a frequent speaker at national and regional conferences, highlighting educational thought leadership and his award-winning projects.

  • Fatovic, Robert J.

    Robert J. Fatovic, AIA

    Vice President

    A specialist in coordinating and managing the design and construction of collegiate sports, recreation, stadium, leisure and special event facilities, Robert Fatovic' has over 30 years of experience providing extensive programming, design, master planning and feasibility services to clients worldwide. His education and experience, which includes landscape planning and urban design, as well as architectural design and management, makes him uniquely qualified to take a leadership position on diverse sports facilities. His operational approach and collaborative style have earned Fatovic’ recognition from both his peers and clients. He is a frequent guest lecturer and has presented at the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), Athletic Business, and the Stadium Management Conference of the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM).

  • Hamilton, Craig A.

    Craig A. Hamilton, FAIA, LEED


    Craig A. Hamilton has over 30 years of experience that has been characterized by award-winning work on projects in a wide range of settings, covering the full range of project delivery from programming through design and construction. Hamilton's focus is on the programming and planning of higher education facilities. His leadership and professional engagement has broadened CannonDesign’s higher education practice to an acknowledged national leader. He is a frequent speaker at professional organizations such as Society for College and University Planning, National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association, Association of College Unions International and the American Bar Association, where his insight into the technological, cultural and economic forces facing higher education has lead him to become an advocate for the importance of social space as part of the learning experience.

  • Jaffe, Eric

    Eric Jaffe, AIA


    An accomplished architect, Eric Jaffe has a portfolio of national and international work that encompasses large, complex project types—from science and research, healthcare and higher education facilities—to projects in commercial and cultural markets. He has been involved in all aspects of project delivery and has a proven track record for building strong design teams through leadership and organization.

    As Leader of the firm’s Science and Technology Practice on the East Coast, Jaffe focuses on business and strategic development of CannonDesign’s Science and Technology Practice, assisting the firm in its efforts to grow the research and laboratory planning practice market areas. Additionally, he is responsible for design leadership, marketing, developing and maintaining strong client relationships, mentoring and project leadership. Jaffe holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is a registered architect in 14 states and is NCARB certified.

  • Punit Jain, AIA, LEED Fellow

    Vice President

    As a key member of the firm’s Science & Technology practice, Jain brings extensive experience in designing both teaching and research laboratory buildings. Jain also serves as the firm’s sustainable design leader, responsible for promoting high-performance design through LEED® certification, conducting training for the firm’s professionals and high-performance design practices. Punit serves on the National Board of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) – the originator of the LEED system, and widely recognized as one of the most influential institutions in the sustainable movement worldwide.

    A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis with a Masters in Architecture and Construction Management, Jain has taught at the School of Art & Design at Maryville University and St. Louis Community College and serves as a visiting critic for the schools of architecture at Washington University and the University of Illinois at Champaign. He frequently presents at international conferences and received the 2010 Go Beyond Award during the Labs 21conference for his continued sustainable efforts.

  • Johnson, Stephen

    Stephen Johnson, FAIA

    President, CannonDesign International

    As President and Executive Director of the International Practice, Stephen Johnson is the strategic leader responsible for CannonDesign’s global practice outside of North America, including the firm’s offices in Shanghai and Mumbai. Our international practice focuses on the opportunity to create design solutions that elevate the quality of life around the world including the establishment of new communities and signature projects throughout Asia and the Middle East. Johnson is actively engaged in transformational education, research, commercial, and planning projects including the American University of Sharjah, Tata Consultancy Services, The Doon School, and Mongolia Education City. His work has been recognized with five national AIA Design Awards, as well as two prestigious Honor Awards from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Johnson’s design work and contributions to the profession as a leader and generous collaborator have been celebrated with his elevation to the AIA College of Fellows, the Institute’s highest individual honor.

  • Lemke, Roland G.

    Roland G. Lemke, AIA, LEED

    Principal, Mid-Atlantic

    A key member of CannonDesign’s higher education practice with a focus on sports/recreation and student life, as well as the education design leader for the firm’s primary/secondary practice in the Mid Atlantic, Roland G. Lemke has over 23 years of experience as a project designer and planner. A frequent speaker at national and regional conferences, Lemke has presented for the American Institute of Architects, Association of College and University Housing Officials, Association of College Unions International, Athletic Business, National Business Officers Association, National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, and the Society for College and University Planning. His work has been honored with numerous design awards and published in leading professional journals such as American School and University, Contract, Interiors, Olympian, Facility Design & Management, and Athletics Administration.

  • McKenna, Colleen

    Colleen McKenna, LEED, Associate AIA

    Senior Vice President

    Over the course of her professional career as a sports planner, Colleen McKenna has served on the design teams of over 40 sports and recreation facility projects, ranging from feasibility and programming studies to full architectural services. The leader of CannonDesign’s sport practice, McKenna’s diverse portfolio includes college and university recreation centers, intercollegiate athletic facilities, and community centers including the award winning University of Maine Student Recreation and Fitness Center. Part of the leadership team for CannonDesign’s national sports practice, McKenna supports the practice with an in-depth knowledge of functional planning requirements which result in design solutions that meet the diverse needs of both competitive and recreational participants. McKenna was recently named among Boston Business Journal’s “40 Under 40,” an award recognizing outstanding professionals.

  • Mistriner, Michael A.

    Michael A. Mistriner, AIA

    Principal, East Region

    Michael A. Mistriner has over 22 years experience in planning and design for higher education, with an emphasis on master planning and residence life projects. In his leadership role, he is responsible for advancing the higher education practice of the firm. Noted for his ability to translate an institution’s mission into a comprehensive strategic facility plan, he plays a pivotal role in the realization of the client’s vision. Mistriner's portfolio includes the Canisius College Montante Cultural Center, a project recognized with nine awards for design excellence, including a national AIA Institute Honor Award for Interior Architecture. A frequent speaker at national and regional conferences, Mistriner recently presented at the Association of College and University Housing Officers–International conference.

  • Smith, Charles

    Charles Smith, AIA, LEED

    Principal, Central Region

    With almost 25 years of project leadership, Charles Smith applies his creativity, inventive practice, approach and thoughtful solutions to issues facing the firm’s clients. A key member of the college and university practice, he has led multiple student life, academic, recreational sports and laboratory projects during the course of his career. He partners with clients who range from small or private colleges, to private research institutions to land-grant universities. He believes a holistic and integrated approach to architecture—from project management to technical execution—contributes to a project's success. Smith is an active member of Chicago’s American Institute of Architects, having previously served as president, and is also a member of the Society for College and University Planning.

  • Whiteley, Mark

    Mark Whiteley, RIBA


    As the firm’s Science and Technology Practice Leader, Mark Whiteley has gained deep experience in this sphere by spending the last 22 years working as strategic consultant, trusted advisor and principal designer to executive leadership in the corporate, public, healthcare and academic sectors. His skill in synchronizing innovative enterprise methodologies and creative collaborative strategies with the optimal physical facilities has lead to a string of groundbreaking transformations for some of the world’s top businesses, universities and governments.

    Whiteley is a regular speaker at national and international conferences and was the keynote speaker at the 2011 International Laboratory Design Conference. He has been published numerous times on the subject of scientific facility design, enterprise planning and innovation strategies. A member of the team that developed the Welcome Trust / UK Government standards for science and technology facilities, Mark and his work have been recognized by multiple awards including a prestigious Business Week / AIA Award and a Lab of the Year Award.

Master Planning

Many of the most important decisions shaping today’s academic institutions are made in the programming and planning process, and CannonDesign’s inclusive and interactive approach brings insight in resolving complex needs, achieving consensus, and defining a long range vision. The speed of technological and societal change requires a dynamic framework that can evolve over time to meet future needs, and our work is rooted in an understanding of the new interdisciplinary learning paradigms that create vibrant and innovative campus environments. Key to maximizing space and site utilization is the concept of the “fusion” building and “fusion” campus where multiple activities co-exist to serve our multi-tasking users. Our process is also rooted in an appreciation for each institution’s unique identity and culture, as well as environmental stewardship, ensuring that the plan provides a customized platform for enduring success.

Academic & Classroom Facilities

The academic landscape continues to change and evolve as new forms of engagement and learning happen on campuses. With today’s changing students coupled with the cross pollination within the academic disciplines the classroom cannot be thought of as merely four walls with technology inside but rather an immersive learning experience used to foster both planned and unforeseen learning outcomes. From the dedicated, highly-specialized classroom to the “universal,” highly-flexible classroom – these spaces are designed to facilitate the active-learning opportunities that enrich students’ experience in their chosen field, often facilitating an array of pedagogical approaches.

CannonDesign’s designers and planners work very closely with clients to understand the needs of academic programs, to tailor classroom designs to these specific needs, and to enable each learning center to advance investigations and knowledge acquisition while engaging new technologies for decades to come.

Science & Technology

Today’s science-driven facilities must be highly flexible, or they risk becoming obsolete even before construction is completed. To achieve flexibility as well as visual appeal requires a highly organized, integrated approach to systems design. Such an approach informs and frees up the design process to create an inviting facility that attracts and retains faculty, staff, and students and enriches the campus fabric – either by maintaining consistency with an existing aesthetic or by initiating a new paradigm for campus science buildings that can revitalize or expand campus master planning concepts.

With a wealth of knowledge gleaned through the ongoing benchmarking of science buildings nationwide, CannonDesign designs science facilities that respond to clients’ needs, desires, and challenges and enable them to excel in their missions.

Libraries & Information Commons

The role of the library as the academic heart to a campus has a long rich history and continues to be the foundation of learning and knowledge acquisition. However with the role of new technology and electronic information acquisition coupled with new forms of learning and collaboration, the physical nature of the library as place is undergoing a significant transformation. No longer simply repositories of text collections, academic libraries are becoming vibrant partners in new forms of learning and knowledge acquisition. The movement toward informal, active and group study is affecting the design of library environments as students and faculty increasingly use these spaces to engage as collaborators and to seek guidance through the ever-expanding resources and technologies accessible to today’s learning communities.

As both pedagogy and technology continue to evolve, academic libraries must be designed as responsive and flexible buildings to ensure that they remain relevant and vital contributors to advancing the foundations of learning.

Recreational Sports

The student recreation center is arguably the most recent building type to become an essential component of the campus fabric in the last 25 years. CannonDesign created one of the first of the genre in 1983, the John Wooden Center at UCLA, and has remained in the forefront of creativity and innovation since that time.

Increasingly, the recreation center is seen by colleges and universities as a key component in combating physical and social issues such as obesity, alcohol and drug abuse, stress related disease and psychological problems.

To each assignment, our recreational sports professionals bring a creative approach anchored by our ability to benchmark 30 years of experience. One notable example is our leadership in the development of ‘fusion buildings’ – a dynamic synthesis that combines student recreation with wellness programs, student union functions, food service and even competitive athletics and performing arts to create a one stop student life center.

Whether it is a free-standing new building, a renovation and expansion or a cost-driven remodeling program, CannonDesign will marshal the talent, experience and enthusiasm required to create a flexible, sustainable and cost-effective project that reflects the institutional ambitions and aesthetic of the campus environment.

Intercollegiate Athletics

The highly competitive nature of intercollegiate athletics has never been more in focus than in the first decade of the 21st century. As the pressure builds to increase institutional visibility through excellence in athletics, colleges and universities are competing for the most talented athletes and coaches as never before.

While attractive stadia, arenas and spectator venues are key to ensuring alumni support, ancillary spaces such as strength training, sports medicine, team rooms, academic support services and halls of fame are vital to student athlete and coaching staff recruitment and retention.

CannonDesign is committed to working in a collaborative manner with athletics administration during the entire process from feasibility study to ribbon cutting to ensure that the design of each project both exceeds the expectations of student athletes and reflects the unique personality of each institution.

Whether an arena, a stadium, an intercollegiate athletics building or one of the many Olympic sports training facilities, our knowledge and experience results in cutting edge, sustainable and cost-effective award-winning facilities that promote excellence in sport.

Campus Life & Student Centers

Long heralded as the “living rooms and the hearths of the campus” – student life facilities are challenged today by the notion of the rapid shift to an “everything, everywhere, anytime 24/7.” This focus has institutions reflecting on the role of the union/campus center and other student life spaces in the 21st century education both as a way to further enhance the college and university experience but to be an economically viable enterprise. The result of student life spaces today are a new fusion of program spaces brought together with an acute focus on the business model.

Residence Life

While providing superior education remains a paramount goal of today’s colleges and universities, those institutions that succeed in attracting the best and brightest have discovered the importance that campus residential life plays in student recruitment and retention. Contemporary students are sophisticated, informed consumers who expect a well-rounded campus experience. Colleges and universities can meet and exceed those demands only through careful planning to enhance the quality of residence life.

As a result, both students and college administrators are looking at residence halls in a different light than they once were. No longer merely places to sleep, residence halls have become an integral part of the college campus experience. Our experience in residential life planning and design starts with asking questions. Our interactive process of exploring and understanding the needs of students and institutions is crucial to creating synergies between living and learning spaces, integrating student-life with strong connections to the campus core. Through the incorporation of renewable materials, natural light and alternative energy sources, we support students in “living green.” Our approach is focused on facilitated interactive design workshops that engage residence life staff, administration and students with the goal of developing a multi-dimensional living/learning environment.

  • Adler School of Professional Psychology
  • California State University System
  • California State University, San Bernardino
  • Centennial College
  • Concordia University
  • DePaul University
  • Dormitory Authority of the State of New York
  • East Carolina University School of Medicine
  • George Washington University
  • Georgetown University
  • Hofstra University
  • Keene State College
  • Koc University
  • Logan College of Chiropractic
  • Long Beach State University
  • Los Angeles Community College District
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • McKendree College
  • Medical University of South Carolina
  • New York University
  • Northwestern University
  • Ohlone Community College District
  • Pepperdine University
  • Pima County, Arizona
  • Southeast Missouri State University
  • Southern Illinois University
  • State University of New York College at Brockport
  • State University of New York College at Fredonia
  • State University of New York College at Geneseo
  • State University of New York at Brockport
  • State University of New York at Buffalo
  • State University of New York at Fredonia
  • State University of New York at Geneseo
  • State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center
  • Syracuse University
  • U.S. Air Force Academy
  • University of California System
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Massachusetts Medical Center
  • University of Missouri
  • University of Nevada
  • University of North Florida
  • University of Rochester
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • University of Victoria
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Vassar College
  • Virginia State University
  • Zhejiang University
  • Onondaga Community College - Academic II Addition

    Merit Award

    AIA Western New York
    Rigorous on approach, the addition’s composition is intriguing and its detailing is exceptional, inside and out. Although the plan is very open and cleanly refined, the performance hall conveys warmth that would be enjoyable to visit or perform in. —Merit Award, AIA Western New York

    Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel (IDEAS2)

    American Institute of Steel Construction
  • Kaleida Health / State University of New York - Gates Vascular Institute (GVI) and UB Clinical Translational Research Center (CTRC)

    Bronze Award of Honor

    Society of American Registered Architects, New York Council

    Academy Award for Interior Design

    International Academy for Design & Health

    National Healthcare Design Award – Innovations in Planning

    AIA/Academy of Architecture for Health

    America’s Best Buildings of the Year (ABBY) Awards, Citation

    Buildings Magazine

    International Architecture Award

    Chicago Athenaeum, Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies

    American Architecture Award

    Chicago Athenaeum, Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies

    Finalist, Public Sector

    World Interior Design News
    The scheme showed cohesion carried through with rigor appropriate for a healthcare setting. We appreciated the breaking up of a large box into a clinical and fresh look.

    Interiors Award, Large Healthcare Category

    Contract Magazine

    Finalist, Public Sector

    FX International Interior Design Awards
  • University of Wisconsin at Madison - Gordon Dining and Event Center

    Gold Citation, Educational Interiors

    American School & University
    Good choice and use of materials create a variety of seating experiences. Warm, thoughtful, interesting and engaging.—2013 jury

    Facility Design Awards of Excellence

    Association of College Unions International
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Lincoln Hall

    Bronze Award of Honor

    Society of American Registered Architects, New York Council

    Citation for Design Excellence

    American School & University
    Beautiful restoration that captures the character of the building while introducing modern functions.—2013 jury
  • Niagara County Community College - Niagara Falls Culinary Institute

    Silver Award in Hospitality (Heritage Contract Flooring)

    Starnet Design Awards
  • Missouri State University - Recreation Center

    Honor Award for Architecture

    AIA St. Louis
  • State University of New York College at Oswego - Rice Creek Field Station

    Merit Award

    AIA Western New York
    The design for this facility effectively positions the solid versus the void while maintaining strength of form between the building and its surroundings. The materiality selection, the detailing, and the execution of the construction provide for a high quality solution.—AIA Western New York Jury
  • Tidewater Community College, Norfolk Campus - Student Center

    Facility Design Awards of Excellence

    Association of College Unions International

    America’s Best Buildings of the Year (ABBY) Awards, Citation

    Buildings Magazine
  • State University of New York at Buffalo - William R. Greiner Hall

    America’s Best Buildings of the Year (ABBY) Awards, Citation of Excellence

    Buildings Magazine