Education and educational facilities remain a focus of public debate, influenced by new directions in technology and teaching, changing economic, social and legislative forces, and charged with an expanding mission by the communities they serve. Cannon Design has been a specialist in the planning and design of facilities that meet these challenges since our founding.
Our activities have ranged from district-wide master plans, capital and technology improvement programs to the renovation or expansion of existing facilities, and the development of new schools in rural, city, and suburban neighborhoods. Whatever the nature of the assignment, we use the power of our imagination, knowledge and experience to create environments that are an inspiration for learning, a source of community pride and a symbol of the educational mission.
Roland A. Coleman II
Roland Coleman has over 30 years of experience in client and design team management, with a focus on educational planning and design for city, suburban and rural school districts. Projects have ranged from campus master plans to complex district-wide, multi-year, multi-phased assignments involving existing conditions assessments, programming, user/stakeholder communication, programming and test-fit concepts for renovations, and new replacement schools. His ability to develop consensus within multiple constituencies – students, teachers, parents, administrators and the community – has produced outstanding educational facilities that reflect the client’s spirit and vision, while meeting their goals for budget, schedule, function and quality civic architecture.Email Roland A. Coleman II »
Hans Kullerkupp, AIA
Hans Kullerkupp is responsible for Cannon Design’s Pre K – 12 education practice, providing leadership during planning, feasibility studies, and facility evaluations as well as building design and renovation programs. With expertise gained over 40 years of professional practice, his valuable relationships with State Education Departments lend clients the critical insights required to navigate the regulatory review and approval process to obtain authorization for design and execution. A number of projects have been recognized with local, regional and national design honors from American School and University and the Society of American Registered Architects. These include Rochester City School District, James Madison School of Excellence, and the Cornwall Central School District, High School.Email Hans Kullerkupp »
Trung T. Le, AIA
A key leader for Cannon Design’s education group, Trung T. Le is a widely-recognized advocate for incorporating multiple intelligences and learning styles in the design of education environments. During his 20-year career he has created spaces encouraging student inquiry and imagination, and what it means to be a part of a global community.
His design philosophy has yielded awards from the Chicago and national chapters of the American Institute of Architects, and has been featured in Architectural Record, Contract Design and Edutopia. Le is a frequent speaker at national and international education and design conferences, and his collaboration with Bruce Mau resulted in the publication The Third Teacher, a cabinet of wonders on how design can transform the ecology of learning. Le also leads The Third Teacher Plus, an education design consultancy within the firm’s ideas-based practice assisting learning communities to better serve 21st century learners.Email Trung T. Le »
Christian Long is an educator, school planner, technology expert, passionate advocate for innovative learning communities, and educational futurist. Christian works for Cannon Design’s education group where he helps to lead The Third Teacher Plus platform. Additionally, he was the founder of Be Playful, a collaborative global design agency focused on the intersection between school planning/design, emerging technology, professional development, and future trending. He is also founder/co-developer of Prototype Design Camp, an innovative national design program for young creatives, collaborating on real problems in the real world in real time. Additionally, Christian speaks nationally and internationally on topics ranging from emerging trends in education, 21st century technology and social media, and innovative school planning practices.Email Christian Long »
Planning & Programming
Each ‘local school’ should embody the specific programming and planning as a critical component of the childhood to college educational continuum known as PreK/16. Our experiences across the country and overseas reinforce that to be effective design professionals we must focus first on being careful listeners at the inception of each client relationship.
The ‘program’ developed for each project will establish the essence of the educational mission, expectations, as well as standards by which the proposed project can be quantified and equitably measured. The ‘planning’ will seamlessly integrate best practices, and functionality that translate challenges into exciting opportunities. The operative mind-set thus is to program, plan and then explore the most meaningful possibilities as architectural solutions in a structured process.
Facilities Survey & Assessment
The background accumulation must be specific to each client’s circumstances and context – whether an existing school, reconstruction, expansion, or entirely new initiative. The key is to benchmark the existing conditions relative to emerging trends in pedagogy and technology that have proven successful.
The common thread between high performance educators and students prepared to learn are facilities that profoundly encourage and sustain that dynamic human interaction. An accurate assessment of the conditions, capacities, and useful life of the facilities are the strategic touchstones to establish priorities, budgets, and ultimately the value and ‘do-ability’ of a proposed project. Our methodology involves a holistic evaluation of nearly 90 criteria from building systems to support spaces, accessibility and green design. The resulting assessment is a cumulative ‘snapshot’ that uses numerical rankings consistently across all criteria in an easily understood, reader-friendly manner.
Pre K & Elementary Schools
The end goal of educating students who will achieve their full potential requires a solid foundation. In schools, that basic building block is high performance classrooms from PreK to graduation.
Research demonstrates that teaching and learning are acts of will. However, if the rudiments of math concepts and learning how to read fail to be established in PreK, that student invariably is at risk to be an underachiever. From pre-literacy through early childhood we advocate age-appropriate classrooms that provide discrete, small group learning and activity centers. We also advocate a technology infrastructure that provides in-classroom computer and digital resources as the baseline standard for both teachers’ and students’ use, general classroom as well as science, math and language labs. In the telecommunications would of today’s young people, the computer has to be as intrinsic and accessible as the pencil and calculator were for their parents.
The dilemma is to keep the instructional setting properly aligned with the psychological, physical and intellectual growth of young people as they enter and experience adolescence. That is a complex challenge for society at large, and in our middle schools the disconnects come into clear focus.
The fact is by the ‘middle years’ we expect our students to have the confidence and mastery beyond learning to read, but instead reading to learn. The impacts upon schools are equally profound because information and events around the world are instantly available in the 21st Century cyber-age. Thus, capturing and retaining each student’s attention span is far more difficult, and demands that education and design professionals truly partner to implement solutions that speak to the mind and imagination
Today’s high schools are translating possibilities into achievements that demonstrate a greater purposefulness than ‘a school is just a school’. The students’ interests and skill sets to successfully compete individually and collectively as a team in the global marketplace are now at the forefront of ‘hands-on’, uniquely transformative experiences in our secondary schools.
We have planned and designed high schools that feature ninth grade academies, house plans, academic/technical schools of excellence, and middle colleges where students cross register with local institutions of higher education. The trend is we must re-establish advanced skills in math and science to assure thought leadership in future generations. Accordingly, the archaic boundaries of time, school year and even setting are being blurred by technology where it is becoming customary to bring the professor into the high school classroom, and vice-versa.
The world of private schools, although distinct, still keeps a mindful eye on the national trends and dialogue in the educational communities. A more accurate differentiator is that our private school clients are far more nimble at identifying the issues, priorities and a plan of action in response.
Our portfolio of private schools reveals that the market pressures to stay current, cost effective – yet quality results oriented –present real challenges that only vary by degrees. An important distinction we often recognize and enhance is the value placed on the student life aspects. Those important details span the spectrum from formal and informal student common spaces; to he library as the symbolic seat of learning; individual health and team athletics; to the auditorium and even the cafeteria as the daily theatre of life. The facilities must reflect traditions and embrace the education of each child in a personalized and holistic approach.
Capital Improvement Programs
The higher expectations placed upon our students, coupled with the wider usages and complexity of our school facilities contribute to the increasing cost of today’s capital improvements. For example, the safety of our children once was taken for granted, but now requires sophisticated entry, surveillance and wireless VolP systems.
A common misnomer is the presumption that good design is also expensive. Our Pk/12 practice is a testament in both the public and private sectors that great design results form a couple of strategic factors: opportunity; fundamentally great decisions; and most importantly the ability to partner in a cooperative, win/win spirit with each client, user and stakeholder. Capital projects are major investments of valuable resources that simply must optimize the clarity of vision, purpose and accountability.
The Illinois School Board Journal
To build student success: Activating a connection between learning, environment
American School & University
William W. Caudill Citation: Booker T. Washington STEM Academy
American School & University
Booker T. Washington STEM Academy Champaign, Illinois
Environmental Design & Construction
Exercising Thought: Sidwell Friends School, Athletic Facility
School Construction News
Green Building Benefits: A.E. Stevenson High School & Booker T. Washington STEM Academy
Consulting Specifying Engineer
When and Where to Use Displacement Ventilation
What’s on the Mind of Trung Le – Head of Cannon Design’s “Third Teacher” Effort
Building Operating Management
Smart Planning, Better Schools
- A. E. Stevenson High School District 125
- Addison Central School District
- Albany City School District
- Amherst Central School District
- Argo Community High School District 217
- Beach Park C.C. School District 3
- Binghamton City Schools
- Brooks School
- Buffalo City School District
- Buffalo Public Schools
- Canisius High School
- Cannon Design
- Carmel Clay Schools
- Cate School
- Cayman Islands, Ministry of Education
- Chadwick School
- Champaign Unit 4 School District
- Cheektowaga-Maryvale Union Free School District
- Chester Union Free School District
- Chicago International Charter School
- Chicago Public Schools
- Chicagoland Jewish High School
- City of Jacksonville
- Clarkstown Central School District
- Cleveland Hill Union Free School District
- Community High School District 117
- Congressional Schools of Virginia
- Cornwall Central School District
- Depew Union Free School District
- District of Lillooet
- Dunkirk City School District
- Duval County School District
- Edwardsville Community School District No.7
- Elmira Heights Central School District
- Emma Willard School
- Episcopal High School
- Erie 1 BOCES
- Evanston/Skokie School District 65
- Fairfax County Public Schools
- Falls Church School Board
- Floral Park Bellrose Union Free School District
- Fort Zumwalt School District
- Francis Howell School District
- Fredericksburg Public Schools
- Geneva City School District
- Gowanda Central School District
- Grand Island Central School District
- Grant Community High School District 124
- Havenwood Public School
- Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway
- Hempstead Union Free School District
- Holland Central School District
- International School of Indiana
- Kenilworth School District 38
- Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda Union Free School District
- Kingston City School District
- Lake Forest Academy
- Lincolnshire-Prairie View School District
- Long Beach Unified School District
- Lutheran Social Services
- Maret School
- Maryvale Central School District
- Massachusetts School Building Authority
- Mt. Lebanon High School District
- National Cathedral School
- New York City School Construction Authority
- Newfane Central School District
- Niagara Falls City School District
- Niagara Wheatfield Central School District
- Niles Twp. Community High School District 219
- North Collins Central School District
- North Shore Country Day School
- Oak Park Elementary School District 97
- Oklahoma City Public Schools
- Orchard Park Central School District
- Oswego City School District
- Park School
- Parkway School District
- Pelham Union Free School District
- Poughkeepsie City School District
- Rochelle Township High School District 21
- Rochester City School District
- Rockwood School District
- Rogers Park Montessori School
- Roosevelt Union Free School District
- Schenectady City Schools
- Sidwell Friends School
- Sinai Temple
- South Orangetown Central School District
- St. Catherine of Siena Parish School
- St. Louis Public School District
- The Gow School
- The Hill School
- The Kabbalah Learning Centre
- The Nichols School
- The Potomac School
- Tonawanda City Schools
- University School of Nova Southeastern University
- Valley Park School District
- West Seneca Central School District
- Windsor Central School District
- Yeshiva University
- Yonkers Public Schools
Chicago Public Schools - Academy for Global Citizenship
Green Good Award for Architecture
Chicago Athenaeum, Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies
Sidwell Friends School - Athletic Facility
Innovation Architecture & Design Awards
Champaign Unit 4 School District - Booker T. Washington STEM Academy
Award of Distinction
Illinois Association of School Boards
William W. Caudill Citation for Design Excellence
American School & University
This project supports 21st century learning and has outstanding flexible learning spaces. The inclusion of community history and inspirational messages are an effective component of this design.—2012 Jury
Champaign Unit 4 School District - Carrie Busey Elementary School
Citation of Excellence
Learning By Design
Episcopal High School - Centennial Gymnasium Addition
Architectural Portfolio, Outstanding Design
American School & University
Roosevelt Union Free School District - Middle School
Award of Merit
AIA Western New York
Dec. 4, 2012
Cannon Design’s Mehrdad Yazdani and Trung Le presented at the Education and Architecture Conference in Istanbul sponsored by the Koc Foundation and organized by its General Manager Erdal Yildirim. With a focus on the future of education, Le began with ...
- Koc Foundation: Education and Architecture Conference, Dec. 4, 2012
Feb. 29, 2012
Curious about design thinking? Wonder what might drive innovation in your school or classroom? Passionate, experienced workshop leaders guide you through the design process as we collectively uncover the issues, identify questions for inquiry, work as teams to ideate and ...
- National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), Feb. 29, 2012
Feb. 9, 2012
How can we create an education system that not only develops the minds of our youth, but also the world in which they live? Trung Le looks at the bigger picture of education and walks through steps to create an ...
- Green Schools National Network, Feb. 9, 2012
Feb. 9, 2012
The Third Teacher Plus team facilitates a workshop that uses the design thinking process (creative problem solving resulting in a tangible solution) to empower participants to consider how learning can regenerate our society and ecology. Ultimately, this activity is a ...
- Green Schools National Network, Feb. 9, 2012
Jan. 5, 2012
If you were able to design your own ‘classroom for the future’ – with your choice of resources, furniture, tools, and technology – how would you design it so that your students would be most capable of adapting in an ...
- CORE Education, Learning @ School, Jan. 5, 2012
Feb. 4, 2011
School officials face ongoing and increasing demands to develop academic and athletic facilities that modernize their campuses and strengthen enrollment, while preserving green space, implementing sustainability measures and benefitting the community. Below-grade facilities are often deemed both too expensive and ...
- National Business Officers Association (NBOA), Feb. 4, 2011
Feb. 4, 2011
Touching on his efforts to design the education system, Le discusses transformative movements occurring in modern society from which we can find inspiration. With great focus on the relationship between science and the arts, Le seeks to entangle and inextricably ...
- TEDxRESET, Feb. 4, 2011
Jan. 6, 2011
The world in which we live and learn has changed dramatically over the past century and continues to evolve at an even faster rate. Unfortunately, our schools and learning spaces have failed to adapt. The Third Teacher introduces revolutionary ideas ...
- New York State Superintendents Conference, Winter Meeting, Jan. 6, 2011
- Big Ideas Fest, Dec. 6, 2010
- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation STEM Design Workshop, Jan. 6, 2010
- British Council for School Environments, Dec. 6, 2009
Sept. 6, 2010
An in-depth look at the role of the physical environment in education with a focus on how schools can provide safe, sustainable learning centers in urban environments.
- CEFPI 2010 Annual Conference, Sept. 6, 2010