Quackenbush Architects Wins AIA Merit Award for Chapin Middle School Design

A welcoming entrance for a day of learning.

Quackenbush Architects + Planners proudly accepted an American Institute of Architects (AIA) Columbia Merit Design Award for New Construction for its Chapin Middle School project. The design is a collaboration with the Perkins & Will K-12 studio in Chicago. The award was presented at the AIA Columbia 2018 Design Awards dinner and ceremony on Thursday, November 1.

The design of the 160,000-square-foot new middle school emphasizes collaboration and community. Three classroom “houses,” or academic wings, are organized around a core of flexible collaborative spaces that connect to a central two-story spine enhanced with natural light from above. The building, designed for a capacity of 1,200 students, extends beyond traditional school designs to create a true 21st-century flexible learning environment to support project-based learning.

AIA jurors praised the project’s efficient organization to create vibrant outdoor learning spaces for each academic house. They noted that this strategic design clearly and successfully integrates the exterior courtyards with the classrooms at both levels. The jury loved how the “main street” area was filled with natural light and created strong visuals and dynamic space for community and students alike.

Presented each year, the AIA Columbia Design Awards recognize the very best of architecture in the region, with the aim of honoring design excellence in the profession and increasing public awareness of architectural practice.

“We’re honored to receive this award on behalf of the design team and our client, School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties,” says Q+ President Doug Quackenbush, AIA LEED, AP. “The award reflects our shared vision to provide innovative teaching environments for the children served. We are proud to be associated with this effort!”

Quackenbush Architects + Planners is a full-service architecture and planning firm located in Columbia, SC. The firm specializes in institutional, civic, educational, and commercial projects. Its services span from building design to land planning to interior design. The firm’s portfolio includes projects for universities, cities, colleges, government agencies, school districts, and private clients. The team’s work reflects a commitment to innovation, sensitivity to our regional context, and the richness that comes from collaboration with our clients and the community.