Education team bringing ‘super studio’ to Austin’s Waterloo School

By: Jim Beal
17 October 2018

Jim Beal and Corey Johnson (principals and co-leaders of CTA’s Education studio), along with architect Alex Bingham and interior designer Sandi Rudy, are designing Austin, Texas’s new Waterloo School. The private high school has core values of Belonging, Mentorship, Restoration, Complexity, Flourishing, Growth, and Generosity; and will focus on incorporating the city of Austin as a classroom.

Recently, the team presented a design charrette and used an Oculus immersive VR experience to allow for walking through the space and experiencing how the client’s vision was achieved. The space is designed as a “flexible, super studio” that accommodates a wide variety of learning models. The “21.5-Century” collaborative concept will transition students from childhood spaces to adult spaces and is scheduled to open in fall 2019.

Team members comment on the project:

Sandi Rudy, Interior Designer
“The Waterloo School has been a dream client who is interested in pushing the boundaries of how we approach the education experience and prepare teens to eventually work in the environments we are also designing. Thinking of design and how it can grow with, and foster growth for, individual through their lifetime has been an inspiring experience, and I am excited to see how this idea continues to transform both educational and commercial spaces. This experience highlights the importance of knowledge-sharing across sectors and disciplines.”

Alex Bingham, Architect
“It is easy to have a great project when you have great clients and a great team. The progressive pedagogy of the clients pushed us to rethink traditional models of what a classroom can be. From talking and sketching to making interactive spreadsheets and virtual reality models, tackling this project was accomplished internally through a diverse collaboration of specialties and a multifaceted approach to researching, exploring, and communicating a flexible program.”

Corey Johnson, Education Studio Leader
“My perception of designing effective learning spaces increased exponentially when collaborating with our commercial professional office design specialists. The synergy between the two environments was amazingly intertwined, and the combination helped create the perfect vision for the new Waterloo School. The vision embodies an active, collaborative learning environment that replicates the work and career environments for which these students are preparing themselves.”

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