Next Project

Schools of the 21st Century
Portland, OR , Beginning 2009

Basic Initiative has teamed with Portland Public School District to develop visions for the future of learning environments and strategies for realizing them.

To this end, PSU students proposed and built an outdoor laboratory for the Sunnyside K-8 Environmental School last Spring. Now, the team is working to fund and construct the studio's scheme for an outdoor classroom, a semi-finalist in the international Architecture for Humanity Classroom Competition. Deemed a priority by PPS, grants are also being sought to fund a new generation of experimental classrooms and outdoor study and play areas to be shared by multiple schools.

Further expanding the scope of the initiative, we are commencing visioning projects which will help PPS to engage the Portland community in the design of new green schools- complete facilities which better address modern teaching practices. This begins with investigation of three schools currently slatted by the school district for overhaul, led by an advanced studio and supported with empirical research via the Green Lab at PSU. Such data is currently limited and its collection will aid the school district in building an argument for funding, especially funds recently made more accessible by President Obama’s administration.

A larger district-wide study of environmental conditions and potential outcomes will follow, with support by local AIA, Architects Without Borders, and Engineers Without Borders. A call to arms to promote public awareness could potentially take form in a city-wide competition pairing architects with the 50 schools and communities deemed in most extreme need, the end goal being strengthened community partnerships and a vision of "what we are fighting for."

For more information or to get involved, write to .