Designing spaces ready for the future of learning

Educators join architects and national design leaders to explore the anatomy of modern learning spaces

100+ educators joined Remake Learning for the 2-day Space Design Summit to find inspiration and guidance for creating inviting and engaging spaces for students, open for learning.

The room was bubbling with inspiration and fresh air as the event kicked off as intentional as its mission: showcasing successful examples of space design in the 21st century. The event was held at the Phipps Conservatory and featured keynote speakers from Reimagine America’s Schools.

Smart convos, beautiful space

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

The summit took place in this Cuba themed conference room inside the Phipps Conservatory

“We had speakers from the National Design Alliance here with us from all over the country. Architects that are giving their time to be here with us and provide some really expert level advice on how to redesign space from an architecture perspective.” – Sunanna Chand, director of Remake Learning.


Remake Learning’s video recap from the summit:

Very engaged 

Attendees of the summit shared a sense of motivation and gratitude to be present in the room: tickets to attend were sold out. Questions were posed by the speakers in the spirit of inspiring goals and actions.

“On the topic that we often don’t deal with as well, that’s [the] creation of workspace – the design of the environment that we’re learning in – this group gets it. Gets it really well. And they’re rolling up their sleeves and working hard” observes Ron Bogle, president of the National Design Alliance

Ron during his interview with Willy James of Remake Learning

Space design is not something always taken into consideration when it comes to education:

“In the youth development field, we’re always focused on the magic that happens between the developer and a young person: what those relationships look like and what they’re doing to work with our young people. The space is usually an afterthought, right? So, to learn that the space is a tool that we can use to help develop our young people and incorporate learning into what we’re doing, it’s amazing when you realize the things that can happen with the space,” explains Juan Perez, Vice President of the Boys & Girls Club of Western PA.

One thing is for sure: the conversation surrounding learning spaces isn’t going away. As teaching and learning approaches keep developing and technology keeps expanding the channels of communication, educators are continuing to push for more ways to not only retain student attention, but also optimize the way their students learn.

Beginning with the end result in mind   

If we want the best performance, we have to deconstruct the various elements that go into creating an effective learning experience. What would an effective learning space for, let’s say computer science, look like? Are you more likely to perform better in a subject like math, long term in an open space especially designed with learning in mind compared to a dimly lit room with few windows? These professionals, who all believe environments contribute to behavior, would likely lean towards “yes”.

“What’s important about the design of education space is that it really needs to be created to support the programs that are being offered. And so many times, we are designing buildings, designing schools that are more likely designed in 1950 instead of pushing forward. Thinking about the future. And what I’m really inspired about with this group is that they get that.” says Ron Bogle

“I was shocked by all the studies showing that mobility and movement informs proper learning. But I was also impressed by the space we’re also learning. Like, Phipps Conservatory is the learning institution [for us today] and it’s as nontraditional as you can get” shares Joshmin Ray of Pittsburgh Urban Christian School.

The Remake Learning Space Design Summit showcased “successful and stunning space remakes and walk away with strategies to make your own learning space more inviting and engaging for students.” And it would seem the event has been effective in this endeavor.

Have an interest in space design and just need money to pull off remaking a learning space? Head on over to for info on how to apply to our Blueprint for Learning grants. We’re providing 16 grants of up to $50,000 to help schools, out-of-school time organizations, early childhood facilities, museums, libraries, and higher education institutions reimagine, redesign, and remake their learning spaces.

Download materials from the summit

Published July 22, 2019

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