Hollis + Miller receives AIA KC Design Excellence award for innovative outdoor learning space designed by emerging professionals
Posted on November 29, 2021
By Hollis + Miller Architects

Hollis + Miller Architects is proud to announce the Liberty Public Schools Learnscape — an innovative outdoor learning environment— as a recipient of the 2021 AIA KC Design Excellence Awards.

Learnscape, an annual philanthropic initiative led by the firm’s Emerging Professionals, is a 1,200-square-foot outdoor learning environment located between South Valley and Discovery middle schools in the Liberty School District. A flexible extension to the traditional classroom, the outdoor space inspires active communities, promotes teamwork and problem solving, and empowers student independence.

“The opportunity to co-lead a project from start to finish for a real-world client is a priceless experience,” said emergingprofessional Kelsie DeWitt. “Designing Learnscape was such a rewarding process being able to see the large-scale impact for not just one, but two schools.”

Designed to be a platform for active learning, the new environment serves as a connection point between the two middle schools, instilling a sense of community as students come together to learn, play and socialize. The flexible areas encourage a variety of lessons not limited to the typical academic curriculum, but also touching on physical movement and accommodating multiple instructional styles. Quick, equitable access to both buildings considered the need for future additions as well as the necessary element of ensuring student safety while outside the walls of the school building.

“We believe in utilizing the strengths and expertise of all design team members – including our emerging professionals– to impact design,” said Senior Partner Scott Barton. “Learning happens everywhere, and we believe in designing the future of education beyond the traditional classroom. Learnscape is a testament to the power of our co-creation process, and it’s an honor to be selected.”

Thoughtful design decisions led to carefully selected features, including a makerspace with pivoting tables, a tiered learning stair and built-in gathering spots, a grid wall for active learning. The emerging professionals put an emphasis on universal design for the new space, resulting in opportunities for all students, including those with physical disabilities.

The firm also received recognition as an AIA Central States EP Friendly Firm for yet another year, and Learnscape is a large part of that. The award celebrates architecture firms with nurturing environments and professional development opportunities for emerging professionals.

Hollis + Miller Architects, headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, with an office in Castle Rock, Colorado, is one of the top learning environment specialists in the country providing comprehensive services for their clients, including interior design, graphic design, furniture integration and structural engineering, as well as community engagement and capital planning.

About Hollis + Miller

Founded in 1950, Hollis + Miller is an integrated architecture firm designing the future of learning environments, including publicprivate, K-12 and higher education. Learn more at hollisandmiller.com.

Hollis + Miller receives AIA KC Design Excellence award for innovative outdoor learning space designed by emerging professionals