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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Curran

School Shootings Are Transforming American Classroom Design

Architects Prioritize Safety Measures and Foster Community for Students


The prevalence of high-profile school shootings and the resulting fear are influencing the design of modern American schools. Architects are incorporating safety features, some mandated by state laws, to prevent armed intruders from entering and to facilitate the work of first responders.


See video below from WSJ on how architects are transforming classroom design. Concrete blocks are incorporated into hallways in an effort to keep students and first-responders safe.






Architects face the challenge of creating buildings that appear welcoming yet remain secure. Despite the emphasis on safety, many architects advocate for open interior spaces to cultivate a sense of community. These areas are intended to reduce the isolation that might drive a troubled youth to violence.


“There’s evil in the world and bad things happening, so we have to be able to respond to that,” said Brian Carter, chief executive of the Pacific Northwest firm Integrus. “But we just need perspectives in addition to the first-responder perspectives in designing for school safety.”


It is important to find the right balance. The goal is to avoid creating a prison-like environment and instead design a school where everyone feels welcome to learn.


The Wall Street Journal

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