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International Schools: Planning for the Future


100 nationalities and 56 languages spoken…sound familiar? Although it sounds a lot like the profile of a student body, these numbers actually refer to our firmwide staff. Hiring Perkins Eastman means hiring an international firm that understands the value in diversity and that solving problems requires many perspectives. We believe global perspectives matter in making informed decisions, that teams that include a variety of perspectives arrive at great solutions, and that cultural differences are to be celebrated. We are proud of our tradition of diversity, which has fostered the individual expression of our employees since our firm was founded. The unique perspective each person brings enhances our firm’s ability to serve you in a meaningful and informed way. There may be several ‘right ways’ to find a solution; finding the ‘right way’ for your specific challenge requires experience, perspective and collaboration.


Connectivity to your region. With over 95 projects in 20 countries outside the US and Canada – approaching over 1 million square meters of construction in China alone – our firm is dedicated to mastering and, in many cases, creating international school design standards. As the world’s tenth largest firm, our 10 global offices including New York, Shanghai, and Dubai, are led by a dynamic group of architects who are committed to delivering every project we undertake. Perkins Eastman today represents the culmination of 25 years of practice on a national and international scale with the knowledge base and global resources to successfully complete projects around the world.


Perkins Eastman’s school practice. Every project undertaken by Perkins Eastman is an opportunity to understand the present and envision the future. We challenge ourselves to create relevant and inspiring learning environments in all of our work. Our passion is to improve school facilities for our International School clients through the incorporation of unique core values, goals and mission. Working closely with your constituents we ensure that the curriculum and program drive solutions.

Concordia International School Shanghai, Elementary School: Exterior view of playing field at rear (left); Views of rear (below left) and front entry (below right). Concordia International School Shanghai, Performing Arts Pavilion: Exterior multi-purpose roof deck (previous page).

Experience in International School facilities. Our Educational Specialists work globally with school administrators and teaching staffs to develop an evolving database of best practice facility solutions. We are involved in every phase of the project process, from the earliest concept planning to the final punch list of the construction. This means that unlike other firms that focus solely on programming and planning, we have the benefit of using what we have learned from designing and building school facilities to inform our front-end services.† Conversely, because we prepare front-end documents with the understanding of what it takes to get projects constructed, we create a plan that is clear, flexible, and cost efficient. This maximizes a facility’s ability to adapt in the future, minimizing the amount of physical modifications over time. There are important distinctions between a successful International School facility and other school facilities. It might be the inclusion of traditional and time-tested solutions or the necessary innovation to integrate state-of-the-art technologies to meet tomorrow’s challenges. The knowledge of how these differences affect design comes only from direct experience. As an International School administrator, you want to know that the team you hire can answer key questions such as, ‘How does National (England), IB (International Baccalaureate) or US AP (Advanced Placement) curriculum impact the planning of an International School?’, or ‘How does the multi-cultural population of a school’s enrollment influence its design?’, ‘How can sustainable design contribute to the education process?’ and ‘How does the geographic location (region or country) of the school inform planning and therefore design?’

‘Front-end services’ refer to the capabilities Perkins Eastman provides in support of the building design process. These services include; Programming, Planning, Master Planning, Site Evaluation, Peer Review Services, Furniture Planning, Signage Design, and Branding.

Crittenden Middle School, Byram Hills: View of exterior courtyard (right); Front exterior view of cafeteria (below). Wampus Elementary School, Byram Hills: Interior View of music suite (opposite).

The new model: not your father’s school. The facility design of an International School presents a number of unique opportunities and requires an acknowledgement of forefront issues: cultural context of the country where it’s constructed, special needs of a multi-cultural expatriate population, proper inclusion of host-country students, relationships formed with the local organizations, accessibility, sustainability, security and safety concerns, and high expectations for student performance. What makes an International School special? High expectations for student performance and competition for admission to the world’s top universities have a great influence on a facility’s goals. At the same time, a large local population of students may have different expectations and definitions of success. The International School facility must therefore support the needs of a broad range of educational and social needs.


The design of International Schools is an increasingly complex endeavor. The factory style school-planning model of the ‘50s and ‘60s in western countries continues to exert a strong influence as a “benchmarked” model that parents recognize and want to replicate. This is the perception of a strong “traditional” school environment. Contemporary international schools, however, have moved on to a new model that is based on information, collaboration, technology and problem solving– virtually non-existent drivers in the factory model era. This presents a notable challenge for facility planners as they endeavor to design schools that can prepare students (and parents) for an information age global economy in regions of the world still based in factorymodel economies.

Princeton Day School: View of dance studio (left); View of library lounge (below). Chongqing Library: Above view of interior library and reading room (previous page).

The evolution towards excellence. Today, an exemplary western curriculum-based International School utilizes a new model incorporating information management, advanced instructional technology, self-directed projectbased learning, and team work. The new model calls for re-evaluating the roles of students, teachers, and parental participation in learning. In the new model, students assume many of the functions previously reserved for teachers. Working in small groups or individually, students are becoming more responsible for their own learning. These effects are far reaching in their implications for facilities, creating exciting possibilities for International Schools that evolve daily. A contemporary International School facility should allow for learning experiences that emphasize critical thinking, teamwork, compromise, and communication– skills valued in today’s society and workplace. At the same time, it must present an environment that parents associate with a strong learning environment in the western tradition.

Roger Ludlowe Middle School, Fairfield Schools: View down interior staircase from main library (right); Exterior view of library wing (below); Interior detail shot of stair corridor wall (opposite).

Charting the course: the first steps towards a better school facility. Initiating a process specifically designed to develop a strategy or road map for the future is the first step in long-term facility improvements. Whether you are planning modifications to existing facilities or creating an entirely new campus, the process is the same. It begins with determining the needs of your facilities to reflect current programmatic requirements and those for the next 10 years and beyond. Facility planning is a systematic process, in which we use the data gathered from your existing programs and facilities to form the foundations of a plan. Our process is designed specifically to meet the needs of International Schools and to maximize the time spent on site at your school. It starts by forming a Steering Committee led by the school’s most senior leadership.


Constituents involved include representatives of the School Board (or governing body), Headmaster or Director, Senior Administrators, and the Committee members. The entire process is managed and facilitated by ‘The Team’ of expert Planners and the Educational Programming, Planning and Architectural Consultant. The participation of key people provides valuable insight and helps further the future success of the facility through greater ownership of their ‘idea.’ A vision statement which includes your educational philosophy, objectives, and mission, is a major component influencing the process. Our team is experienced in clearly understanding the curricular, social and administrative goals of each client.

Nations Academy, Global Design Manual: Rendered view (left) and diagrammatic view (below) of Middle and Upper School Learning Blocks.

Every plan should be tailored to a school’s specific requirements. However, when undertaking the planning process, the following seven-step format is an effective beginning to chart your direction. Step one: formation of the steering committee. Sometimes known as the Project Control Group, this group is comprised of a broad cross-section of school administrators and staff and may include some non-school members who are active in the school community. This group is responsible for facilitating the development and implementation of the facility plan. They report directly to the Board or Headmaster and are the governing body of the planning process Step two: data collection. Primarily conducted by our team of specialists, this includes compiling all existing drawings and reviewing existing conditions (or proposed site), enrollment projections, previous studies, academic programs, and other information that defines the school in order to create a profile of the existing context as a point of departure. Steps three & four: workshops numbers one and two (futures conference). The Project Control Group gathers for a half-day workshop to focus on verification of our point of beginning, and to explore the influences that will affect school programs and facilities in the future. During the same site visit, workshop number two will focus on identifying the school’s educational priorities, including program delivery, grade configuration, technology, organizational structures, optimum school size, community use, and strategies for integrating sustainability. Step five: develop facility options. The team summarizes the workshops and begins to create a draft of the facilities plan or master plan document. In most cases, there is enough information gathered at these first two workshops to begin the generation of options. Step six: workshop number three, preferred options. The next on-site visit by the team is to conduct workshop number three in which the Project Control Group, through individual and small group activities, gathers to build consensus on a preferred option(s). Step seven: create the draft facility plan. The team creates the first draft of a Facilities Plan or Master Plan to formalize the recommendations, which is then forwarded to the school for their review. After receiving final comments, the next steps are determined and the final report is prepared.

United Nations International School (UNIS): Rendered view of interior corridor (right). Nations Academy New York: Rendered View of interior atrium and exterior courtyard (below). Princeton Day School: Interior view of atrium commons (opposite page).





Perkins authors Building Type Basics for Elementary and Secondary Schools (Wiley, 2001).


Time-Saver Standards for Building Types (McGraw-Hill, 2000) Rev. Ed., Education Chapter, by Bordwell is published. Vitale contributes.


Liz Lee3, LEED® AP, Research Specialist. Liz brings a career of over 8 years in strategy, research, marketing, communications, and business development in the Architecture field. Currently, Liz contributes her specialization to the K-12 market sector in programming, design and construction of private and public schools. Recent experience includes Nations Academy Global Design Manual and Seaport International School. Her previous experience includes work with Richard Meier Architects, Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum (HOK), and Toshiko Mori Architect. She is a LEED® Accredited Professional and holds a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Architecture from Barnard College.

Perkins receives the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York Society of Architects.



L. Bradford Perkins2, FAIA, Executive Director. Mr. Perkins is the Founder and a Senior Partner of Perkins Eastman. He has served as Principal-in-Charge on hundreds of projects over his 36-year design career. With work in over 20 countries, Mr. Perkins is regularly recognized for design excellence within the field of education. A leader and lecturer, he has authored four text books and over 50 articles, and served on the faculty of City College and University of Hawaii Architecture Schools. Making a personal commitment to a 100-year family history of involvement in China beginning with his grandfather, Dwight Heald Perkins I, Mr. Perkins oversaw the completion of several recently completed projects including the Chongqing Library and the John Hopkins/Nanjing University, Center for Chinese and American studies.

Bordwell co-authors Planning and Designing Schools (McGraw-Hill, 1998).

Bordwell joins the Office of Executive Education in collaboration with the Graduate School of Design at Harvard. Bordwell starts and instructs a professional development class for 12 years. Bordwell and Vitale begin design on the International School of Beijing, the largest new International School in China.

Ray Bordwell1, AIA, LEED® AP, Lead Programmer and Principalin-Charge. Mr. Bordwell, a Principal with Perkins Eastman, leads the firm’s K-12 practice specializing in all aspects of the programming, planning and design of contemporary schools. A writer, lecturer, and workshop leader, Mr. Bordwell has devoted his career to ‘partnering’ with clients in articulating creative and economical solutions for a variety of educational facilities for public, private, and international schools. He serves as a consultant on international school programming and planning across Asia and South America and has been involved in the planning and design of hundreds of projects with a construction value totaling well over $3 Billion in 20 states and 7 countries. Mr. Bordwell is not only a member of, but also speaks regularly at conferences for several school organizations including the Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI), East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools (EARCOS), and the Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE). Mr. Bordwell led the programming and planning for facility projects at Nagoya International School in Japan, International School Beijing, Concordia International School Shanghai, Brent International School in the Philippines, and International School Yangon, Myanmar (Burma). He is currently the Principal-in-Charge overseeing a K-12 global school system prototype to be opened in 60 major international cities for Nations Academy.








Aaron Schwarz 6, FAIA, Principal and Director. As one of the five Directors and a Principal at Perkins Eastman, Mr. Schwarz offers the benefit of his 22 years of experience as a design leader for one of the largest architectural firms in the United States. He contributes his extensive design expertise in educational buildings. He currently serves as firmwide design director for projects including K-12, higher education, and mixed-use. His portfolio includes numerous complex master planning and programming projects, such as Nations Academy New York and Washington DC, United Nations International School Facility Master Plan, and John Hopkins/Nanjing University, Center for Chinese and American studies. Ron Vitale7, AIA, Principal and Managing Director. Mr. Vitale is Principal and Managing Director of Perkins Eastman’s Shanghai office providing day-to-day contact for clients overseas. Based full-time in Shanghai, his position also provides a critical link between our China and US based team. Mr. Vitale is a licensed US architect with over 20 years of experience in the design and planning of educational projects. Prior to joining Perkins Eastman, he was the China Regional Director for Perkins & Will since 1998 and successfully led design teams on over 1,000,000 sm of built work in China including: International School of Beijing-Shunyi, the Concordia International School Shanghai (Phase 1, 2 & now 4) Dulwich College Shanghai (Phase 2); and QingDao International School.

Perkins Eastman’s firmwide staff count breaks 800. Perkins Eastman’s 25 Years of International Practice is celebrated with the publication of International Practice for Architects (Wiley, 2008) written by Perkins.

Perkins co-authors Interior Graphic Standards (Wiley, 2003) with contributing graphics by Bordwell. Vitale becomes Managing Director of the newly opened office in Shanghai, China.

Christine Schlendorf 5, Project Manager. Ms. Schlendorf is a Senior Associate of the firm and a core member and overall manager of the educational studio in Perkins Eastman New York. Since starting at the firm over ten years ago, Ms. Schlendorf has managed some of the largest and most complex education projects within the office. Recent relevant experience includes the three-school phased Fairfield School projects, a campus master plan and implementation of Miss Hall’s School, Nations Academy New York and Washington, DC, as well as Mott Haven Campus, the largest public school construction project in New York City.


Perkins Eastman acquires firms fueling expansion into the Middle East and Russia. Building Type Basics for Elementary and Secondary Schools is translated into Chinese and printed.

Mark McCarthy 4, AIA, Senior Designer. Mr. McCarthy is a Principal at Perkins Eastman and serves as a Senior Designer for the firm’s prominent education and institutional projects. With an extensive design background and portfolio developed over a career of over 15 years, Mr. McCarthy has worked to implement the most thought-provoking architecture for learning and education throughout the world. Mr. McCarthy’s design scope extends from master planning to architectural design, to working with specialty consultants on complex building programs. His education experience includes the design oversight of the 60-school global school network for Nations Academy, the Seaport International School of Boston, the new Chongqing Public Library and the John Hopkins/Nanjing University, Center for Chinese and American studies.


Bordwell authors the Education Chapter of Urban Design Standards (Wiley, 2006), first edition. Perkins Eastman opens their tenth office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.





Selected project index, pictured.

Concordia International School Shanghai (CISS): Shanghai, China Perkins Eastman was hired by CISS for master planning, programming and design services for proposed additions of a new 6,000 sm (64,600 sf) Elementary School building as well as a 2,250 sm (24,000 sf) Performing Arts Pavilion. Perkins Eastman is currently implementing Phase IV – the High School Addition. Completion: 2007 Client: Concordia International School, Louise Weber, Head of School

Byram Hills Central School District: Armonk, New York The district boasts four schools: Coman Hill, Wampus, Crittenden, and the High School. Work for the district began with the development of several master planning options which were presented and approved through the passage of a $36M bond referendum. Perkins Eastman developed an updated master plan where over 30,480 sm (100,000 sf) of additions or renovations were implemented through a capital improvement program. Completion: 2007 Client: Byram Hills Central School District, John Chambers, Superintendent

Princeton Day School: Princeton, New Jersey Princeton Day School is a coeducational Pre K-12 day school serving approximately 900 students, located on a beautiful 103-acre campus on the outskirts of Princeton. As part of the scope of work, Perkins Eastman designed over 24,385 sm (80,000 sf) of additions and renovation including a new upper school arts facility and an expansion of the performing arts space, library, and campus center. Completion: 2007 Client: Princeton Day School, Cindy Stadulis, Business Manager

Fairfield Schools: Fairfield, Connecticut After winning a competition for a combined middle and high school campus, Perkins Eastman designed a new middle school for 875 students and converted the existing middle school into a 1,400-student high school. Additional work includes the renovation of another 1,400-student high school across town in order to minimize any disparities in the quality of facilities offered at each high school. In total, Perkins Eastman successfully designed 252,070 sm (827,000 sf) of new or renovated space within all three school buildings. Completed: 2006 Client: Town of Fairfield, Twig Holland, Director of Purchasing

United Nations International School (UNIS): New York, New York Perkins Eastman’s co-authored the UNIS’ 2004 facilities master plan along in collaboration with the UNIS Board of Trustees, Buildings and Grounds Committee, UNIS staff, and a team of consultants. The master plan outlines the Phase I implementation project as well as long-term institutional goals for the UNIS campuses. The study involved a thorough review of the physical conditions at both campuses in order to support the short- and long-term strategies for capital improvements and to help UNIS meet the objectives stated in its Strategic Plan. Completed: 2005 Client: United Nations International School, Stephen Roche, Director of Business Operations

Nations Academy: Multiple Cities Nations Academy is a firm that manages private schools in the Middle East, United Kingdom and India. Two school organizations – Edison Schools and GEMS – have come together to implement their common vision for the world’s first truly global school. This network of schools will be realized by 2017 with more than 60 campuses in the world’s leading cities. As Executive Architect, Perkins Eastman developed detailed programming and design guidelines and design standards as part of a comprehensive Global Design Manual that informs every aspect of each campus’ built environment. As Design Architect, Perkins Eastman is designing the first few schools in New York and Washington, DC. Completed: Ongoing Client: Nations Academy, Chris Whittle, Founder and CEO

Selected project index, not pictured.

New Songdo City International School: Songdo, South Korea As the Owner’s Technical Representative, Perkins Eastman is leading the Programming, Planning, Classroom Infrastructure Planning, Furniture, Finishes & Equipment (FF&E), Signage/Wayfinding, and Branding efforts for this Pre K-12 grade school designed by KPF Architects. Scope of work also includes consultation for the Owner on decisionmaking with construction-related issues. The school for 2,100 students is comprised of two freestanding low-rise classroom buildings and is part of a planned international business center located 40 miles south of Seoul. Completed: 2009 Client: New Songdo City International School, Ron Montgomery, Interim Headmaster

Prior to 2004, Mr. Bordwell and Mr. Vitale spent 10 years planning and designing International Schools with a large US based Planning and Design firm. During that time, individually or together, they personally led the programming, planning and design of numerous International School projects totaling over 350,000 square meters including: Qingdao International School, China Master plan, facility design guideline and design for a new 600 student K-12 campus Client: Qingdao International School, Jeffrey D. Fischmann, Director International School of Beijing, China Capacity and utilization study for an existing K-12 campus Master plan, facility design guideline and design for a US $43 million new K-12 campus. Client: International School of Beijing, Paul Dulac, Former Headmaster Nagoya International School, Japan Master plan and facility design guidelines for existing 350 student K-12 campus Client: Nagoya International School, Charlie S. Barton, Former Headmaster Suzhou Industrial Park International School, China Master plan, facility design guideline and design services for a campus that includes a K-9 Chinese public school, 10-12 joint venture high school, Chinese language high school, IB high school, K-9 private British curriculum International School, housing, athletic and student center facilities. Client: Suzhou Industrial Park International School, Fraser White, Advisor (Founder of GEICC – Global Education Information Consulting Company) Shanghai American School, China Master plan, facility design guidelines, redesign planning services for the existing elementary school building, and design planning for the Guidance and Student Center Addition to the High School Building on Puxi Campus. Client: Shanghai American School, Himmat Sandhu, Business Manager St. Mary’s International School, China Master plan and facility design guideline for a new 1,200 student K-12 campus. Client: St. Mary’s International School, Michael DiMuzio, Elementary Assistant Principal Brent International School, Manila, Philippines Master plan and facility design guideline through schematic design phase for a $30 million new 1,100 student K-12 campus. Client: Brent International School, Dick Robbins, Headmaster Escola Americana do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Master plan and facility design guideline for a $45 million Pre K-12, 1,500 student international school. Client: Escola Americana do Rio de Janeiro, Robert Wilson, Board Chair International School Yangoon, Myanmar Master plan and facility design guideline for a $20 million new 1,000 student K-12 campus. Client: International School Yangoon, Monica Greely, Headmaster International School Manilla, the Philippines Master plan and facility design guideline through schematic design phase for a $60 million new 2,600 student K-12 Campus. Client: International School Manila, Brian McCauley, Headmaster

With over 3,000 International Schools world wide, new construction will continue as unprecedented growth in enrollments drives the need for new facilities. Perkins Eastman is positioned to assist you in making informed facility decisions with a team committed to understanding the vision that educators and administrators have for future needs. The better the needs of the end-users are understood, the better the solutions will be. We would appreciate the opportunity to discuss your needs personally.

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