Education Design

Learning is a life-long commitment. Starting from birth, learning is a constant scaffolding of knowledge, ideas, and questions. The learning process does not silo into neat and tidy grade level designations; it is a continuum. Our growing understanding is always intertwined with what we learned previously, and what we’ll learn in the future. Hence, our Education Design practice spans the full learning continuum to interweave ideas from early childhood through higher education and even into life-long learning.

Our approach is grounded in scientific evidence about learning and closely examines student and teacher needs. We think and directly respond to our Five Key Tenets.

Students thrive when inclusive space cultivates a learning community that unleashes their intellectual potential.

Students thrive when adaptive spaces support learner variability and empower teachers to customize the learning experience.

Students thrive when space design is informed by emerging learning sciences that amplify instructional talent.

Students thrive when learning spaces foster interdisciplinary thinking to engage students in a collaborative culture.

Students thrive when smart design strategies unlock operational efficiency and protect resources for teaching and learning.

Our Initiatives

Image of the Deck of Spaces: K-12 2nd Edition with the cards spread out on a green background and various people's hands showing the interactive nature of the deck.

Deck of Spaces™

Multistudio aims to bridge the world of educators and designers. How can teachers visualize the world of spatial possibilities to support equitable learning experiences for all learners? In 2016, Multistudio began a collaboration with CAST to develop the Deck of Spaces™, an idea deck that helps facilitate conversations and acts as a brainstorming tool. Now in its second edition, the latest K-12 card deck not only illustrates space design strategies to support Universal Design for Learning (UDL), but also foregrounds design strategies to better support equity and inclusion principles. The Higher Education Edition can be used in a variety of formats to assist in campus, departmental and/or spatial strategies and engage with the full gamut of stakeholders. The Deck of Spaces™ methods of use are constantly being expanded by each new user group.

To learn more, visit the Deck of Spaces™ website here.

Image of students gathered around a table working on the design of a STEAM project

STEAM Studio

In 2014, Multistudio established a partnership with Rockhurst University’s Department of Education to form STEAM Studio, a 501 (c)(3) experimental education program. Multistudio donates the lab space within our Kansas City studio location for three to five days a week as an opportunity to learn alongside students and educators exploring creative ways to teach. Our design professionals serve as mentors, provide feedback for student pitches, and use the immersive experiences to better empathize with educators, informing new insights into education design.

To learn more, visit the STEAM Studio website here.

How We Think

Meeting the needs of increasingly diverse communities

How can we better meet the needs of a growing number of communities that are increasingly diverse? Our practice breaks age-old paradigms about the design of learning environments. Each engagement process is uniquely designed to elicit many voices from the community and pin-point the needs and priorities they have for their spaces. Developing and cultivating relationships with a meaningful presence in each community fosters belonging. That process must be inclusive, and always moves at the speed of trust. We leverage our Research Center and expertise in UDL to design this process with the communities we serve.

Image of the MESA Center showing students collaborating

Lowering barriers to entry to higher education

How do we lower the barriers for first generation and underrepresented college students? Multistudio constantly considers new types of spaces and programs to meet the unique needs of every student, especially because so many students are currently left out by contemporary collegiate planning and design paradigms. A key premise in our approach is that importance of understanding factors that truly influence outcomes, which leads to our investment in learning research.

Applying system‑wide thinking for more resilient campuses

We know through our research that the vitality of college and university campuses, K-12 school districts, and even individual school facilities will largely be determined by their fiscal impact on already constrained budgets. Putting this conversation at the heart of the design process provides a pathway toward a sustainable business model that will ultimately allow teaching and learning to remain front and center. In combination with our efforts to reduce energy consumption, carbon emissions, and water use, we believe sustainability is more holistic. Comprehensive sustainability, fundamentally enhances short and long-term operations for our clients.

High performance can be a return on investment

With state and federal funding of our education system in a dire condition, the healthy operations of schools, districts and campuses is under immense financial pressure. Now more than ever, the sustainability of our education system is contingent on strategic planning and management of long-term operations and maintenance. Multistudio not only looks at the environmental impact of our projects, but also addressing the client’s bottom line. Designing high performance facilities is good for clients’ budgets, and it’s good for the health and wellness of the students.

Student wellness drives healthy lifestyles

Clinical research has long provided strong evidence that prolonged exposure to psychological stress can lead to the development of behavioral problems and psychiatric illness, especially depression and anxiety. Placing student physical and mental wellness at the center of design is a first step in creating healthier students and healthier communities. The result is stronger academic performance, improved student retention, and healthy personal growth.

Learn how we helped put mental health at the forefront at KCU Joplin Campus with a resilient and biophilic design.

What We're Researching

Multistudio Research Center

Our Research Center is exploring the future of learning to unlock connections between users and analyze how they play out in a designed space. Led by Multistudio’s Lead Researcher and award-winning master teacher, our Research Center coordinates an international team of collaborators – designers, architects, and scholars – to embed evidence-driven design into every one of our projects.

Mixed Presence / Hybrid Learning

Our research looks to the future of education to see the needs of teaching the next generation. Technological innovations and societal disruptions alike open new opportunities to how we can provide education. Our research looks at many facets including variabilities in how humans learn, teacher engagement and retention, how space influences messaging to various social identity groups, and more.

Active Learning

We study leading instructional approaches to better design learning spaces that enhance teaching outcomes and sustain institutional initiatives. Engaging, effective pedagogies, like those embracing active learning, are at their best in collaborative and flexible environments.

Discover more about how our research is revealing these designs boost enrollment and student success.

Bridge the worlds of work and education

Education environments don’t need to rely on traditional models of classrooms and test scores. Instead, they should encourage productive student/employee behaviors, create self-directed learners, and teach relevant and transferable work skills. Multistudio bridges the gap in the education-work continuum by using research, pedagogy, and space design strategies to help clients prepare today’s students, employees, and employers for the rapidly evolving world of work.

Learn how Missouri Innovation Campus is rethinking traditional models to equip students with better skills, allowing them to graduate faster, and with less debt.

Connecting students and industry one project at a time

Our commitment to connect students to real-world opportunities extends to curriculum development, teaching, professional development, and follow-up research supporting Client Connected Projects and Real-World Learning. This work directly impacts the students and schools we engage and offers additional insight to our work by integrating successful client-connected opportunities within the school environments we design.

Additional Work


  • District Master Planning

  • District Resource Planning

  • Campus Master Planning

  • Existing Facilities Assessment Studies

  • Architecture

  • Interiors

  • Brand Experience

  • Landscape Architecture

  • UDL Consulting

  • Research Consulting

  • Education Adequacy Audits


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