Designing a learning space about learning spaces


The Center for Architecture celebrates and promotes design in New York City and around the world. In 2012, the center, home of the American Institute of Architects’ New York Chapter (AIANY), hosted The Edgeless School: Design for Learning. The exhibition started a conversation about the impact of the built environment on education, and the extension of learning beyond traditional school buildings. The Center and celebrated curator Thomas Mellins turned to Hyperakt to brand the exhibition and its materials.


Hyperakt’s solution brought life to the idea of learning in an age of digital edgelessness. In our environmental design and in print material, we allowed typography to spill over edges and around corners. In collaboration with architects Sage & Coombe, we designed spaces that shifted boundaries, and challenged visitors to think differently about educational spaces.


Our design was a winner of the SEGD Global Design Awards in 2013, and the AIA New York Chapter Honor Award in 2014. The exhibit was viewed by almost 1500 people, and reached over 4.5 million through subway ads and outreach materials.

Disrupting education

We began with a visual language of disruption, using bleeding typography and eye-catching installations like a classroom of desks suspended in midair. We appropriated the instantly-recognizable vernacular of standardized testing bubble sheets for wall paper and direction signs, contrasting them with imagery of more contemporary classroom scenes. Every element of the design helped to facilitate the conversation, taking full advantage of the unique architecture of the space.

Structured stories

The curation team identified over 30 school buildings that used creative design to influence learning. We visualized each with a clear structure for photography, renderings, plans, and text. Each panel of content on the display walls functioned as a concise case study of an innovative education space. Print collateral provided further insight into the exhibit. We created a guide resembling the classic exam essay booklet to prompt discussion among visitors on the role of design in education.