Edward Kirkbride Award – CRA Receives Top Honor at A4LE Conference

Solomon Solis Cohen Elementary – 2022
State College Area High School – 2020

Crabtree Rohrbaugh & Associates – Architects is honored to announce Solomon Solis-Cohen Elementary School, located in Philadelphia, PA and State College Area High School, State College, PA were recognized with the top honor at the annual Association for Learning Environments’ (A4LE) Northeast Conference – the Edward Kirkbride. The conference, which took place in Washington D.C. this year represented architects and projects throughout the Northeast Region.

Arif Hasanbhai, Associate AIA (CRA), Jeffrey Straub, AIA, ALEP, CPD, LEED Fellow (CRA), Mary Lee, M. Ed., ALEP, Educational Planner (School District of Philadelphia)


According to A4LE, the winner of The Kirkbride Award exceeds in how the project’s design responds to the function and identity of the community, how the learning environment supports a variety of learning styles and delivery methods, how the physical environment demonstrates appropriate use of materials, systems, and elements, and how the planning process ensures the final environment aligns with the vision and goals set during the planning phase.

Classroom, Solomon Solis-Cohen ES


“We are especially honored by these awards,” explains Jeff Straub, AIA, LEED Fellow, Principal with CRA Architects. “Our educational planning and design firm was founded on a “Client-Oriented” approach to architecture. To receive these awards, which are focused on the process of working with a community to bring their vision for education to reality, reaffirms our founding principle; that our team works to bring every school to a forward thinking, student centered and sustainable facility.”

Cafeteria, Solomon Solis-Cohen ES


Solomon Solis-Cohen Elementary School was awarded the 2022 Kirkbride Award.  The school is a 1,400 student multilingual elementary school in Northeast Philadelphia that is divided into six distinct “Grade Houses” in order to create a residential scale of learning for students at kindergarten through fifth grade.  The design merges classrooms with flexible open learning, small group instruction and support spaces.  Creating varied scales of spaces helps to personalize education opportunities for young learners. Solomon Solis-Cohen is also a U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED Platinum pending school for sustainability that reduces energy use by more than 46%. The team at CRA has worked with the School District of Philadelphia on several projects through the District.

State College Area High School


State College Area High School was awarded the 2020 Kirkbride Award (award presented at the 2022 A4LE annual conference due to COVID). “State High” is a 2,700 student school, housed in two buildings, was an eight year journey from initial planning to dedication in the fall of 2019. The planning included a two year process to engage the community that resulted in a 74% referendum support for the school, and as important, it brought the community together in discussions of education. State High, one of the largest high schools in Pennsylvania, houses three facilities; an academy based high school, comprehensive technical school and sixth through twelfth grade magnet school. State High is a USGBC LEED Gold Facility saving over $390,000 annually in energy, merging progressive educational design with sustainability. CRA’s design team has also worked with State College Area School District on three elementary school projects.

Large Group Instructional Space, State College Area HS


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