12 of the most beautiful schools around the US

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Rogers Partners

Schools aren’t just places where students cram facts into their brains. At their best, they are awe-inspiring places that people love to spend time in.

Around the US, beautiful schools from Seattle, Washington to Birmingham, Alabama create vibrant spaces for molding young minds.

Here are some of the most eye-catching schools the country has to offer.


In Birmingham, Alabama, the Indian Springs school allows kids to study both inside and outside. In 2016, the American Institute of Architects awarded it an Education Facilities Design Award, in part for its plant-lined elevated walkways.

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Lake Flato Architects

Architects: Lake Flato Architects


The 350-acre boarding and day school blends in with nature to create a calming learning environment with plenty of light.

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Lake Flato Architects

Henderson Hopkins School, an elementary school in Baltimore, Maryland, mimics the look of East Baltimore’s brick row houses.

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Rogers Partners

Architects: Rogers Partners


Its interior features high slatted ceilings and a flowing design that has a modern, industrial feel while also catering to students looking to study.

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Rogers Partners

Sandy Hook Elementary, rebuilt in 2016, uses clever design elements to hide the high level of security that pervades the campus.

Architects: Svigals + Partners


In addition to multiple security checkpoints and hidden cameras, there are floor-to-ceiling windows, colorful metal blinds, and 20-foot-high aluminum trees.


Some of the US’s most beautiful schools, perhaps unsurprisingly, are boarding schools with sizable endowments. Emma Willard School, in Troy, New York, evokes a medieval feel.

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Facebook/Emma Willard School

The school was founded in 1821 and has an all-female student body.

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Facebook/emmawillardschool

Similarly, Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire could easily pass for a university. It was recently voted the most elite boarding school in the US.

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Melia Robinson/BI

Source: Business Insider


With its dark brick and white accents, it has an undeniable New England style. Many of today’s most successful people once walked through its leafy outdoor pathways.

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Phillips Exeter Academy/Facebook

Vashon Island High School in Vashon, Washington features a red, low-slung roof and could easily live in a desert climate based just on looks.

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AIA

Architects: Integrus Architecture


Inside it has a clean wood finish and makes consistent use of straight lines.

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AIA

E3 Civic High, in San Diego, California, uses creative design to fit into its home: the San Diego Central Library.

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LPA

Architects: LPA Inc.


The school takes up the sixth and seventh floors and features movable walls, modular furniture, and a plaza for assemblies and meals. It’s also LEED Gold-certified.

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LPA

Wilkes Elementary School blends a hard, concrete design with soft landscaping to create a unique hybrid exterior.

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Jeremy Bittermann

Architects: Mahlum


Contrast that with its playful, colorful interior where kids roam on green floors and plop down in beanbag chairs.

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Benjamin Benschneider

Seattle’s Nathan Hale High School takes a similar approach, for which the American Institute of Architects recognized it as one of the best new constructions in 2014.

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Benjamin Benschneider

Architects: Mahlum


Sleek glass facades and high ceilings give the school a fresh, minimalist feel.

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Benjamin Benschneider

In 2015, the AIA awarded Nueva School’s Bay Meadows campus in San Mateo, California the Shirley Cooper Award for its breezy, open layout.

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Tim Griffith/Kyle Jeffers

Architects: Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects


Students can walk between classes while passing by random pops of color. Despite living in an urban commuter area, the school has a tight-knit, suburban feel.

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Tim Griffith/Kyle Jeffers

Sandy High School, in Sandy, Oregon, won the 2013 AIA Educational Facility Design Excellence Award.

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Josh Partee

Architects: IBI Group Architects


Beneath its stacked, sloping roof are wide and light-filled hallways and a massive gymnasium. The school measures 310,000 square feet in total.

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Josh Partee

Renovated from an old factory from 1914, the Baltimore Design School in Maryland repurposes the vast space as a middle and high school.

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Ziger/Snead

Architects: Ziger/Snead Architects


Mixed with the industrial style of the building’s skeleton, the contemporary design adds shocks of color through furniture and accents.

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Karl Connolly