New Early Learning Center receives Outstanding Project Award and National Recognition

DLA Architects has received an OUTSTANDING PROJECT Award in LEARNING BY DESIGN Magazine’s fall 2021 Architectural and Interior Design Awards of Excellence. The New Early Learning Center (Des Plaines, IL) has been award recognized as a benchmark facility for its incorporation of next generation learning space design and planning. The built environment characteristics found in this project are worthy of replication by other educators and design professionals creating learning environments.

All awarded facilities in the Fall 2021 edition of LEARNING BY DESIGN have been peer-reviewed and juried.

Projects such as the New Early Learning Center met or exceeded in meeting the six judging criteria of:

  1. Innovation,
  2. Community Needs,
  3. Interior Design,
  4. Sustainability,
  5. Functional Design, and
  6. Next Generation Learning.

The jury looks for in each project unique qualities or new concepts that where successfully implemented to improve pedagogy, community wellbeing, and social equity through the design of facilities and its campus. LEARNING BY DESIGN’s distinguished fall 2021 jury of six education architectural design experts applauded DLA Architects, Ltd. {Itasca, IL) for its accomplishment in designing the New Early Learning Center

LEARNING BY DESIGN, published in the Spring, Summer, and Fall each year circulates to more than 50,000 leaders at all levels of education-from early childhood and elementary schools, middle and high schools, career-vocational Education centers, and two and four-year institutions of higher education throughout the United States. To access the magazine’s digital edition, visit:

New Early Learning Center -

Young children are exposed to STEM concepts in the “Tinker Lab.” In this large, flexible space kids explore problems and work to solve them.
Learning By Design Jury
“This is a great early learning center– one that speaks to children. The design expresses the mission and the pedagogical approach beautifully. Having a child-centered design is often talked about, and in this case, it seems the design team was successful in creating spaces that resonate with children. The focus on sustainability with geothermal heating and native planting is commendable.”