Building Educational Foundations

Leveraging Research to Grow Design

We believe that research is one of the keys to helping us understand how to create spaces where education and architecture intersect. We hope to build on the momentum that comes from combining design thinking with methodical, validated educational research.  

We’ve teamed with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Education to improve learning environments through research. Through this effort, the team is excited to examine existing research in the field, create and apply methodologies for applied research on teaching and learning environments, and work with schools to improve the design of learning spaces.

Doctoral students and faculty from the College of Education are working alongside educational design leaders at BVH to:

  • Study past research & methodologies

  • Examine existing school design projects

  • Assist the design process of new learning space projects

  • Assist teachers to translate their educational approach into the architecture

Initiative Leaders

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Donger Liu 

Donger grew up in Nanning, Guangxi, a city in southern China. She is currently a first-year PhD student specializing in Early Childhood Education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Donger has been studying Early Childhood Education since her undergraduate, and after receiving my Masters from the University of Sheffield in England, she went back home and started working in a pre-school program developed from the Forest School approach. As the leader in curriculum development, Donger’s major goal is to make sure our children were able to learn and develop through play in various natural settings.

Emily Fisher

Emily is a Ph.D student and Graduate Teaching Assistant in the department of Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. She is originally from Manhattan, KS. Emily’s major interest is in literacy development ranging from emergence to adolescence.  Her interest stem from twelve years teaching upper elementary and middle school language arts in Kansas and Nebraska.  While she is interested in literacy broadly, she is particularly interested in how writing and discussion can amplify student voices, as well as critically examining writing pedagogy, practice, and assessment.

BVH Architecture

Cleveland Reeves

Cleve has considerable experience in all phases of design from programing and master planning through construction. His skills in formulating client
centered concepts and ideas help bring teams together in a collaborative process. Cleve leads BVH’s future-focused learning space design initia-
tives, shaping BVH’s practice and projects to deeper levels of achievement. With his calm inquisitive approach, project challenges are ushered through the inherently complex layers to successful resolution.

Darin Hanigan

As project designer, Darin is involved in all aspects of school design from pre-bond work, masterplanning, schematic design, all the way through completion of construction, and his communication skills and ability to work with large diverse groups of people make him a valuable member of the team. He is also involved in post-occupancy studies which help to evaluate building performance, teacher satisfaction, space utilization, as well as learning outcomes for students. Darin is a key member of BVH’s Education Forum thought leadership group, which aims to push forward thinking within the K-12 market.



BVH limits administrative overhead costs on research efforts to 7.5%.