FGM Architects (FGMA) is pleased to announce that Design Principal Rebecca Richter, AIA, ALEP, LEED AP, RID will serve as the 2021-2022 President of the A4LE (Association for Learning Environments), Central Texas Chapter.
Ms. Richter joined FGMA in January 2020 and leads the firm’s PK-12 school design team in its Austin office. She is currently involved in the design and construction of St. Austin Catholic School which will serve Grades PK-8 students. Scheduled for completion in 2023, the five-story urban school is across the street from the University of Texas-Austin’s main campus. The new school includes collaborative learning areas throughout and rooftop amenities such as gardens, play areas, and a basketball court. It will be connected to the St. Austin Catholic Parish, sharing the site with the Parish Rectory, a new 29-story University student residential tower and a parking structure.
Prior to joining FGMA, Ms. Richter was a Senior Architect at O’Connell Robertson where she immersed herself in the design of Austin ISD’s new Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. The creative engagement of Ann Richards SYWL staff, students and community members resulted in a school built around their culture and programs. The Ann Richards SYWL is currently ranked #12 among Texas high schools and in the top 100 schools nationwide.
Throughout her 30-year career, Ms. Richter has focused primarily on educational design. She is committed to creating spaces that support the ways students learn and finding balance between the intended use of a space, its larger cultural context, and the natural environment in which the facility resides. Two key concepts inform her approach: design thinking, a human-centered, iterative process which prioritizes the needs of end users and pattern language which encompasses the myriad components of a design process.
In the context of innovative school design, these approaches result in flexible spaces that support active learning and are adaptable for different sizes of groups; bright, open spaces for collaborative and experiential learning as well as outdoor learning spaces. She notes that,
“I’m passionate about innovative learning environments and the rich conversations it brings to the table. I also love building communities in schools and connecting the dots of relationships within those spaces.”
A4LE (Association for Learning Environments) is an international organization, founded in 1921, whose sole mission is improving the places where children learn. Ms. Richter has been an active member of the A4LE Central Texas Chapter for over 15 years and was first elected to its Board in 2012. She served as the Program Coordinator from 2017-2019, and as President-elect in 2019-2020. With 250+ members, the Central Texas Chapter is one of six Chapters that exist under the umbrella of A4LE’s Southern Region which encompasses Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.
The A4LE Central Texas Chapter will hold its annual conference virtually on November 4, 2021. The theme is “Designing Through Their Lens” and will feature a presentation and workshop by Tamie Glass and Dr. Julie Schell from the University of Texas-Austin on Design Thinking. It will also feature an Educator/Student panel and a Superintendents panel.
About FGM Architects FGMA specializes in projects that enhance the environments where people live, learn, work, play and gather to worship. FGMA is an employee-owned firm with offices in Austin, TX; Oak Brook, Chicago and O’Fallon, IL; St. Louis, MO; and Milwaukee, WI. Its public sector practice areas include PK-12 schools and higher education; municipal and public safety facilities, including police, fire, and emergency operations; recreation centers including golf and tennis clubs; faith-based facilities and a burgeoning portfolio of federal projects. From early strategic facilities planning through building and interior design, FGM Architects’ team of 135+ professionals support client needs with a total commitment to service.
Founded in 1945, FGMA celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2020. Recently, Building, Design +Construction named FGMA #69 among the “2020 Top 150 Architectures Firms” nationwide.