Mraw is a national leader in research-driven school design and the push to develop net zero energy campuses. In her new role, she leads an integrated practice focused on supporting the social and academic experience of every learner.
IRVINE, CALIF. – Jan. 27, 2022 – LPA Design Studios has announced the promotion of Kate Mraw to Director of K-12, where she will lead the development and growth of the firm’s 37-year-old national education design practice.
Since joining LPA in 2004, Mraw has worked with educators, students and communities to create more effective and efficient K-12 campuses based on a research-driven approach to design. A principal in the firm, she has led efforts to better integrate behavioral science and sustainability with educators’ goals and helped develop a collaborative design process centered on supporting the whole student.
Mraw’s influence can be found in a wide range of innovative, efficient campuses, including the e3 Civic High School in downtown San Diego, the first high school in the country co-located in a public library; the historic preservation and renovation of Lanier High School in San Antonio, Texas; and the all-in-one K-12 Agnews campus under construction on a 55-acre historic site in San Jose, California, one of the largest K-12 projects in the state.
“Kate’s passion and spirit of collaboration make her the perfect choice to lead our K-12 practice,” says LPA CEO Wendy Rogers. “On every project, regardless of size or budget, she works with communities to develop spaces that empower the learning process.”
Mraw succeeds Jim Kisel, who is retiring after 28 years leading LPA’s education practice. Over the past three decades, LPA’s K-12 team has master planned and designed projects for more than 100 districts, developing deep relationships with educators, administrators and families around the country. The diverse, talented team assembled over the years has earned six national AIA Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) awards and 42 Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH) awards, more than any other firm.
Mraw, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from the University of Texas, Austin, worked extensively with Rogers and Kisel on campus projects on the West Coast before moving to Texas in 2015. She was the program and interior designer on many of the firm’s most innovative and award-winning projects, including the TIDE Academy, a three-story campus in Menlo Park, California focused on new ways to teach STEAM curriculums.
As she rose in the firm, Mraw led the EDU interiors efforts and launched LPAred, the firm’s in-house research group, which works with design teams and clients to enable evidence-based design options.
“The design process is developed around engagement, programming and understanding how we interact with space,” Mraw says. “Research is helping us recognize the cues to design better learning environments.”
Mraw is a frequent speaker at international industry events and an active member of the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE), discussing community engagement, the design of future-focused learning environments and the importance of including students in the process to develop more responsive, well-utilized spaces.
She is also collaborating with districts to develop more energy efficient campuses that connect with nature. The firm is actively working with clients to develop net zero energy campuses.
“Healthier, more sustainable environments support learners in many ways,” Mraw says. “Our goal is to develop a deeper collaboration with schools and communities to develop flexible, resilient campuses that reduce operating costs and educate learners about the environment.”
In her new role, Mraw says she will continue to expand LPA’s research capabilities, integrated approach and education efforts to cultivate the firm’s talent.
“We are invested in growing our people to grow our practice,” Mraw says. “We want to stay curious and continue to ask better questions that lead to deeper understanding and better solutions.”
Mraw works closely with educators and administrators through several organizations, including the Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH) and the Texas Association of School Administrators. She is an A4LE Accredited Learning Environment Planner and Board member of the A4LE Central Texas Chapter. She also serves on the University of Texas School of Architecture Advisory Council.
Founded in 1965, LPA specializes in creating innovative environments that work better, do more with less and change people’s lives. An integrated national design firm with six studios in California and Texas, LPA’s team includes more than 400 in-house architects, master planners, engineers, interior designers, landscape architects and research analysts, working across a wide array of sectors. For more information, visit lpadesignstudios.com.