education environment

Acton Academy East Bay

Showing how old buildings can be adapted and used for modern school campuses

Creative ways to build more schools

Startup schools are good. They experiment with education. And the more we experiment, the better education gets.

But opening a school isn’t easy. You need a campus. For most startups, finding land and resources takes time — so how can they get off the ground quickly?

Adapting an underutilized building is one very good option. To demonstrate, Kurani built a new school, the Acton Academy East Bay, inside a vacant office building.

Causes education, environment
Status built
Location Livermore, USA
Press Fast Company

Our starting point was a typical commercial office space — 3,600 square feet with private offices, open work area, and employee breakroom. The type of office you can find anywhere.

And within months, we transformed it into learning spaces for elementary and middle school students.

Since the school opened, students have spent their days going on quests, solving problems while they learn 21st century skills.

We’ve built them areas for brainstorming, discussing, and making — in what used to be private offices.

The children also have a culinary kitchen where they learn to cook and bake.

And to make school feel homier, each child brought in a plant and some of their favorite books.

To create a central Commons, we strategically removed a few of the existing walls. These openings and repainting the ceiling created a sunnier, naturally-lit school.

Perhaps the best part of this approach is how good it is for the planet. Adaptive reuse gives buildings a new life. Instead of discarding them, we’re reusing them for a new purpose.

At Acton, we wanted to take the sustainability even further. So we did things like salvage wood doors from offices and use them them to build the school library.

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