Jay J. Litman, AIA Principal Emeritus

Say "Hello!" to Jay

Jay J. Litman, AIA Principal Emeritus

Say "Hello!" to Jay


Jay’s evolution towards a project-based, collaborative educational model grew from his per­sonal interest in the education of hearing impaired children using an “inclusion” model.”

Jay retired from active participation in the firm in January of 2023. As Principal Emeritus, he provides strategic guidance to the firm and occasionally consults directly on projects when his expertise is needed. He also consults independently on passion projects with schools and Districts. 

Before his retirement, Jay was a major contributor to the successes of Fielding International and the field of education architecture around the world. 

For more than forty years, he shared his deep understanding and appreciation of the educational challenges facing both children and adults within the teaching and learning environment. His professional experience focused primarily on the planning and design of PreK-12 educational facilities; campus planning and design; public and private libraries; and historic rehabilitation. His project background also extends to urban planning, housing and commercial.

Jay had a deep involvement in the emerging theories of project-based, collaborative teaching and learning that has helped reshape the language of modern school design. His evolution towards a project-based, collaborative educational model grew from his personal interest in the education of hearing impaired children using an “inclusion” model. The emerging theories of the time mandated fundamental changes in the design of the classroom environment such as; learning in smaller groups, working collaboratively on project based assignments, creating multiple modes of learning within one classroom as well as paying attention to acoustics and lighting. 

Before his retirement, he developed the idea of a new curriculum component centered on design and problem-solving. This led to the development of the “STEAM Learning Center.” The STEAM Lab teaches students to envision, invent and build their ideas. His vision has resulted in the design and construction of several major STEAM projects both at International, Public and Private School Campuses.

Another innovation that Jay led with the firm was the design of the Educational Innovation Lab. The “I-Lab” is an educational laboratory where teachers have the ability to incorporate teaching and learning methods into the curriculum units that could not be adequately delivered in a traditional classroom. This is a place where education practice and spatial design work in harmony. It demonstrates how new teaching and learning methods benefit from spaces specifically designed to fit a new model of education. The I-Lab enables self-directed, independent and group learning which research has indicated is a key form of knowledge acquisition; students who work together learn more. It provides the infrastructure where faculty can ignite discussion, coach, give feedback, demonstrate, supervise, observe and consult with student teams as they collaborate. There are now three built in the United States.

Jay has led teams for new or revitalized schools and campuses in countries such as Switzerland, Russia, Japan, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. His work with the Sinarmas World Academy in Serpong, Indonesia was recognized by CEPFI (A4LE) with an International Award of Distinction.

Jay continues to be available to the firm’s leadership to help when and where needed.

The space truly allows our students to think, create, present, and flourish. Many didn’t realize how much work went into designing and building the space – and how the details transformed student learning... You have helped us develop a model of innovative instruction, and use space to amplify learning. This could not have happened without Jay’s vision!”

Joshua Culwell-Block, Director of Technology + Innovation Chappaqua Central School District

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