Claudia Yehia-Alaeddin couldn’t tell you exactly what sparked her overlapping interests in architecture and children’s learning environments. It could be her childhood in Colombia, an upbringing steeped in community and openness. It could be the years she spent studying architecture at the Beirut Arab University, a prestigious academy in which she was just one of five women in her class of 120 students. Or maybe it’s the position she happened upon while living in Seattle, working with a firm that specialized almost exclusively in school design.
All Yehia-Alaeddin knows is that looking back, the destination seemed fated from the start.
“Everything was like a layer after layer after layer, just strengthening that passion for me,” Yehia-Alaeddin says.
It’s a journey that has culminated in her current role as a principal architect at Reimagine, designing what she calls “21st-century learning environments,” including the Escuela Mill Creek replacement school, which opened in 2019 and includes spacious common areas and a dance studio.
“When kids move throughout the space, their brain is active. They’re on,” she says. “We make sure that the environment that they’re in is allowing that to happen. One building can shape an entire community, depending on how it’s designed. That learning environment shapes the future for the users.”