Architectural Record Academies of Digital Learning

Become an expert on a specific area of interest through our Academies of Digital Learning. These academies allow you to focus on specific areas of design interest while earning some or all of your annual CE requirements. Upon successful completion of each academy, you will receive continuing education credits and a digital badge that demonstrates your mastery and achievement. Proudly display your digital badge on your LinkedIn profile, blog or email signature and showcase your expertise.

Want more information on our Academies of Digital Learning or digital badges? View our FAQ page.

The world is facing ongoing challenges in terms of climate change and pandemic response. In the field of architecture, metal composite materials (MCM) offer a sustainable, flexible solution that not only addresses these issues, but makes the design process fresh and exciting. MCMs are factory-manufactured panels consisting of metal skins bonded to both faces of a solid plastic core. The freedom to tailor composites to a project and their lightweight nature make them a versatile material that can meet and exceed energy codes and provide health, safety and wellness features that are required for occupants. MCM not only protects the building exterior from unwanted air and water intrusion, MCMs are also a flexible and versatile building material creating stunning architectural facades in many shapes and finishes.

The last year of the COVID pandemic has stressed the importance of creating and maintaining a robust healthcare environment. In addition, there is a major shift from the formerly institutional feel of healthcare facilities to a focus on comfort and compassion, for both patients and staff. The pandemic has potentially accelerated a move that was already in-progress to create healthcare environments that address noise, efficiency of layout, beauty and comfort, all in the service of improved occupant health.

One of the oldest and most versatile building materials, glass has been used for centuries with evidence of its use dating back to Roman times. In today's world, glass plays an important role in design for its ability to provide a connection between a building and nature. In addition, improvements and innovations in glass technology have also kept glass in the forefront of architectural design. From coatings that offer energy efficient performance to protective glazing that offers safety and security, glass remains a tried-and-true building material.

The field of architecture is facing a crossroads. Design professionals are having to navigate monumental challenges such as the Great Recession of 2008, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the climate crisis. At the same time design, professionals have never had so many advanced tools at their disposal, from cloud-based platforms that facilitate intensive collaboration and sophisticated virtual modeling capabilities to new software for reducing waste and carbon emissions on their projects. The Business of Architecture Academy highlights trends in architecture, including the increasing use of digital tools and platforms, which are giving firms large and small a competitive edge.

The worldwide push to reduce the effects of climate change is in full swing. Architects are on the forefront of understanding and designing for sustainability in an increasing volatile world. Architects, as community leaders, are rising to the challenge of designing to improve the lives of people, communities, as well as the planet. To protect health, safety and welfare, architects strive to create solutions that build healthier communities. Whether creating flexible programming to accommodate the impact of climate events or specifying more sustainable materials to reduce a project’s carbon footprint, architects are in a unique position to lead the way to a healthier and more sustainable world.

The design of interior spaces often takes into account how a particular setting is experienced by the people who use it. The courses of the Interiors Academy present a comprehensive look at approaches to interiors, with a special emphasis on paint and color. You will learn about the latest technology around paints and coatings, the state of sustainability in the industry, and review many examples of the latest in interiors from around the world.

The concept of Net Zero buildings, which aims to improve the negative environmental impact of the built environment, is a key component of the discussion on concrete sustainability. Across the world, concrete is one of the most popular building materials due to its affordability and durability. In addition, concrete is often used because of its thermal mass, or ability to store heat energy, which can reduce energy use in buildings. However, increasingly concrete manufacturers are discussing the sustainability issues associated with concrete production, specifically around the reduction of CO2 emissions. The Concrete Academy explores the emerging topic of concrete and Net Zero buildings, including innovations, specifications and designing with concrete for Net Zero.

As cities grow, the demand and desire for multifamily housing has become an integral segment of a healthy housing market, one in which innovative design and engineering are needed to find ways to meet the many and varied project goals. The Multifamily Housing Academy puts the spotlight on architects and designers of multifamily housing who are creating spaces that are affordable and inclusive while also addressing sustainability, resiliency, and aesthetics.

Health is not the absence of sickness but “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being”, according to the World Health Organization. Many architects and designers are adopting this holistic approach to design of the built environment by moving beyond goals measured by single parameters, such as humidity or temperature. A broader approach to the buildings we live, work and play in can have long-term positive implications for our quality of life. Health and well-being can be at the heart of uncovering opportunities for design.

Natural stone as a building material shows up virtually everywhere—from building facades to landscaping and interior accents. The Stone Academy examines the innovative design and structural uses of natural stone in residential, commercial, and public applications. It also delves into the use of stone as a sustainable material, as well as provides an overview of the aesthetic benefits, technical advances, fabrication, quarrying and excavation challenges, installation issues, and the overarching historical context of stone. Additionally, the academy examines many different types of stone and provides insights and case studies detailing their use, both indoors and out. As innovative design solutions become more and more important in creating cost-effective, high-performing contemporary structures, stone is a popular choice for its natural beauty and versatility, environmental benefits, and durability. The academy features numerous examples of such innovation across many project types in the United States and abroad.

Earn 10 AIA LU (6 AIA LU/HSW + 4 AIA LU/Elective)

Whether you are seeking a better understanding of acoustics for a new project or current methods and information for a robust acoustic design, the Acoustics Academy is a helpful resource to assist you with acoustic performance and noise control. You will learn about classic as well as emerging approaches of interest to architects and designers, including sustainable choices. Occupant acoustic well-being is increasingly a top priority in project design, and the Acoustic Academy presents methods, strategies, and examples of projects that have rose to the challenge of meeting occupant comfort as well as modern design and performance goals.

For your clients, building a custom home can be quite literally making their dream come true. The Custom Home Academy takes a look at the many aspects of designing a unique residence, such as trends in home layout and ideas for contemporary kitchen and bathroom design. The courses of the Custom Homes Academy explore single-family home design and the importance of lighting, thermal comfort, accessibility, sustainability and performance. With an ever-faster evolving world, architects are being challenged to not only adapt to changing environments and design trends, but to an increasingly unpredictable human condition.

Innovative technology has led to a popularization in the use of glass in architecture. Glass coatings and insulating glass units improve energy performance by managing solar heat and can minimize glare for clearer views. Technology allows facades and curtain walls to appear seamless, while having an improved capacity to withstand storm impacts and to meet ever-stronger building codes. All of this can be done with style, using colored glass, clear to the edge glass, or anything in between that allows natural light into spaces, while enhancing energy efficiency and occupant comfort. Use of glass lends a sense of space and can seem to remove the barriers between nature and the indoors. The courses in the Glass Academy cover a wide range of glass-related topics so you can begin your own exploration of the innovative use of glass in your projects.

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Academies FAQs

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  • What is an academy?

    An academy is a collection of editorial-rich courses around a specific area of interest such as: education, multifamily housing, sustainability, acoustics, etc. Academy courses include a variety of course formats including, articles, webinars, multimedia and research reports.

  • What is a digital badge?

    A digital badge is a graphical representation of an accomplishment, skill or interest that can be earned and shared online. Each digital badge contains verified metadata that outlines your achievement and the criteria required to earn the digital badge. This allows colleagues, peers and employers to view and verify accomplishment and skills.

  • How do I earn a digital badge?

    Digital badges are earned by successfully completing all the courses within a specific academy. Once you have successfully completed and passed all the quizzes within an academy, you will then be able to view and download your digital badge from within the “My Academy Progress” page.

  • What are the benefits of a digital badge?

    Digital badges are a great way to showcase your achievement or mastery within a particular field or interest. They can be shared on various social media platforms, email signatures, websites and resumes.

  • How do I share my digital badge?

    You can share your digital badge on social media platforms or embed your badge in a website or resume through the “My Academy Progress” page on the CE Center. Additionally, you can export your badge to other badge-storing platforms, such as Mozilla backpack.

  • Are academies free of charge?

    Yes. Like all the courses on the CE Center, our Academies of Digital Learning are 100% free of charge and accessible 24/7.