Amy Yurko, AIA

Recent Activities

  • Keynote speaker at the Nohr-Con International Conference on the Future of Education in Oslo, Norway
  • Moderator for an international panel on School Safety and Security in Chicago
  • National Design Awards Juror, AIA Committee on Architecture for Education

Amy’s clients say…

 “Amy’s bringing together, presenting and leading the design integrates her architectural skills with an uncanny understanding of educational principles, which are incorporated into a constructible design solution is absolutely amazing to witness.  And to be the recipient of such designs is for our state a tremendous educational value.”  – Wally Diller, Wyoming School Facilities Department

“Amy’s outstanding and innovative work on educational facilities has established her as one of the most creative educational architects practicing today”  – Esther Cox, Anchorage School District, co-author of Breaking Ranks, Changing an American Institution.

 “Thanks for the outstanding experience and your guidance in showing us the power of this highly collaborative process to work toward innovative solutions”  – Roger CayCe, Director of Facilities Management/Building Commissioner, St. Louis Public Schools


Internationally Acclaimed Educational Facility Planner

Amy Yurko, AIA, is the founder and President of BrainSpaces, Inc.  As both a licensed architect and educator, she applies brain-focused strategies to the planning and design of learning environments.


Incorporating a growing body of research, her firm’s unique approach blends education and architecture, promoting the allocation of physical resources where they will yield the maximum educational value. Through an extensive body of work, Amy had earned recognition as expert in her field, and is consistently invited to teach, speak, write and participate in design juries. Amy has a keen understanding of the challenges in education today, reinforced through faculty positions held at Harvard University, the University of Southern California, Illinois Institute of Technology, and within Chicago Public Schools.

Amy is known for a straightforward style and no-nonsense approach and has a proven talent for bringing people and ideas together in new ways.  She is accomplished at leading school systems and their teams, groups, committees and communities through innovative, inclusive and consensus-building processes. Insightful, fun, and challenging, these processes are designed to ensure that investments in school facilities are meaningful for diverse interest groups, to incorporate proven strategies for supporting effective learning, and to embrace change with agility and grace.

Amy has received the international distinction of “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Association for Learning Environments (formerly the Council of Educational Facility Planners International) for her excellence in engaging communities to plan and design powerful environments for learning throughout the world.

Amy is dedicated to both learning and the profession of architecture and enjoys combining the two. She has served the American Institute of Architects (AIA) on both state and national levels including the National Board Knowledge Committee, the AIA Chicago Board of Directors, Chair of the National AIA Continuing Education Committee, Chair of the National AIA Practice Management Knowledge Community, member of the National AIA/AGC (Associated General Contractors) Joint Committee, and as Chair of AIA California Practice Management Committee.  She has been instrumental in creating programs, activities and content that bring value to AIA’s worldwide membership.