Philip Poinelli


Learning Environment Planner


  • Phil was instrumental in the creation and development of the firm’s K-12 Studio, and currently leads SMMA’s educational planning initiatives
  • Recognized as a national expert in the master-planning and programming of K-12 learning environments, he serves as the leader of SMMA’s K-12 Educational Programming and Planning Group
  • Offers strategic direction to clients on future options and opportunities for their schools
  • Challenges colleagues to look beyond prescriptive approaches, to integrate new solutions that encourage a variety of individual learning styles and a diversity of education environments
  • Collaborates with SMMA’s K-12 team to provide a seamless integration of planning, programming, and design

Design Thinking

Phil’s career-long fascination with education led him to research and study the relationship between different learning styles and schools that provide a wide variety of spaces matched to them. “The old delivery model was centered on a teacher standing in front of a class. The message was always: Keep quiet and pay attention,” he explains. “That worked for some students, but it was detrimental to the others who needed less structure and more of an experience-based way of learning.”

“We know that educational facilities with a variety of teaching and social spaces inspire students and motivate individuals across multiple learning styles.”

Learning from the Best

Phil credits Robert Kramer, FAIA, and Walter Pierce, FAIA, founding partners at Peirce Pierce & Kramer, as his mentors, and as career-shaping forces influencing his work ethic, design sensibilities, and love for educational planning and design. Following Peirce Pierce & Kramer's merging with SMMA, Phil and Robert Kramer continued working together in the firm’s K-12 Studio.