This paper discusses the opportunity afforded by a substantial research grant to examine three aspects of recent school design and learning. First, spaces that support effective learning, second, the role of the building in achieving sustainability, and third, pedagogies and practices that support one and two. Schools are complex systems in which the physical environment interacts with ... [Show full abstract] pedagogical, socio-cultural, curricular, motivational and socio-economic factors as well as providing benefits or costs in environmental terms. Limiting the research focus to exemplar case study schools will enable a more comprehensive study of the schools as 3D texts. Through proactive research methodologies, students, teachers and architects will collaborate to manipulate the spaces to suit different learning modalities. Students will help collect environmental data and therefore learn more about climate and energy. They will also participate within teams to further their problem solving, communication and organizational skills. Teachers will become more aware of and hopefully skilled at managing space both environmentally and pedagogically. Architects will have the unusual opportunity of experiencing and analyzing their designs through the eyes of users. While this ambitious research is in its infancy, the interdisciplinary approach and support from nine industry partners is relevant for other researchers who are seeking to have an impact on design practice using an action research methodology. The research is timely. 4 Following in the footsteps of the United Kingdom, Australian state and federal governments have committed to reinvigorate our aging school stock. This research led by an interdisciplinary team, was developed in partnership with Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, the Victorian Government Architect's Office, and seven design firms with expertise in learning environments. The research has been funded by the Australian Research Council.