Page 1

The Adaptation of Existing School Buildings // March 2012


“A significant part of the problem with contemporary education is that it aims to teach 21st century learners by combining a 20th century curriculum with a 19th century structure.” Prensky, M “Engage Me or Enrage Me: What Today’s Learners Demand”

INDUSTRIAL MODE OF LEARNING

CONTEMPORARY MODE OF LEARNING

Contemporary culture demands a spatial organisation of educational spaces that no longer follows a singluar ‘industrial’ mode of transcation but caters for evolving pedagogies supporting collaboration.

2

NBRS+PARTNERS


This research paper is an adjunct to the research paper ‘2025:The Learning Continuum’ produced in 2011 by NBRS+PARTNERS. Almost every goverment and independent school is faced with valuable yet traditional, tired school infrastructure in a changing world of evolving pedagogies. Our studies show how to create spaces from exisiting conditions that will adaptively support new learning in a responsive way.

APPLYING THE LEARNING CONTINUUM Technology has transformed society and the ways in which we communicate. Many devices, such as smart phones and tablets have been integrated seamlessly into our community, creating a new learning environment that ‘just is’. This culture demands a different spatial organisation for educational buildings to remain relevant and cater for evolving pedagogy and technology. ‘2025: The Learning Continuum’ dealt with spatial theories and design ideas for new schools and school buildings. Although the theory remains the same, the design solutions for existing school buildings vary greatly. The average age of a NSW DET school building is 40 years, and more than 1400 of these are heritage listed. Department guidelines recommend classrooms that range in size from 60-64m2, a size which limits optimal flexibility. Many non-government schools also have this classroom footprint. The dated historical standards prescribe only one concept of teaching and learning limiting any necessary change in learning culture. This document seizes the opportunity to explore the ways in which a 21st century learning environment may be created within a 20th century shell with the goal to encourage new modes of learning and engage every student whilst increasing the longevity of existing buildings.

2025 The Learning Continuum ADAPTIVE

3


To reflect society’s environment that ‘just is’ we aim to increase the relevance of existing buildings by integrating the ‘Learning Continuum’ through technology, immediacy, innovation, fresh ideas, adaptability and the ability to evolve. WHY DO EXISTING BUILDINGS NEED TO CHANGE? Many existing school buildings need to be adapted to allow a range of contemporary pedagogies to occur. Currently the majority of school buildings have adopted this traditional standard and hence prescribe only an instructional mode of teaching. With the rise of new and evolving pedagogies as well as technology, educational communication is transformed, demanding a variety of spaces for teaching and learning. Another key reason to adapt existing school buildings is that research has proven children can achieve results 7-8% higher in modernised environments that are stimulating and motivating. New facilities can also improve health, behavior and attendance. By upgrading existing school buildings, we are improving students’ wellbeing. This isn’t a repetition of the 1960s-70s ‘flexible model’ where walls were taken down to create open space schools. Here, the space was still used in the same, traditional manner as when the walls were in place, rendering the changes useless as the academic staff were not trained to utilise the spaces effecitvely. There was no insight into the possibilities that could result from these spaces. In the future these changes to existing buildings will be purposeful. Where walls are removed, new integrated and engaging spaces will be created. In this current age, there is the advantage of endless new and evolving technologies that can be used to support learning in a range of spaces. In addition, it is important to consider all elements of the physical environment, including existing built spaces, furnishings, finishes, loose items and outdoors as well as indoors. These things are useful in implying ways in which a space may be occupied and may encourage activity and discovery and appeal to different modes of learning and teaching. It is also important that teachers are trained in the possibilities of these spaces and effective evolving pedagogies. This way, the new spaces will be used most effectively, providing a well-rounded and balanced education for all students.

4

NBRS+PARTNERS


To cater for this evolving future, in an age of constant, yet non linear environmental cues, schools must be multimodal in regards to resources, communication and scenarios.

MULTIMODAL

People: students, teachers, community, parents Multimedia: analogue, digital, visual, auditory, interactive, tactile

Teaching and Learning Styles: online, written, face-to-face, discussion, presentation

Modes: individual, pairs, groupssmall to large

Not only will the spaces be flexible, but the resources, furniture and finishes will provide adaptability for the users. Flexibility is the ability to support the multimodal elements. Flexibility is associated with the notion of the malleability of the ‘hardware’ or the built form of a space. Adaptability is a real time response to evolving student needs that can be supported by the manipulation of fixtures and furnishings. This is indeed the ‘software’ of a space. It address the ability for multimodal spaces to become efficient and personal environments. These are the new paradigms for the architecture of eductional environments.

2025 The Learning Continuum ADAPTIVE

5


ENGAGING STUDENTS Students can be engaged through catering for their learning needs. Different learning styles require different spaces and scenarios. Establishing appeal to the students’ way of life is of great importance to schools. Current students are ‘digital natives,’ having grown up with technology at their fingertips. Immediacy is natural to them. By encouraging the use of technology, active learning, ownership and variety, learning can be fun and appealing. School becomes just another facet of their lifestyle. Students thus become lifelong learners, associating skills learnt at school to wider aspects of life including critical thinking and relating to others. Aside from technology, ownership and activity can be encouraged through living spaces such as kitchen gardens, aquariums, butterfly farms, invertebrate farms, composting, and project and display areas.

ENGAGING TEACHERS Teaching strategies work differently in different contexts, effective pedagogy relies on teachers investing in their own practice and changing set standards in the classroom and the greater school context.

BENEFITS OF ADAPTIVE REUSE OVER REBUILDING New life is given to existing buildings whilst retaining their identity, character and embodiment of historical context Adaptive reuse may be a sustainable method, reducing the amount of embodied energy by extending the life cycle of the building. Allows for the modification of tight sites and existing buildings. There are possible economic benefits to retrofitting over rebuilding.

6

NBRS+PARTNERS


CONSIDERATIONS IN THE PROCESS Considering the entire site of the school is a priority in the adapting existing school buildings. It is important to consider a masterplanning exercise as it may be more appropriate for certain buildings to house a different function to that currently housed. The interconnectedness of spaces and thus functionality quite possibly can also be improved. Every school is unique with a different set of parameters such as climate, contect, aspect, and hence solutions may indeed vary between schools. There is a need to achieve efficiency as well as optimisation in the learning environment. In design, the balance between effective learning and spatial efficiency needs to be carefully considered. The assumption there is no longer a need for separate computer labs as laptops / tablets and such resources are becoming more and more integrated into teaching and learning, and will only continue in this way. The NSW government has rolled out programs to give laptops to senior students and many schools are introducing tablets to their students. Technology will no longer be separated from teaching and learning but involved in all subject materials in a variety of modes.

“Just as we would never put all the pencils in one room, we will no longer think of building computer labs.� Frank M Locker and Steven Olsen, Flexible School Facilities.

Depending on the situation, there may be a loss of classrooms to acquire other learning spaces and/or larger learning spaces. Working on the assumption that computer rooms are no longer necessary, further classroom space is gained.

An integrated approach to contemporay education.

2025 The Learning Continuum ADAPTIVE

7


SUSTAINABILITY ISSUES Students learn a plethora of information from schools. Sustainability and responsibility is now another aspect of their education and development. This means that sustainable methods are required throughout the school environment to illustrate the importance of this way of life. It is required that users also be educated on the use of these elements to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. Simple changes may be through the addition of alternative power sources such as solar panels and encouraging natural cross ventilation through louvres or drawing air through by the stack effect. Improved air quality in school buildings by controlling carbon monoxide, dust and pollen reduces the onset of asthma. Improved air quality and conditions will imporove the learning environment plus reduce the number of absentee days. Interactive metering can turn the school building into a learning resource with visible functionality. Volatile Organic Compounds hover at 1200mm, this being the perfect height for students to breathe in. Replacing harmful finsihes and furniture is a priority and an effort to contour the effect of VOCS. Green walls and planting are examples of a solution. Increasing the amount of natural daylighting in learning areas as approximately 20% of wall space should be windows. Natural light increases learning performance and comfort for students and teachers. Not only is the light important, but being able to see out a window is equally, if not more important. Attention spans are increased, fatigue is reduced and academic performance and comfort are further increased by a view out a window. Some existing school buildings do not allow a view to the outside from a seated position. In the design process, increasing the amount of fenestration is an element that must be considered.

Access to the natural envionment is stimulating for students.

8

NBRS+PARTNERS


FUTURIST PLANNING One element of planning for the future is to identify similarities in size, location and environmental aspects of the existing school buildings. It may be possible that certain spaces could become interchangeable. There is a need to create spaces that are poised for further change, that is, adaptable. It is necessary for retrofitted facilities to last, which means spaces need to have the potential to adapt not only because technology is so rapidly evolving but also due to the constantly changing needs of a school. For example, a shared studio (sized for two classes of students) has the potential to become a specialist area for an art workshop or science lab.

Both simple solutions such as desk configuration, and more complex long term situations must be accounted for in the planning process.

Progressive policy making relating to systems and processes in the functioning of the school should also be considered in addition to revitalising buildings. “Setting policies that reduce waste, increase use of public transportation, and encourage the purchase of environmentally-preferable products are a few simple ways that schools are greening their everyday operations.� Centre for Green Schools USA

2025 The Learning Continuum ADAPTIVE

9


DESIGN IDEAS This document strives to provide possible scenarios for various existing school building conditions. The aim of each scenario is to encourage a range of learning modes and to engage every student. Spatial qualities identified in ‘2025: The Learning Continuum’ will be translated into the base situations in order to achieve these aims. The Active Core is central to each scenario, providing resources, recharge points, lockers, storage, views, openings, social nooks, alcoves and acts as a connection point. In the scenarios outlined in this document, the active core has been further manipulated with the possibility of changing height and turning into desks and canopies.

Studios provide for focused instructional learning as well as discussion, large group and multiple small group scenarios.

Project Spaces provide resources for active inquiry, long term projects and encourage responsibility and ownership through displays and can be utilised both studio and informal learning situations.

10

NBRS+PARTNERS


Breakout Spaces are non-prescriptive, alternative learning spaces that allow for the development of relationships and the creation of dialogue, both of which are very important aspects of school and community.

Social Spaces and Outdoor Space allows for play, discovery and inquiry.

Alternative spaces widen the scope for modes of teaching and learning and may increase engagement. For example, if each room had a wet area, there is more opportunity for the way subject material may be taught. Subjects that are traditionally instructional would have the ability to discover information in a new way. As just one example, a mathematics class may now experiment with measurement and volume in a practical and visual manner through the use of a wet area. By incorporating smaller / larger areas for different group sizes to gather, a variety of collaborative learning activities can occur at once. Students can learn from each other, even in subjects that traditionally have an individual focus.

2025 The Learning Continuum ADAPTIVE

11


How to create seamless interaction in an existing environment that opposes this? The permeable active core is a resources centre that meanders through the existing structure. This physically ties elements together whilst providing for social and practical needs. Apertures and focal points allow students, staff and the environment to interact and collaborate both physically and visually. In turn, spatial identities from ‘The Learning Continuum’ are integrated into the existing school to increase interaction between spaces, students and the environment. Allowance should be made for the possibility of team teaching that may occur, even between different subject material. These larger spaces could also be used for large groups to gather, debate, perform and so on. A variety of spaces ensures that not all learning is classroom based but considers the social and active aspects of learning. Inquiry allows students to explore within the school grounds or further afield where possible.

12

NBRS+PARTNERS


MOBILE RESOURCES Mobile resources may be a solution to certain spaces no longer needing a unique coating. This solution would involve mobile carts, for example, that could deliver the necessary resources, whether they be equipment, tools, experiments or technology. This solution does have both benefits and disadvantages as outlined below. Benefits to mobile resources Timetabling becomes more flexible (many streams can participate in the same subject at once). Any class can be located in any room. Every subject has the potential to make use of mobile resources that traditionally may not be available to them. Rooms will be freed from fixed resources, creating a greater degree of flexibility. Disadvantages to mobile resources May be a need to increase the number of resources so that a number of streams could use the same resources at once. Strict prior preparation may be necessary in order to have access to theresources. Mobility of resources would allow for more compact storage, however, storage location and its accessibility would need to be considered.

2025 The Learning Continuum ADAPTIVE

13


RETROFITTING EXISTING SCHOOL BUILDINGS The retrofitting concepts are based on three common school situations: 1. Single Loaded Corridor 2. Doubled Loaded Corridor 3. Doughnut Design

Situation 1 – Single-loaded Corridor A highly directed and fast paced traditional classroom setup. The aim is to remove the corridor and integrate and activate circulation into the learning spaces.

Situation 2 – Double-loaded Corridor Similarly a one directional, enclosing space not condusive to collaboration and interaction. The aim is to open the learning spaces to one another and make use of wasted space.

14

NBRS+PARTNERS


Situation 3 – Courtyard Design Currently a highly internalised space with little connection to the outside and no inviting entry. A multitude of wasted space in circulation areas requires clever consideration of multifunctional spaces. At present the learning areas are separated from the potential of the outdoor learning space that the courtyard presents. The aim is to balance the focus between the courtyard and the learning spaces.

2025 The Learning Continuum ADAPTIVE

15


Situation 1 – Single-loaded Corridor The corridor has been removed with the active core implying spaces for different pedagogies, all based on education of a proactive nature. The relationships between the learning studios, project areas and breakout spaces are considered whereby each studio has access to student project areas and there is now greater emphasis on outdoor learning space. The spaces are no longer the traditional ‘classroom’ typlogy and size at 64m2, but are adaptable spaces that can now accomodate team-teaching and encourage the sharing of knowledge and ideas.

Scenario A - Organic

Learning Studio Project Breakout

Studio Breakout

Active Core

Breakout Outdoor

16

Learning Studio

2 x 130 m2

Original Usable Area

300 m2

Project Area

1 x 64 m2

Original Number of Classrooms

5 x 60 m2

Breakout Space

1 x 46 m2

Original Number of Students

150

Original Wasted Area

120 m2

Additional Usable Area

24m2

Additional Number of Students

12

NBRS+PARTNERS


Scenario B - Pods

Outdoor

Outdoor

Active Core

Project Learning Studio

Breakout Project Learning Studio

Learning Studio Breakout

Outdoor Outdoor

Learning Studio

3 x 96 m2

Original Usable Area

300 m2

Project Area

2 x 56 m2

Original Number of Classrooms

5 x 60 m2

Outdoor Breakout

2 x 30 m2

Original Number of Students

150

Original Wasted Area

120 m2

Additional Usable Area Additional Number of Students

16 m2 8

2025 The Learning Continuum ADAPTIVE

17


Scenario C - Stepped

Outdoor

Active Core

Learning Studio

Learning Studio

Project

Learning Studio

Project Breakout

Breakout Outdoor

18

Learning Studio Learning Studio

1 x 60 m2

Original Usable Area

300 m2

1 x 65 m2

Original Number of Classrooms

5 x 60 m2

Learning Studio

1 x 70 m2

Original Number of Students

150

Project Area

2 x 75 m

Original Wasted Area

120 m2

Breakout Space

1 x 35 m2

Additional Usable Area Additional Number of Students

84 m2

NBRS+PARTNERS

2

42


Situation 2 – Double-loaded Corridor Again, the fast paced directed corridor has been intergrated with other functions to dually open and enclose spaces to create environments in which students feel comfortable to learn. The relationships between all the learning spaces are intergral in the design and are enhanced by the active core. The furniture is flexible in that it allows many configurations to encourge multiple modes of interaction between students and teachers and thus leaning through many avenues.

Scenario A - Cross Roads

Outdoor Project Learning Studio

Learning Studio

Breakout

Active Core Breakout Learning Studio

Learning Studio

Project

Outdoor

Learning Studio Learning Studio

2 x 90 m2

Original Usable Area

2 x 120 m

Original Number of Classrooms

600 m2 10

Project Area

2 x 80 m2

Original Number of Students

300

Breakout Space

2 x 100 m

Original Wasted Area

130

Additional Usable Area Additional Number of Students

180 m2 90

2

2

2025 The Learning Continuum ADAPTIVE

19


Scenario B - Offset

Learning Studio

Learning Studio

Project

Project Breakout

Learning Studio

Active Core Project

Breakout Learning Studio

Learning Studio

Outdoor

20

Learning Studio

5 x 60 m2

Original Usable Area

Project Area

3 x 60 m

Breakout Space

2 x 90 m

Breakout Space

3 x 30 m

NBRS+PARTNERS

Original Number of Classrooms

600 m2 10

2

Original Number of Students

300

2

Original Wasted Area

130

Additional Usable Area Additional Number of Students

150 m2

2

75


Scenario C - Staggered

Outdoor

Learning Studio

Outdoor

Project

Learning Studio

Outdoor

Project

Learning Studio

Active Core Project Learning Studio

Outdoor

Project

Learning Studio

Project

Outdoor

Learning Studio

5 x 60 m2

Original Usable Area

600 m2

Project Area

5 x 90 m2

Original Number of Classrooms

10

Original Number of Students

300

Original Wasted Area

130

Additional Usable Area Additional Number of Students

150 m2 75

2025 The Learning Continuum ADAPTIVE

21


Situation 3 – Courtyard The interalised nature of the doughnut precinct has been lessened by creating wider walkways and connections to the outside. The wasted space solely dedicated to circulation now has intergated functions, this dictated by the active core. Again the relationships between the learning studios, project areas and breakout space has been considered so that all spaces have a link to the interior courtyard and the external areas, i.e. the rest of the school.

22

NBRS+PARTNERS


Scenario A - Linking

Learning Studio

Project

Learning Studio

Breakout Project

Outdoor

Outdoor Learning Studio

Learning Studio

Active Core Outdoor

Project Breakout

Learning Studio

Learning Studio

6 x 75 m2

Project Area Breakout Space

Project

Learning Studio

600 m2

4 x 75 m2

Original Usable Area Original Number of Classrooms

10

2 x 45 m2

Original Number of Students

300

Original Wasted Area

330 m2

Original Courtyard Area Additional Courtyard Area Additional Usable Area Additional Number of Students

220 m2 70 m2 240 m2 120

2025 The Learning Continuum ADAPTIVE

23


Scenario B - Dynamic

Project Learning Studio Learning Studio

Learning Studio Project

Project

Breakout

Learning Studio

Learning Studio Project

Co

re

Breakout

Outdoor

Act

ive

Outdoor

Breakout

Project Learning Studio

Learning Studio Breakout

Project

Project Learning Studio

24

Learning Studio

Project

Learning Studio

Learning Studio

2 x 60 m2

Original Usable Area

600 m2

Learning Studio

4 x 100 m2

Original Number of Classrooms

10

Project Area

8 x 15 m2

Original Number of Students

300

Breakout Space

4 x 15 m2

Original Wasted Area

330 m2

Original Courtyard Area Additional Courtyard Area Additional Usable Area Additional Number of Students

220 m2 260 m2 160 m2 80

NBRS+PARTNERS


Project

Scenario C - Pockets

Learning Studio

Learning Studio

Project

Active Core

Project

Learning Studio

Outdoor

Breakout

Project

Learning Studio

Learning Studio

Project

Project

Outdoor

Outdoor

Learning Studio

Learning Outdoor Studio

Project

Learning Studio

Project

Breakout

Learning Studio

4 x 64 m2

Original Usable Area

600 m2

Learning Studio

2 x 96 m2

Learning Studio

2 x 100 m

Project Area

2 x 108 m

Breakout Courtyard

2 x 100 m2

Original Number of Classrooms

10

2

Original Number of Students

300

2

Original Wasted Area Original Courtyard Area Additional Courtyard Area Additional Usable Area Additional Number of Students

330 m2 220 m2 60 m2 304 m2 152

2025 The Learning Continuum ADAPTIVE

25


BREAKOUT

STUDIO STUDIO

ACTIVE CORE

SOCIAL

OUTDOOR

26

NBRS+PARTNERS

PR


ROJECT OUTDOOR

SOCIAL

PROJECT

ACTIVE CORE

STUDIO STUDIO

BREAKOUT

2025 The Learning Continuum ADAPTIVE

27


The Adaptation of Existing School Buildings // March 2012

Level 3 No. 4 Glen Street Milsons Point NSW james.ward@nbrsap.com.au Research Team Daina Cunningham Stephanie Brancatisano Andrew Duffin James Ward Š NBRS+PARTNERS 2012

2025 The Learning Continuum Adaptive  

Adaptive (2012) is an adjunct publication to 2025 The Learning Continuum, exploring the adaptation of existing school buildings to provide 2...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you