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research &analysis


Unit 2: SCHOOL Mariem Ahmed Arsène Frère Charles Follett Rikki Geddes Yevgen Gozhenko Clément Guérard-Ortelli Joe Leask Julie Neilson Nathan Noble Stewart Rees Karen Reid Hannah Skyner Rolands Ziva Tutors Alan Dunlop Penny Lewis


research &analysis


01. Research & Analysis 005






023 027 033 039

045 055 061



SCHOOL TYPES Intro to School types Education System Structures Standardisation of School Free Schools TEACHING METHODS Montessori Steiner Vocational

067 079 085 091 097 105 111

DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS The Community Security Building School Identity Psychological Design Daylight in Schools Acoustics Technology


KEY SPACES The Ideal Classroom The In-Between




02. Precedent Studies

157 161 165 169 173 177 181 185 191 195 199


INDIVIDUAL CASE STUDIES George Heriots School Hunstanton Secondary School Hallfield Primary School Amsterdam Orphanage Bousfield Primary School Apollo Schools CIEP Elementary Schools Mossbourne community school Oxgangs Primary School Chartwell School Leutschenbach School

203 207 211 215 219 225 229 233 239 243 247

Vittra Telefonplan School La Terra Dei Bambini Dunfermline High School Jesmond Gardens School Vibeengskolen Stratford School Academy Lairdsland Primary School Fuji Kindergarten Brimmond Primary School Makoko Floating School Inverness Royal Academy

253 259 267 273

INNOVATIVE SCHOOLS Seabird Island School Lycee Albert Camus Baan Huay Sarn Yaw School The Kathleen Grimm School 03. Design Intervention

287 291 295 301 305 309 313 317 321 327 331 337 341

INDIVIDUAL DESIGNS George Heriots School Hallfield Primary School Amsterdam Orphanage Apollo Schools CIEP Elementary Schools Mossbourne community school Chartwell School Vittra Telefonplan School La Terra Dei Bambini Dunfermline High School Vibeengskolen Lairdsland Primary School Fuji Kindergarten




RESEARCH & ANALYSIS “School design is one of the few areas in architecture today where designers are still able to define and influence human conditions. School buildings require striking a balance between use, performance and an architecture informed by education.” – Herman Hertzberger


We are a group of architecture students of the master’s programme at Robert Gordon University, in Aberdeen. As a unit, we are well into our two-year project that aims to understand whether architecture can have a positive impact on education and if we can influence the facilities that provide such a valuable service. Following a debate that occurred after a Scottish Primary school’s construction failed (Oxgangs Primary, 2016), we decided to investigate what went wrong with educational architecture in Scotland and what we, as architects, can do to improve the situation. In this volume, we research different forms of education worldwide and delve into the procurement methods, technologies and curriculums that are behind them in order to better our understanding of designing for the next generation. We aim to accumulate information on school design on a global level. This will provide us with a range of studies which we can then use to create an agenda towards the four main factors that we believe influence successful school design: educational policies, procurement systems, school programmes and construction methods. By analysing the best schools around the world, we will have the basis to form a discussion on how we can improve school design on an architectural level. We will also create an in-depth look at PPP (publicprivate partnership), the procurement processes in Britain and the implemented Curriculum for Excellence, comparing it to other teaching methods internationally. Finally, we will look at reference schools with the aim of forming an opinion on whether they are an effective form of design. Education is a vital part of development and the school building is where this happens on a daily basis. Therefore, it cannot simply be regarded as a building; a general curriculum or a physical entity. Its complexity lies is in its purpose and responsibility to educate and develop children in preparation for their futures. A school should be a place where children go with sparkling imaginations, fertile minds and a willingness to take risks in exploring the parameters of their learning capacities. They should leave the academic environment as well-rounded young adults who have bright futures and can adapt to a fast-paced world. Unfortunately, throughout Britain, there is a sense of disarray and unease in the education system due to the 2016 PISA results. It is our aim to change this and our duty as aspiring architects to create a body of research which analyses the best school designs throughout the world and in turn will allow us to create a positive impact on the education system in Britain. Throughout this publication, we will explore the topics that relate to the designing of educational spaces and attempt to compile a reasoning for certain failures in previous designs; identify solutions that can be applied to aspects throughout schools; and organise reasoning behind what makes a school great. Together, our unit can demonstrate an ambitious approach to school design that can be adapted to its surrounding context and suit the needs of the affected community.




Designing with the Curriculum The curriculum for excellence is a Scottish education programme put into practice within 2010 with the aim to improve how younger generations view their place in the 21st century world. In 2004 the Scottish Department for Education (DfE) conducted a project to develop a new curriculum that would suit the modern world and came up with

an approach that Scotland cannot seem to fully integrate. A decade after its planning and the curriculum for excellence is without any proof of excellence. Its methods have been deemed ‘vague’ and intangible by the very people that are teaching this, partially failing, curriculum.

Charles Follett .7

To define any curriculum, people would normally look at both the subjects taught within a school and the pupils that follow the content listed within these subjects. However, the new Curriculum for Excellence (CFE) is far more than just a ‘list’ of learning outcomes. It is a way to learn and develop, as a result of how they access that very curriculum. Children will see the curriculum differently to the practitioners that teach it. ‘It is viewed as a landmark development in Scottish education, hailed by its architects as ‘one of the most ambitious programmes of educational change ever undertaken in Scotland’ (Government, Scotland, 2008a, pp8). The Curriculum for Excellence was published in November 2004, the revised curriculum is a response to the realisation that our world is rapidly changing. Following a ‘National Debate on Education in Scotland’ the document published provides clear statements of the aims of education in Scotland, concepts which have long been implicit. We cannot look at previous curriculums as failed experiments. We can take precedence of the lack of research, education of teachers and theory to practice methods from our past curriculums. This should better our understanding of incorporating the new principles of the curriculum into our current system. The aim of CFE is to equip the pupils to become lifelong learners and educate them not just as workers/academics but as citizens, individuals that contribute to our society. This should, in effect, result in fewer lower paid jobs and create more opportunities within Scotland. The three main responsibilities of practitioners in the curriculum are: • Health and wellbeing • Literacy across learning • Numeracy across learning 8.

Fig 01. Abstracted from Curriculum for Excellence Document, the three responsibilities of practitioners. RESEARCH I CFE

It was established children would prefer to be immersed in active learning experiences rather than writing tasks. A large scale qualitative study found that the children perceived their curriculum as being boring, and quickly made a correlation between the volumes of writing they had to study and their learning outcomes for the year (Pollard & Triggs, 2000). This conveys that children see formal learning tasks as a chore in the workplace in comparison to the informal, practical education methods such as P.E and Crafting. In the early stages of development infants quickly manifest an idea of the ‘language of learning’ where ‘work’ opposes ‘play’ in the school environment (Wing, 1995). The Curriculum for Excellence is attempting to demonstrate a more general take on the concept of ‘work’ by blurring the lines between literacy and numeracy across the current subjects. By enforcing the three main responsibilities, practitioners are expected to link subjects together. However, it has been found that CFE is becoming a missed opportunity in most schools. Researchers at Stirling University studying CFE (Robinson & Biesta) have published that many schools have embraced the implications of the curriculum since its introduction in 2010, but others had only taken it on board due to its obligation. In these schools the practitioners felt the new curriculum was too ‘vague’ and that they lack the confidence and the passion to push the new educational policy forward in the learning environment. With the newly published PISA (programme for international student assessment) results of 2016 the curriculum is under more pressure now than ever before to reconcile for what is being called the “worst news for Scottish education in 30 years” (Seith, 2016). The results show the United Kingdom ranking 15/75 in the world, from our previous position of 6th. The study

analyses over half a million students from each country in science, numeracy and literature - two of which, the curriculum for excellence were meant to be projecting across learning. The results show statistical evidence of curriculum faults, however, the department of education in Scotland is to continue with the CFE programme and attempt to yet again better its practicality throughout Scottish schools. This resulting score could encourage the education department to enhance the systems in place and influence a deeper search for better ways to adapt the curriculum to our schooling. Currently, the results are more likely to worry practitioners and their methods of attempting CFE integration than help them. Although this mind-set can be caused by a great number of things; it can be due to the learning environment itself and how the teachers interact with their teaching space. In 2007 a publication examining the implications CFE has on school design was released, it was written with teachers, school managers and designers in mind (Building Excellence, 2007). Prior to the research behind Building Excellence, an inspirational seminar was held to discuss the ramifications that the new Curriculum has upon new school buildings and existing schools. ‘Building Excellence has shown so far that there is scope to help teachers and other school users better understand the ways in which the design and configuration of space impacts on learning and teaching’ (McKenzie, McMahon, Russel, Sweeney. 2007). The document takes precedence from Montessori methods relating to Herzberger’s schools and how they connect space and the surroundings to teaching independent learners. The design process of schools should exhibit the ‘Four Levels of Decision-Making’.



These consider the two points; long/ short-term decisions that affect a school building and the community that it thrives in. Building Excellence believes that the theory of the ‘extended school’ can work towards integrating the two together so much that the locked school gate concept (fig.xx) could become a thing of the past and instead we would entrust the community and the school not to have boundaries between them. Within architecture this is a risk to expose the students at school to the community without some form of certain protection. However, new learning environments that CFE could collaborate within should really have a more modern approach to pedagogy, as ‘space can be the catalyst for achieving pedagogical goals and improving performance’ (Worthington, 2007). With security and a sense of community in mind the school’s performance needs to be considered too. Without the statistical proof that a school is succeeding within the boundaries of the brief and the nature of its environment, the architecture that influenced it could be considered problematic. ‘The results of quantitative studies suggest that test scores can improve by up to 14% depending on the condition of the learning environment’, (Fisher, 2007). If the current reference schools begin taking similar studies, then projects can improve and learn from them. The issue with educational proof, however, is that the academic process takes at least 5 years to demonstrate whether the students are benefiting from the school or not. Basically, our Scottish curriculum is a drastic change in education and has the potential to fit well within our schools but without certain variables it is flawed. The challenge with tailoring a building to suit the Curriculum for Excellence is that it will be experimental and will only give an 10.

effect on learning after a long period. Research has taken a large step upon designing facilities to suit education based on their curriculum now that the typical classroom organisation is no longer relevant to modern teaching methods (Fisher, 2005). Much of the research has identified specific approaches to teaching in pedagogy that influence the environment. These approaches follow (Linking Pedagogy to space, 2007): • Delivering A traditional approach within a class; where the tutor presents to a whole class. • Applying A direct learning experience, for smaller groups or individuals; which allows focussed learning. • Creating A less structured space for pupil led learning (direct correlation to CFE method), with minimal input from tutor and teacher. • Communicating A group lead discussion method; where ideas can be shared easily and to everyone by all. • Decision-Making A ‘semi-formal’ meeting that defines leaders, but allows for discussion and interaction to make decisions. These spatial influences can shape a classroom and therefore progress the Curriculum for excellence. The curriculum aids group work and experiential learning to allow for children to grasp an idea of how to contribute with others, while individually creating a role for themselves. From the knowledge that pedagogy affects the classroom we can assume that the format therefore influences classroom design.


Fig 02. Sketches of the different approaches to teaching and how they work in a basic space. (Linking Pedagogy to Space, 2007) RESEARCH I CFE


When looking at classroom orientation, architects can also see potential in the organisation of the school and its massing qualities. The form of a school will evolve if the classrooms within it are structured to support their use. During procurement, the school must evolve to suit all stages of the academic term and its role in the community. For example, exam season would mean that the otherwise acoustically active auditorium must adapt to the silent sessions required at the end of term. Ideally, a school built to house the Curriculum would allow for every approach to pedagogy. Furthermore, a school that provides additional vocational spaces for teaching will allow for greater chance of future success (Brauns et al. 1997). It is a necessity that CFE aims to create valuable citizens and given the opportunity, students can gain fundamental life skills within a school through vocational learning (Government, Scotland 2008). Vocational teaching involves practical learning outcomes specific to employability such as joinery, nursing and architecture, which is substantially helpful to our society shown through the results of Brauns’ study (which is outdated in practice but maintains principles relevant to the Curriculum). If we provide the DfE with evidence of Curriculum for Excellence working in vocational spaces, then the funding for those extra classrooms could become a common brief requirement in reference schools (David Martindale, 2016). Children from a young age could be given the chance to learn various skills useful to the 21st century professions. The turn of the century has brought with it the advancements of ICT, where people are no longer bound to a single place when using technology. The connectivity of students – majority secondary – has increased drastically within the 12.

last two decades and so schools don’t necessarily require definitive borders with computer labs and fixed spaces. However, with regards to the curriculum, children will need defined areas that they can class as their own space. A key part of development in learning is the aspect of ‘belonging’, in where a child will need to feel a sense of security within their own school to form an attachment that will last for 6 years (Bergin & Bergin, 2009). Throughout most boarding schools, architects design ‘Home rooms’ or places that children are detached from the rest of the school to be with fellow peers. This is an aid to the sense of belonging that designers should integrate not only in boarding schools but public schools too. The Curriculum for Excellence enforces the idea that children should feel safe in a class to answer questions freely and it’s up to the architect to assist with this by making a friendly environment for them to settle into. As the pupils get older and develop within their school environment they need more space (Fisher & McBride Charles Ryan Architects 2007). They gradually obtain the need to explore and/or retreat to other spaces in a school. The issue with many schools is that unsupervised parts of the building attract bad behaviour which leads to bullying. CFE demands that children work together in the learning environment and resolve conflict in a controlled manner. Flexible screening and mobile equipment can allow for a sense of belonging and exploration in school spaces such as the library, gymn hall or atrium (fig.03). Spaces, which can represent the school’s identity are key for expressing what children expect in a school’s design. Outdoor spaces, vibrant designs and ‘distinctive architecture’ are all common themes that children want out of a school building (Sorrell Foundation, 2010). RESEARCH I CFE

An important aspect, that 21st century building school projects work with, is the inclusion of children during the design of their own learning space. From 2004 to 2006 designers such as BDP architects were involved in creating entire schools within the Academy Programme (Morse, 2010) with help from the Sorrell Foundation (2010). ‘We (BDP) did what we always do, which was the same briefing process that we’d go through in any project but with the kids. They were around 8-9 year olds some were even 7! It was fun because, of course, the first thing you must teach them is what an architect actually does. And so, that was quite a nice project, and it is true you do get a better building if you talk to the users. And it’s the same with any other building, but it’s doubly true if you are talking about buildings for young people’ (Papa, 2016).

Fig 03. Flexible learning environments.

From previous projects, we have learned that discussion between the users of the school and the architect leads to the building becoming a successful learning environment for the children as well as an integral part of the community. This leads to the next point of joint teaching and the mentality that children have while working collaboratively. The Building Excellence Programme refers to the Australian Education Department for inclusion of students throughout design, and mentions that in schools particularly secondary - the concept of CDIO (Conceive, design, implement and operate) is a growing trend in school design. The projects referenced show learning studios with glazed partitions above benches so that all age ranges are integrated together to understand the stages of learning that are to come. Within Scotland, these methods have been put into practice but they are awkward to teach with and have been known to cause disruptions (Government, Scotland 2005). Much of the new curriculum suits this ideology but doesn’t properly function within it. This can be due to the variable of ‘putting policy into practice’. The role of a teacher in a school is prioritised as the most important, this is why the curriculum for excellence must work well with both the teaching space and the teacher. The Curriculum for Excellence is adapted to the future generations in our ever-changing world. Therefore, the structures to hold such relevant education should adapt too in the most successful way possible. Scotland has taken a step back to assess the education systems in place but not as big of a step for assessing the buildings that support it. We only intervene with education facilities when the management situation seems difficult or the building is problematic. 2016, 6 years after implementation, and the curriculum is still struggling to fit into our learning environments. From research, we can identify the role of the architect in designing education facilities as an important factor, concerning curriculum and student performance. Therefore, the correlation of teachers and architects working together can be made and how they both affect the children within the school. Which, in turn, affects the schools design and the community that lives in its context. If the facility is positively received by its community as well as the staff and pupils inhabiting it then we can confidently say that the educational output would succeed. RESEARCH I CFE


References: Allan, Maggi. Seaman, Alastair. Prof. Worthington, John. Dr Fisher, Kenn. Cunningham, Anne. Stuebing, Susan. Duggan, Fiona. (December 14, 2007). Building Excellence: Exploring the implications of the Curriculum for Excellence for School Buildings. Scottish Government Publications. 1 (1), p03-p70. Bergin, C. and Bergin, D. (2009) ‘Attachment in the Classroom’. Educational Psychology Review, 21, pp.141-170.

Brauns, Michael and Muller, Walter (1997) ’Measurement of education in com- parative research’, Comparative Social Research 16: 163-201. Fisher, Kenn. OECD (2005) Innovation Education, by Director, Learning Futures, Rubida Research Pty Ltd. Government, Scotland. (December 2008). Technologies: principles and practice (What skills are developed in the technologies? ). Curriculum for Excellence: Experiences and Outcomes for all curriculum areas.. , pp302303. Available online, 3/12/16: resources/c/publication_tcm4539668.asp?strReferringChannel=learninga ndteaching&strReferringPageID=tcm:4-851852-64&class=l4+d218660 McKenzie, Calum. McMahon, Phil. Russel, Alan. Sweeney, May. (2007). Curriculum for Excellence: An overview. Building Excellence. 1 (1: Introduction and Background), p04. Morse, Amyas. Comptroller and Auditor General. (10 September 2010). The Academies Programme. Department for Education, p04-42. Availible online PDF : uploads/2010/09/1011288.pdf Papa, Kieth (2016), Interview with the director of BDP’s education sector, BDP Presentation: duration - 1:45:32. Pearshouse, Ian. Bligh, Brett. Brown, Elizabeth. Lewthwaite, Sarah. Graber, Rebecca. Hartnell-Young, Elizabeth. Sharples, Mike (2009). A Study of Effective Evaluation Models and Practices for Technology Supported Physical Learning Spaces. University of Nottingham. Pollard, A. and Triggs, P. (2000) What Pupils Say: changing the policy and practice in primary education, London; Continuum. Priestley M, Robinson S & Biesta GJJ (2012) Teacher Agency, Performativity and Curriculum Change: Reinventing the Teacher in the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence? In: Jeffrey B, Troman G (ed.). Performativity in UK education: ethnographic cases of its effects, agency and reconstructions, Painswick: Ethnography & Education Publishing. Seith, Emma. (2016). Pisa: ‘Five years left’ to save Scottish curriculum after shocking result. TES. 9th December edition. Sorrell (2010) Joinedupdesign - Sorrell Foundation. Engaging young people in youth-centre design. Joinedupdesign. 1 (1: Young People as Clients), pp13-15. Wing, L. A. (1995) Play is not the Work of the Child: young children’s perceptions of work and play, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 10, 223-247.




INTRODUCTION It could be said that one of the biggest issues with the construction of school buildings is the way they are procured. For example, the recent issues with PFI schools in Scotland. This essay outlines the primary methods of procurement for school buildings globally, with emphasis on the variations in Scotland.

Hannah Skyner .15

UK AND GLOBAL PPP – Public-Private Partnership is a contractual arrangement between a public agency and private sector entity. Through this agreement the skills and assets of each sector are shared in delivering a service or facility for the use of the general public. This system is used on a global scale and the majority of schools in all Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries are procured in this way. This procurement method involves the contractor or developer appointing an architect, leaving the architect vulnerable to the upper hand of the investor, contrary to the traditional procurement route which architects are used to. Many people from the architecture field such as the former RIBA president Jack Pringle have stated that: “PFI has now descended into farce. It has produced very poor results in terms of design, cost control and manageability, and now it can’t even finance itself.” The PPP model also incorporates an ethos qualitatively different from other procurement methods, known as “Design & Build” or “Build”. Included in the cost is a commitment not to let the schools run down. The service level and maintenance quality is specified and funded for the very long term, so that at the end of say 30 years, the facilities will still be of a very high quality. PPP enforces an ethos of accountability for all parties. Public and private sector partners work together and agree commitments to accomplish specific actions to a fixed timetable. These commitments have been enforced: There is now a track record of both governments and private sector PPP parties paying penalties for failing to hold up their end. This is an idyllic way of stating the role of PPP, communicated through a company who survive on these projects, therefore is dramatically bias. Yes, the aim of Public-Private Partnerships was stated as achieving these ideals; well-maintained public buildings, high 16.

quality which stands the test of time, accountability of all parties, public and private sectors working together but the reality is far from this. It is seen that PPP investment is here to stay as it is a valuable way of funding public buildings which the government wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. Many counties are experienced in procurement using PPP, some such as Finland, New Zealand and Puerto Rico have even started to use PPP to explore various models for schools. OECD counties use private investment for 84% of their funding, one exception is Finland who only uses private initiatives for 1% of their funding, the other 99% is solely from the government. In Switzerland, no matter what the percentage of private or public investment, all major construction projects are a public matter and referendums take place within the community to approve the project. GPE – Global Partnership for Education is an initiative set up to provide assistance to increase the domestic financing for education in developing countries. Sadly the level of aid has actually dropped by 16%, meaning that it is at the same level that it was in 2008. EPC – Energy Performance Contracting is an alternative model which finances energy efficient refurbishments by reinvesting the savings that are made once the refurbishments are implemented. Improvements are made by companies called Energy Service Companies (ESCos), they either invest in the project themselves or gain the initial finance from banks. The owner/user of the building is responsible for interest, sometimes the ESCo may receive a fee. EPC is established in Germany, Austria, UK and France and has proven successful in permitting or improving large energy efficiency investments. Other countries such as Finland have had difficulty with this approach on a large scale due to procurement issues and the implementation of energy performance contracts. RESEARCH I PROCUREMENT

UK PFI – Private Finance Initiatives are a way of creating PPP by funding public infrastructure with private money. PFIs are used to fund a variety of public services from NHS hospitals to police stations, street lights and of course schools. There is a vast amount of controversy around the initiative as it is essentially a way to remove expenditure from government spending, as it is a loan from a private party. However, it has meant that the government is in debt and owes billions of pounds to private investors who are gaining a hefty profit by renting the buildings to the public. The total repayment value stands at around four times the budget deficit for austerity cuts to government budgets and local services. There have been many issues with PFI as there is unclarity about who is responsible for the building. Some contracts incorporate maintenance and cleaning, however many initial investors sell the stakes in PFI schools for a profit and as the contract is sold and resold the owner of the building becomes drastically disconnected from the initial initiative. There are 93 PFI projects in Scotland - responsible for hundreds of schools, road, hospitals and energy projects - and worth more than £6 billion.



BSF – Building Schools for the Future was set up by the Labour government and announced by Tony Blair in 2009. The scheme has been referred to as the biggest school building programme since Victorian times and aimed to spend £55 billion on rebuilding every secondary school in England.

that a new central body should be set up to negotiate contracts with the construction industry. This review lead to Gove closing down the programme on 7th June 2011 stating that BSF had «massive overspends, tragic delays, botched construction projects and needless bureaucracy”.

The proposal was not solely about regenerating degraded schools but was about providing inspiring buildings, pupil access to new ways of learning and flexible spaces which would enable technology based independent learning as well as group learning. They sought out private investors to finance the scheme, these investors (much like PFI) were then responsible for carrying out the building works.

It is not unknown that Gove has very opinionated views of the role of the architect: «we won’t be getting any award-winning architects» to design new schools, «because no one in this room is here to make architects richer». The message is that a welldesigned environment is an irrelevance: teaching is all that matters. In some respects Gove is right, the BSF wasn’t as successful as it was intended to be however, this was not due to architects.

The process was lengthy, committees decided that the targets were too ambitious, the standard of build was poor and inadequate, head teachers were finding that the process took up too much of their time and the Conservatives began making political capital out of these issues. Changes to the programme did lead to schools of better quality being built, some even being classed as inspirational however, Gove commissioned a review, headed by Sebastian James of the Dixons group, to look at how school building should be carried out in the future. The James Review - published in April 2011 - recommended new schools be built to «standardised drawings», saying


Architects were rarely involved in these projects and are among the main group of people who also criticise the scheme. In other words, in the torrents of waste surrounding school building, good architects are value for money. If budgets get tighter, we will need their skills to make the most of them. If, as seems likely, future work is more about refurbishment rather than glamorous new buildings, architects’ adaptability will help. If there is more standardisation of new buildings, it needs design intelligence to do it well. Gove seems to think that architects are all bowtied ponces longing only to inflict their fantasies on the public. They could be his greatest allies.


Fig 01. Scottish PFI schools statistics from the BBC.

SCOTLAND PFI (or PPP) are not the only options for school procurement in Scotland, variations of the same principal have come into effect during recent years. NPD - Non Profit Distribution model was introduced with the objective of addressing political concerns around PFI and PP procurement. The key feature being that surpluses should be reinvested back to the community, instead of distributing dividends the Board of Directors of the Special Purpose Vehicle donate any surpluses to the charity. NPD was designed to be a variant model built on the knowledge and experience in existing PFI/PPP structures and makes use of existing standardised documentation, it is intended to improve stakeholder acceptability and participation. There are a number of concerns from the private sector around the limitation of equity; reducing the incentive for contractors to beat performance targets, diluting control meaning that the private sector bears the majority of financial risk and finally the reluctance to allow the private sector to refinance as a method of extracting financial return. It has been said from experience of NPD contracts that they significantly increase the level of complexity to infrastructure projects and is unlikely to reduce procurement lead times and cost, therefore is unlikely to be accepted as a replacement for PFI and PPP.



SFT – Scottish Futures Trust began when the Scottish National Party published a policy paper in 2006 titled ‘The Scottish Futures Trust – A better deal with Scottish Futures Bonds.’ The paper highlighted issues such as the £110 million per year that the taxpayers pay for the PFI loans and that PFIs were just set up as a ‘quick fix’ for building procurement. The SFT was set up as an alternative way for channelling public and private capital into infrastructure investment programmes and projects in Scotland. It runs on NPD principles, gaining funding through bonds and a variety of commercial financing instruments (at a lower rate than the borrowing rate for PFI schemes). SFT has similar aims to PFI; provision of assets and services to public authorities, provision of private finance to those who provide public services and the development of a centre of expertise to offer advice and support for public authorities. It works in an advisory capacity, not just a private company working for the public sector, much like Partnerships UK it offers additional services such as procurement advice and asset management. School Building Programme – facilitated by Scottish Futures Trust. In June 2009 the Scottish Government announced that £800 million would be invested into the £1.25 billion programme to


rebuild or refurbish around 55 new schools in Scotland by 2018. Due to adjusted market conditions the budget was brought forward and the total programme will now deliver 67 new or refurbished schools by March 2018. The programme is being funded via a mixture of capital grant and revenue support through NPD investment. HUB Initiative – This initiative was set up in 2006 by the Scottish Executive following the success of the BSF and LIFT programmes in England. HUB was developed in conjunction with Partnerships UK with the objectives to; provide enhanced local services through an increased scale of joint service delivery between community planning, establish more efficient and sustainable investment for the public sector, provide the ability to share learning between the public and private sectors to improve procurement strategy. The initiative was designed to operate in a similar way to LEP or LIFT, forming partnerships between local authorities, Partnerships UK and private investors. Unlike BSF and LIFT the HUB initiative was not specialised in delivering projects within a particular sector (NHS or education), it aimed to be flexible in order to meet the needs of the community, this was a good idea however resulted in the initiative being another form of PFI or PPP.


CONCLUSION In our opinion PPP is the most suitable procurement method for school design, to some extent this involves PFI - with limitations. PFI has many issues in its current state, it has been miss-sold to the investors as something which they can sell, re-sell and make countless profits on. It has been developed in a way that architects are contracted out of the design process, hindering the qualities that can be instilled into community buildings on low budgets. In an ideal scenario all public infrastructure would be funded 100% by the local government, a respected architect would be appointed, experienced contractors would produce the physical building which would then be maintained and utilised by its community, but frankly speaking there is not enough public money to allow all public facilities to be financed solely by the government therefore, private investors are necessary. The catch is that these investors need to be sold on the benefits that come with sticking to their contract, not selling it on, it is the selling on of PFIs that is one of the major flaws of its existence. Traditional procurement could be seen as the best solution for an all-rounded school development however, this is not suitable for neither the community, government nor the architect as the architect cannot provide all the services required by schools throughout their lifetimes. Architects do not have the personal resources to provide lifetime building maintenance, the ability to manage both the public and private sector nor should they feel compelled to do so. We feel for PPP to continue as a functional way of developing public instillations, a duty of care needs to be implemented. The companies and consortiums in charge with building and then the continual upkeep of these developments should consider the implications of passing over the contracts to the highest bidder and instead stand by their investment and honour their agreements to maintain the facilities to the highest standard.



References: PPP Supports Education.pdf Wamuziri.pdf




INTRODUCTION In the UK there are numerous types of Schools. This variety allows a place for many different people depending on their needs and requirements. It is important to have an understanding of what the different schools offer, who they are funded by and whether they follow the national curriculum or not as this can have a direct influence in the design. However, currently, the majority of schools have very little distinguishing features architecturally.

Julie Neilson .23

School Types in the UK

Faith schools

Four factors commonly define the different types of school in Britain:

They choose to teach religious studies, but still to follow the national curriculum in their classes. They also have a different method of obtaining staff and policies that apply, yet they cannot restrict who applies for a place. However, faith academies differ in the fact they are not restricted by the national curriculum and can teach their own.

(1) (2) (3) (4)

Who pays for the school? Who runs the School? The curriculum followed? Admission requirements?

State Schools All children aged 5 – 16 should be in education and therefore have a right to a free place in a state school. There are numerous types of state schools; most of which are required to follow the national curriculum: Community Schools These are governed by the local council where businesses or religious groups have no say in its running. Voluntary Schools These types of schools are freer to run differently than the Community School. Grammar Schools There are various types of these schools; ones run by a foundation body or trust, or run by the council. The main difference is the admittance into a Grammar School is based on academic ability, therefore is often an exam. Special Schools These are schools that host pupils above the age of 11 with special educational needs. These consist of 4 different specialised types: communication and interaction, cognition and learning, sensory and physical needs and social, emotional and mental health.


Free Schools These types of schools are not run by the local council but are funded by the government and therefore they have more control over how they run the school. The application process to these school are ‘all-ability’ therefore they cannot use a selection process like grammar school. They can, however, set their own pay and staff conditions, alter the length of school terms and the school day, and they do not have to follow the national curriculum. Free schools are not-for-profit groups that can be set up by: charities, universities, independent schools, community and faith groups, teachers, parents, businesses and university technical colleges. University Technical Colleges These specialise in engineering and construction teaching both these subjects while also encouraging business skills and using IT. They also study academic subjects which lead to technical qualifications. This curriculum is created by universities and employers who help to provide work experience for the pupils. situations. Students work together with local employers and a personal coach and following a curriculum specifically designed to give them skills for work.


There are a total of 163 grammar schools in England holding 167,000 pupils. School Standards and Framework Act 1998 prohibited the creation of any new grammar schools but the existing were permitted to continue. Scotland has nine grammar schools however other than a sense of prestige they are run exactly the same as other state schools.

Studio Schools These tend to be smaller with roughly around 300 pupils. Their key education plan is to deliver mainstream qualifications through project-based learning. This creates a combination of learning academic subjects as well as working in realistic situations. Students work together with local employers and a personal coach and following a curriculum specifically designed to give them skills for work. Academies Again these are publicly funded independent schools which do not have to follow the national curriculum but do have the same admission rules, exclusions and special educational needs as state schools. Academies get their money straight from the government and not by the local council. It is an academy trust who employs the staff. Academies occasionally have sponsors; for example, businesses, universities, other schools, faith groups or voluntary groups. The sponsors help to improve the performance of the schools.

The admission process to state boarding schools will prioritise the individual’s requirement and suitability to board. When families struggle with the boarding fee charities – such as Buttle UK or The Royal National Children’s Foundation – can help with the cost. Private Schools With private schools attendance is subsidised by a fee. Therefore they are funded by the students as opposed to the government. These schools do not have to teach the national curriculum. They are often referred to as independent schools. It is required that all private schools be registered with the government and are frequently inspected by Ofsted or School Inspection Service. Furthermore, there are Private schools that have specialised in educating children with special needs.

City Technology Colleges Around 6.5% of the population opt to send their children to a Private School. On average this will cost the parents £286,000 to send one child through school. In a survey conducted a third believed it was a necessary investment into the future of their child.

These are independent schools located in the urban environment which are free to attend. They are funded and owned by both companies and the central government – not the local council. They boast an emphasis on developing skills in technological and practical skills. State Boarding Schools State Schools charge for the boarding fees but provide free education. These can be run by local councils but some are run as free schools or academies. RESEARCH I TYPES OF SCHOOL


References: BBC. (2015). Different Types of Schools. Available: Last accessed 10th December 2016. BBC. (2015). Private education ‘costs £286,000’ on average. Available: Last accessed 10th December 2016. Bolton, Paul. (2016). Grammar School Statistics. House of Commons Library Briefing Paper. 1398. New Schools Network. (2015). Comparison of different types of school: A guide to schools in England. Available: http://www.newschoolsnetwork. org/sites/default/files/files/pdf/Differences%20across%20school%20 types.pdf. Last accessed 10th December 2016.




INTRODUCTION The structure of education systems is not necessarily a primary concern for those who study architecture and design, however it is a crucial aspect of how schools operate and is something which can drastically vary from country to country. The diversity of these systems could have a crucial impact on how school buildings are designed, for example, a high school in the United States may have different facilities to a technical secondary school in Germany.

Hannah Skyner .27

Fig 01. Mapping of the OECD figures for Mathematics and Science results of 15 year olds

OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) and PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) statistics have become extremely popular and readily available to the public in recent years. The difference in the PISA results from 2012 to 2015 perhaps enforces why factors such as discipline are important in school academia. The structure of the education system is one way in which the schooling bodies can enforce discipline, creating a simple or complex route and hierarchy of education can provide a method of learning which is individual or uniformed for each student.



Fig 02. Graph of the PISA results for Scotland, BBC, 6 December 2016

Our comparison has focussed primarily on the structure of the education systems which are representative of the wider global structures. There are many similarities but various countries offer specialist secondary schools as part of the state system, rather than a private alternative. Of course, private alternatives are available for subjects such as sport and the arts however, we have found that these schools still follow the structure of the country that they are in (unless stated that they are an international school), therefore have not highlighted them in the overall system structure analysis. The significant global difference is in the education options which are provided by the government. Many of us are familiar with the structure in the United Kingdom, it offers a limitation in respect to specialised schools however, this means


that students can gain a broader knowledge of an array of subjects from one school, choose subjects which interest them and specialise in subjects if they wish to pursue them at university or for future careers. Many other European countries make it compulsory for students to choose their speciality more literally by going to a secondary school which teaches the core subjects but specialises and focuses on either science/technology, vocational subjects or has a more academic curriculum. This system means that architecturally the schools could have very different learning spaces, either primarily classroom spaces or more of a workshop based learning environment. When choosing the site for our design the structure of the countries education system is something which must be considered and adhered to.




References: asian_schools/section2/2000/03/an-international-comparative-study-of-school-curriculums.html The Structure of the European Education Systems 2014/15: Schematic Diagrams November 2014. European Commission. Eurydice – Facts and Figures, Education and Training. (pdf document)




INTRODUCTION Standardised school design refers to the use of a singular design solution repeated for widespread implementation and aims to provide systematic design that can be broken up to represent the standardisation of the process, dimension and coordination of buildings, plus their components and assemblies. The concepts general focus is to represent two main ideals, that being the creation of standard school plans and the development of industrialised building systems. Whilst in most cases, these themes are not independent of each other,

they do however represent a spectrum within which innovation in standardised school design is emerging internationally. In the UK, this is fuelled by increasing pupil enrolments in primary schools and secondary schools, with projections respectively of up to 336,000 and 547,000 more pupils in 2024 than in 2015 (Department for Education, 2015). It is therefore unquestionable that the provision of schools demands and needs will require progressive and potentially radical revision as the demand for new schools grows.

Stewart Rees .33

James Review In 2011, the Education Funding Authority (EFA) launched an independent ‘Review of Education Capital’ lead by James Sebastian to which it aimed to develop a more efficient understanding of spending in the time of post-recession austerity. Controversially, the results concluded that the future of school-building lies in low-cost standardised solutions, recommending the compilation of a suite of drawings and specifications of schools which could be applied across a range of projects. This approach had been given the initial guidance to reduce costs as opposed to explore architectural influences and bespoke school infrastructure design. This manifested itself as the ‘baseline’ drawings as opposed to the initially intended detailed designs. These templates feature a series of designs covering a range of school types and sizes, marking the UK’s shift back towards standardised school manufacture without exploring the greater appreciation of contextual architectural design. A position heavily criticised by scholars. The review information is claimed to initially exist to help finalise briefs and aid discussions with local planning departments and as stated they can provide a basis for ‘contractors to develop them into detailed schemes or propose alternatives’. The designs have been experimentally used in the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) to help deliver on area and cost allowances with the intention that client feedback will gradually

improve and develop this database of designs. Furthermore, the report enforces a level of restrictive design, imposing maximum rooms sizes and storey heights as well as restricting building shapes calling for “simple, orthogonal forms” with “no curves or ‘faceted’ curves” and having “minimal indents, ‘dog legs’ and notches in the plan shapes”. This approach has since prompted critically opposing responses from the RIBA expressing opinion suggesting that“the proposed ‘flat pack’ approach is inflexible and will deprive students and teachers of quality environments that are proven to support teaching and learning”. “In these times of austerity of course we need to cut our cloth on all spending, however the government’s proposals for the design and construction of future schools are far too restrictive with too much focus on short term savings” said RIBA president Angela Brady (Dunlop, 2016) These comments express that within the UK and the embracing standardised school design approach as a cost saving measure is supporting an ‘anti-architect’ and ‘anti-design’ movement and ultimately encouraging level of detachment from the school and its building, its location, its history and most importantly its pupils.

Fig 01. Sketch of Ground Floor Plan. Example of 105 place primarry school included in baseline designs.



Fig 02. Lairdsland Primary School (Right): open plan layout with amphitheatre staircase. (ArchDaily, 2016)

Reference Schools The concept of the reference school is a ‘Scotland’s Schools for the Future’ programme managed by Scotland’s Future Trust (SFT), an organisation formed by SNP to counter the heavily criticised Public Private Partnership (PPP) school. Stemming from the cost-saving ideology that formed the basis for the James Review, the reference school set out an approach whereby standardisation did not necessarily equate to a degradation in the quality of school design. Most importantly, rather than replicating the school design directly, the ‘design principles’ are intended to be transcribed in a scalable, rational and bespoke design that retains an element of adaptability to reflect the challenges of the site and the needs of the client eg. the inclusion of community use. In 2012, SFT invited two architects – Reiach and Hall as well as Walters and Cohen - to separately provide proposals for the reference school in collaboration with east Dunbartonshire Council for Laidsland Primary School in Kirkintilloch. The winning design submitted by Walters and Cohen featured many interesting architectural ideas revolving around an ‘association of spaces’- spatial


relationships between formal and informal areas with the implementation of traditional classrooms delivering a template to reference. The key benefit, as with other forms of standardisation, is the huge financial savings as stated by Grant Robertson -SFT associate director and leader of the Schools for the Future programme- stating that councils now: “have a tried and tested architectural concept at their fingertips, ready to use immediately without having to embark upon lengthy procurement processes that suck in resources and waste time and money”. The specification quality although might at first be of an admirably high standard, it becomes a concern that through standardisation, certain ‘crucial’ elements of the design whilst initially successful may become lost. Essentially, the reliance on the initial design- which should embody the ethos of a school, will become weakened with replication. As each reference school development implements a level of cost control relative to their budget, there is potential for important elements of the initial design to get value engineered out, leaving further interpretations just a shell of the original. .35

Building Systems In light of the James review and a proven uptake of standardised school design, contemporary prefabrication and modular construction methods have been developed for use with schools. Historically standardised building systems such as CLASP and LSP were used, however they were not without fault. With the ever advancing building technology, modern building systems are exploring new solutions to an old problem, as seen with the ADAPT system by Wates and Capita Symonds- a direct response to the James review (Wates, 2016). Invariably, the factory in which these systems are manufactured provides a controlled setting from which the quality of materials, construction and finish can be monitored. Furthermore, prefabricated systems should allow for a time efficient assembly onsite and thus for a much faster build system. Crucially this permits an adaptable approach to school provision with the use of system that can react quickly to changes in enrolment. Whilst this can be hugely beneficial and can save significantly on costs, the profitability is largely dependent on the use of a simple standardised plan that can be repeated. Moreover, with systems such as these, less time and attention is afforded to the design quality and

specific needs of the client and often the end product meets the minimum legal requirements with regards to energy performance, fire safety, security and accessibility. Build systems generally take two forms, that being; temporary/ semipermanent and permanent, both with very different considerations towards implementation. Temporary and semi-permanent systems, meet an urgent need for additional space with the added benefit of being easily dismantled and moved. The alternative permanent system is appropriate for long periods of use, providing a more attractive alternative to container classrooms and minor school expansions that don’t offer the same delivery time or degree of flexibility. The implementation of a standardised building system universally could see the construction of schools grow more relevant to student population changes with the ability to expand and contract when required. This is an often overlooked aspect of school design, where in the past schools have failed to future proof in anticipation of an increasing enrolment, resulting in poor extensions and the use of ‘portable’ classrooms being an all too common solution.

Fig 03. CLASP school, pictured in 1960, designed by Dan Lacey, county architect at Nottinghamshire County Council



‘It’s a brave city that says, “Here is our standard school and we are building it everywhere.”’ - Mairi Johnson, former deputy design director of the Education Funding Agency. (British Council, 2013)

This subsequent use of a building system across multiple schools would see a similar aesthetic or form, inherent of modular systems but not necessarily constrained to the same design and layout. This approach becomes critically important in the construction design as to inform the internal spaces which may seem a backwards and confused rhetoric to consider that the classroom is shaped by the building system. Furthermore, a similar aesthetic could be critiqued as damaging a school’s identity and individuality as it conforms to an image that is repeated elsewhere. As seen with Niemeyer’s CIEP schools in Brazil, there is the potential for this ‘bold’ image to become iconic for and against quality education (British Council, 2016), just as other civic buildings such as churches are an instantly recognisable building in any city. Even if a balance could be sought between the two competing ideas of architectural greatness and standardisation, compromises would have to be made regardless.

To conclude, with any truly standardised system the design programme will naturally be very short, primarily focusing internal and site specific design. The more ‘off the shelf’ the solution, the less design time required inherently, as such the length of construction programme time is dependent on construction methods employed. Pre-fabrication and offsite solutions require less on site time assembling parts allowing for a cheaper and more adaptable system, however this approach has been intrinsically under review by Geert Leemans (2011) to its effectiveness. The overall cost however is primarily reduced by the shear simplicity associated with standardised designs and efficiencies in the design approach taken regardless of suitability , however great design cost will ultimately be reduced as replication on certain elements are always in competing view of the economies of scale that are always factored in by financial restrictions.


tablishment design by forcing design teams to work to very specific, prescribed constraints, rather than placing trust or conveying the benefits of the in the creative process by delivering architecture which will benefit and focus on the children need rather than monetary constraints. Where the concept of the reference school begins to bridge the gap between full standardisation of schools and a design-led approach there is potential for a state of equilibrium of demand and budget, whereby achieving a balance that allows for more money spent on each school and the benefits are valued by the community and local authority alike.

It could be considered conceptually an industry bottleneck that with such strict education budgets that generic standardisation is becoming a reality in school design. It has to be realised that with this approach they stand to ignore the bespoke requirements of each individual school whilst also remove elements of architectural flair, cultural and environmental appreciation as governmental backing of cheap, poor quality, unambitious and uninspiring schools becomes the norm. Standardisation however, in this sense is a restrictor of innovation and affecting the future of educational es-



References: ArchDaily. (2016). Lairdsland Primary School / Walters & Cohen. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Dec. 2016]. (2016). Ciep | Argosfoto. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Dec. 2016]. “Can Good Architecture Be One-Size-Fits-All? | British Council”. N.p., 2013. Web. 18 Nov. 2016. “Completion Of Reference Design Lairdsland Primary School | Morgan Sindall Professional Services”. N.p., 2016. Web. 18 Nov. 2016. (2016). Construction Manager - On Site. [online] Available at: on-site/framework-schools/ [Accessed 7 Dec. 2016]. Department for Education, (2015). National Pupil Projections - Future Trends in Pupil. Department for Education. Dunlop, Alan. “Lairdsland Primary School By Walters & Cohen”. Architects Journal. N.p., 2016. Web. 15 Nov. 2016. Dunton, Jim. “Expert Warns Small Standardised Schools ‘Are Set To Stay’”. Architects Journal. N.p., 2016. Web. 19 Nov. 2016. Frearson, Amy. “UK Government Bans Curved School Buildings”. Dezeen. N.p., 2016. Web. 15 Nov. 2016. James, Sebastian. Review Of Education Capital. 2011. Web. 9 Nov. 2016. Stewart, Peter et al. “Standardised Design For Schools: Old Solutions New Contexts?”. OECD Centre for Effective Learning Environments (CELE) International web conference seminar series (2011): n. pag. Print. Watson, Philip. “Standardised School Designs: It Ain’t What You Do, It’s The Way You Do It”. Building. N.p., 2012. Web. 15 Nov. 2016. Wates. (2016). Whitmore Park Primary School | Wates. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Dec. 2016].



INTRODUCTION A Free School is a type of academy which is a non-profit, independent, state funded school which is free to attend. Unlike more traditional schools, the idea behind Free Schools is that they can be created anywhere, such as in an old fire station, an office block or even a disused gin factory. Not only can these schools be created anywhere they can also be started by anyone, such as charities, teachers, parents or community and

faith groups. The only thing these people need to do is prove that their school is needed. These schools also create the opportunity to provide a more specialist school, from science, to music, sport, or a particular faith ethos, while also providing a broad and balanced education. Free Schools are a way of creating unique schools which offer a wider range of education to the local community.

Nathan Noble .39

One of the most important parts of setting up a free school is getting children to attend. Free Schools do not inherit children from their catchment areas but rather have to recruit them from other schools. This is a very important aspect as the school needs to enrol 120 pupils in order to receive the full funding. If a school does not manage to recruit 120 children they can still open, however they must pay back a certain amount of the funding to the EFA (Education Funding

Agency), in relation to the number of children they are short. There are various ways of recruiting children for a Free School, some of the most common are standing outside of primary schools talking to parents and by organising meetings. There is however, a concern of why would a parent want to send their children to a Free School that has only just been established and has no track record? The answer is in hope of getting a better education. 67% of Free School are set up in deprived areas and are

Fig 01. Drawing of East London Science School’s temporary building The Clock Mill



created in order to raise standards, as the local schools in the area are not performing well, meaning for some parents it is a risk, “bust it’s a risk worth taking” (David Perks, Principle of The Science School) in hope of a better education. This risk however does have some benefits towards the school, it means that parents are usually more engaged within the school and want to know what is going on. It means that parents will

always turn up for parents evening and that when there is a problem within the school they are more likely to help, therefore parents become more loyal to the school.

Free Schools consist of two main phases, the temporary site, and the permanent site. As previously mentioned the temporary site can be in any disused building and is only used until a permanent site is found and a new school is built. The Science School in East London (a case study we have visited) is currently going through this process and is waiting for their permanent school to be built. In order to obtain their temporary site David Perks (Principal of the Science School) had to go around different sites with the EFA in order to find one which was suitable. They will then decide which

sites can be bought and which are most suitable for the school, before buying one. This can be a strenuous task due to the politics of who owns the land, David went around over 20 sites before finding a suitable one (an old gin factory). Once a temporary site is obtained the building must be converted into a school. David only had 6 weeks to do this with the help of contractors appointed by the EFA. This was a very hectic period however they “opened bang on time, with paint very wet” (David Perks). Once the temporary school is opened the project moves onto phase 2, finding a permanent site

Fig 02. Drawing of a child doing a science expirement. Example of a specialist schoo.



and building a new school. This phase is meant to be completed within 2 years and should run smoother than phase 1 did. The Science School found a permanent site behind West Ham tube station, a site which used to be an old postal sorting office. The land was owned by Barclays Homes and a deal was struck in order to purchase the land. The EFA had to pay Barclays Homes not for the cost of the land but for the loss of income to Barclays Homes. This deal meant that the new school was part of a development by Barclays Homes which also included residential, commercial, work units and the school. The school is now passed over to the Architects who are now essentially the developers. The architect is tasked with designing a new school for 1,000 pupils with input from David. Due to the nature of the project the DFE (Department for Education) has the say on cost, which means that the school is going to be kept as cheap as possible and anything that is seen as extravagant

will be charged to Barclays Homes. In most cases this meant that the extravagant parts will be changed and made cheaper, usually resulting in the building been a giant box. As the budget is so cheap the DFE originally wanted to build a tower block with the school at the bottom and residential above. This would have saved on cost as Barclays Homes would have been able to sell the houses. This luckily was never followed through and was seen as a ridiculous idea. Once the school has been designed it is passed back to the EFA who produce the procurement procedure and control the contractors. When the school is finally completed it is handed over to David, and the Trust who effectively become landowners. They are now free to run the school themselves, including managing their own budgets and employing their own staff. The new permanent school for the Science School is due to open in 2020.

Fig 03. Drawing of East London Science School’s temporary building The Clock Mill



Over their time of operation, Free Schools have brought many benefits to local communities and have been wildly popular with over 400 opening in the last 5 years. They have brought a new form of education to deprived areas and have managed to increase performance levels throughout, while also offering various specialised forms of education to the local community. Free Schools have allowed people who feel they can offer a better education to children an opportunity to do so. In ways, they have also succeeded in steering school designs away from a standard copy and paste job, into something more unique and interesting, through their use of any available site. However, despite these benefits the government is starting to move away from Free Schools it has become known that they don’t work. In an educational sense the schools work brilliantly and are helping to improve grades, however from a financial point of view they are not cost effective. This is because they must pay for a temporary site as well as costs for turning the site into a school and bills to run the school through its time of occupation, while they wait for a permanent site. Cost may also be added if the school expands and needs more teaching space. This usually results in more temporary sites being bought instead of extending the existing one, again adding to cost of renovation and bills to run the school. This is seen as a waste of money by the government and could result in Free Schools been a thing of the past.



References: David Perks, transcript from interview Network, N.S. (no date) Free schools: Did you know? Available at: http:// (Accessed: 9 December 2016) Types of school (2016) Available at: free-schools (Accessed: 9 December 2016).




INTRODUCTION In 1907 Dr Maria Montessori introduced the Montessori Method, a method of teaching aimed at providing children with a rich learning environment based around self-directed activity, hands on learning and collaborative play. Achieved through a prepared environment which would encourage children to explore, communicate and develop relationships on all levels, as well as providing them with a space in which they can develop at their own pace. Originating in Italy the method quickly spread across Europe before later reaching as far as America and India. Montessori’s influence extends across the globe and is still a teaching method in use today.

Nathan Noble .45

Maria Montessori Born on 31st August 1870, in Chiaravalle Italy, Maria Montessori commenced her journey to create the Montessori Method in 1893, with her studies of medicine at the University of Rome. In 1896 she graduated as a doctor of medicine and in 1897 obtained a place as a voluntary assistant in the University psychiatric clinic. It was during this time her interest in education grew, through her job which required her to visit various asylums in Rome and observing mentally disabled children. It was through studying these children that led her to the works of 19th century physicians and educators Jean Marc Gaspard Itard and Edouard Seguin. It was through Itard’s work that she discovered the influence that provided her with the means to develop her own system of education for children with mental disabilities. Over the years, Montessori’s work with mentally disabled children continued and her interest for education grew. In 1897 she presented a lecture at the National Congress of Medicine in Turin, concerning the societal responsibility for juvenile delinquents and the importance of their education. This led to her writing several articles which suggested for special teacher training for mentally disabled children

was required as well as special institutes and classrooms for them. She presented these articles in 1898 at the First Pedagogical Conference of Turin. This work earned her the position as councillor of the National League for the Protection of Retarded Children in 1899. Montessori’s extensive work with mentally disabled children allowed her the opportunity to present a lecture on special methods of education to help mentally disabled children at the teacher training school at the Collage of Rome. The same year she also underwent a two-week national lecture tour on the education of mentally disabled children, often presenting to prominent public figures, as a way of sharing her research with others. In 1900 the Orthophrenic School for teacher training in the education of mentally disabled children was opened, of which Montessori was the co-director. The school taught psychology, anatomy and philosophy of the nervous system, anthropological measurements, causes and characteristics of mental disability, and special methods of instruction. The various teachings gave the pupils an understanding of the mental disabilities effecting children and the best way to aid them in an educational sense. The school was a great success, attracting 64 teachers in the first class alone

Fig 01. (left) Maria Montessori

Fig 02. (right) Maria Montessori observing children



During the two years Montessori worked at the school she developed methods and materials which would help children who were believed to be unteachable to pass public examinations set for “normal” children. On seeing that these exams could be passed by mentally deficient children Montessori turned her attention to the mainstream form of teaching and would adapt these methods to be used on fully abled children. After two years of working at the Orthophrenic School, Montessori left to begin an education in philosophy, (at the time philosophy included psychology) at the University of Rome. She studied theoretical and moral philosophy, as well as the

history of philosophy and psychology, but failed to graduate. She also carried out independent studies in anthropology and education philosophy, while conducting various observations and experimental research in elementary schools. In this time, she also revisited the works of Itard and Seguin. The studies she carried out and experiments she conducted provided her with the basis for the development of a new curriculum which would stem from her existing method for teaching mentally disabled children. This new method would be a more specialised and ordered system of education which would be applied to mentally abled children and would be known as the Montessori Method of teaching.

Fig 03. Drawing of children using Montessori’s material



Early Montessori Schools: On January 6th 1907 the first Montessori school was opened in the San Lorenzo District of Rome. The school was called Casa dei Bambini (children’s house) and provided education for 60 working class children from low income families aged between 2 and 7. This provided Montessori with her first chance to apply her new teaching method to mentally able children, and to develop it further. The classroom was originally equipped with; a teachers table, a blackboard, a stove, small chairs, armchairs,

group tables for the children and a locked cabinet to house Montessori’s teaching materials. The children were educated in things such as personal care (dressing and undressing), care of the environment (dusting and sweeping) and care of the garden. Montessori did not teach the children directly but rather observed and watched over the classroom work. The day-to-day teaching, under Montessori’s guidance, was provided by the porter’s daughter. Montessori did not teach directly due to her commitments to research and other professional activities.

Fig 04. Drawing of girl learning to cook

Through observation of the children Montessori noticed periods of deep attention and concentration, multiple repetitions of activity, and a sensitivity to order within the environment. She recognised that when children were given free choice of an activity they would naturally gravitate towards more practical activities as well as her own materials over toys. She also noticed they were unmotivated by sweets and other rewards. As her research and observations continued she noticed the children started to form their own sense of self-discipline. These observations allowed Montessori to further develop and build on her existing 48.

teaching method. She began to alter the current classroom furniture, replacing it with child size furniture which they could easily reorganise as well as placing child-size materials in easily accessible places. She expanded on the current curriculum to incorporate more exercise based on care for the environment and oneself, such as; flower arranging, hand washing, gymnastics, care of pets and cooking. She altered the classroom itself to include large open air sections allowing the children to move freely between different areas. Through these changes to the environment and curriculum, Montessori came to the conclusion RESEARCH I MONTESSORI

that if children were allowed to work independently they would become self-motivated to reach new levels of understanding and a level of selfgovernment would be developed. With the success of the first Casa dei Bambini a second school was opened on April 1907. With children under the education of the new programme showing increased concentration, attention and selfdiscipline, Montessori began to experiment with teaching materials to help with reading and writing. She created various teaching materials which included: sandpaper letters mounted on board, moveable cutout letters and picture cards. These new materials proved to be very successful, with children between the ages of 4 and 5 gaining a proficiency in reading and writing far superior than their expected age. The

children would interact with these materials independently without direction. The success of the schools and education gained the attention of prominent educators, journalists and public figure and resulted in the opening of three more Case dei Bambini schools in 1908. This also led to Italian Switzerland replacing their educational curriculum with the Montessori method. As word spread about Montessori’s new teaching method and its effectiveness, Montessori began holding teacher training course in her new method as well as writing a book describing her observations and methods, titled: “Il Metodo della Pedagogia Scientifica Applicato All’Educaziona Infantile Nelle Case Dei Bambibi (The Method of Scientific Pedagogy Applied to the Education of Children in the Children’s House).

Fig 05. Drawing of an example of one of Montessori’s materials to help learn primary colours

In 1909 Montessori’s work and reputation started to spread on an international level, gaining her the attention of various international observers. By 1911 the Montessori Method had been adopted into Italian and Swiss public schools, as well as being planned for Britain. 1912 saw Montessori schools opening in Paris and many other Western cities, with Argentina, Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Syria, the United States, and


New Zealand planning their own. London, Johannesburg, Rome, and Stockholm had already adopted the method into their public-school systems. Montessori societies started to form in Britain and the United States and the first Internal Montessori Training Course was held in Rome, in 1913. The Montessori Method was slowly becoming recognised worldwide as a new form of education.


The Montessori Method The Montessori Method is a form of education that encourages the development of a child’s natural abilities and their own initiative, through practical play, self-directed activity and hands on learning. The method aims at creating independent learners who develop at their own speed, while also aiding teachers in better understanding child development. In order to achieve this level of specific learning children are divided into three age groups;

2-2.5 years, 2.5-6 years and 6-12 years all of which had their own specific environments designed to meet the children’s individual needs. The Montessori Method stemmed around the idea that children “were inherently good and that, if allowed to develop freely, they felt connected to everything and were naturally caring to each other and the world around them.” The job of the teacher is to guide children into achieving their full potential using the tools outlined by Montessori.

Fig 06. (left) Drawing of children being observed by teacher while she plays with building blocks

Fig 07. Drawing of two children working together to solcve a task

Order plays a huge role within the method. Order allows a child to develop a sense of recognition, whilst also helping to train the memory. This is done through the environment as every object has its own individual space, to which it belongs, helping a child to recognise the space and also encouraging them to memorise where each object belongs. Awareness is created within a child providing them with a sense of security and making them feel safe within the classroom. In addition it also develops on existing experiences. When designing a Montessori classroom a great deal


of importance should be placed on order within the environment and it should be ensured that it is easily accessible to children. This includes child sized furniture and storage that allows all materials to have their own specific place. By doing this it allows children to have the maximum amount of freedom enhancing their ability to develop and learn. You can observe in the Fuji Kindergarten case study that the architect has opted to create Paulownia boxes that are child sized and can be used as furniture. The boxes are also light which allows them to be easily re-organised by the children depending on their needs.


Fig 08. Drawing of creative play with Paulownia boxes at Fuji Kindergarten

A key element of the method is helping children to learn through their senses. It has been observed by Montessori that one of the main ways children increase their experiences of the world is through their senses. On recognising this Montessori developed a series of tools which would help children to develop their understanding of the world. The materials were often brightly coloured and were of the highest craftsmanship in order to encourage children to play and experiment with them. Each of the materials were designed to focus on a single sense while isolating the rest, in an attempt to encourage children to further explore and develop these senses. Various materials were used in order to deal with all the different senses a child uses. Over time it has been proven that Montessori’s observations were correct, with the materials still been reproduced and used in schools of various teaching methods today. Freedom is seen as the most important element in the Montessori Method as it encourages children to develop as independent, natural learners. The idea of freedom is created through the environment which allows children to move freely,

following their natural impulses and developing as individuals. Fuji Kindergarten has opted to create this sense of freedom through a completely open plan with internal perimeter walls that slide open to give children access to an interior courtyard space. This allows children full freedom to navigate around the kindergarten as well as orientating between inside and outside spaces. The environment is designed to emphasise a child’s creativity allowing them to interact with their surroundings in various ways. The tool of freedom was not just used to create independence but also to encourage social development and for children to learn through others. As children were free to move around they were also free to observe and interact with other children creating social understanding. It allowed children to form relationships with one another and created a caring atmosphere where children could work in harmony. This sense of freedom also created a sense of self-discipline where children would choose to work over socialising. Furthermore it exposed children to different cultures and upbringings, expanding their knowledge of the world.



Fig 09. Drawing of children washing thier hands creating social interaction

Within the Montessori Method there are two forms of physical teacher, the “big” teacher and the “little” teacher. The “big” teachers are known as Directresses as their role is to sensitively direct children and observe them rather than teaching them. They are seen more as psychologists as they encourage children to teach themselves whilst observing their actions, and directing them to achieve the best they can. The second form of teacher, the “little” teacher refers to the children themselves. As the children are

grouped into three age groups rather than individual ages they are encouraged to learn from each other, usually from older children in their class. Montessori recognised that younger children find it easier to learn by observing and listening to older children and is seen as a more natural form of learning. This idea of “little” teachers also emphasises the idea of freedom as it encourages children to move around and interact with children of all ages, as a way to broaden their horizon.

Fig 10. Drawing of children working independently on seperate tasks



One of the main focuses of the method is processes not results. Children are natural learners, who when allowed to follow their instincts, are happier, have more self-confidence and have more self-discipline. Unlike adults, children are excited by work and enjoy the process, not the end result, they don’t see work as a burden. They will often continuously repeat activities to fulfil an inner need even though the end result is always the same, something which an adult would see as a hassle. It is at the point when children are forced to do something that the enjoyment of learning leaves them, which is why the Montessori Method allows them to be independent and free learners. Montessori Schools work on this principle of children being natural

learners and allow them to follow their own instincts as it will allow them to constantly explore the world around them. They believe children only care about results which make them feel good about themselves and that external demands such as tests will halt the learning process and enjoyment, thus as a result Montessori Schools do not have grades or tests. They see grades as a negative aspect which can make children doubt themselves and fear the learning process, resulting in them hating learning and no longer seeing it as an enjoyment.The aim of the Montessori Method therefore is to allow children to develop at their own pace in an encouraging environment where they can enjoy learning.

Fig 11. Drawing of children working with Montessori materials while been observed by a Directress

The environment plays a huge role in education, coming second only to the methods itself and of course the children. “The environment is certainly secondary in the phenomena of life. It can modify, as it can assist or destroy, but it can never create. The source of growth lies within� (Montessori, 1986, p.61). This puts an immense amount of pressure on architects to create an environment which will stimulate children and enhance their learning experience as opposed to hindering the process. When designing a school based on the Montessori Method there are several factors an architect should consider; freedom, beauty and atmosphere, nature, didactic materials, community life and order. Vague in their description it

is up to the architect to interpret them to create a rich learning environment. These design parameters not only refer to the spatial layout of the school but also refers to the physical qualities and elements of a space. The impact certain materials have on children must be considered as well as which materials to utilise on various planes such as the floor or ceiling. This also looks at the heights of windows and doors, as well as types of fixtures and furnishings. Furthermore, an architect should consider other elements such as colour scale texture, light and shape. All of these aspects have different effects on children and have the potential to either enhance or hinder the learning process.



References: De Jesus, R. (1987) ‘Design Guidelines for Montessori Schools’, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. Hainstock, Elizabeth 1997. The Essential Montessori: An Introduction to the Woman, the Writings, the Method, and the Movement. Rev&Updtd Edition. Penguin Group USA. Kocher, M. B. The Montessori Manual of Cultural Subjects. A Guide for Teachers. T. S. Denism & Co. Inc. Minneapolis, 1973 Kramer, R. (1988) Maria Montessori: A biography. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Pub. Co. Lillard, P.P. (1972) Montessori, a modern approach. 6th edn. New York: Schocken Books. Montessori, M. 1986. The Discovery of the Child. Later Printing Edition. Ballantine Books. Montessori, M. (2014) The Montessori Method. Great Britain: Amazon. Montessori St Nicholas. The Philosophy. [online] available from: cessed 05 December 2016]


Orem, R.C. Montessori Today. Capricorn Books. New York, 1971 Rambusch – Mc Cormick, N. Learning how to Learn, An American Approach to Montessori. Helicon Press, Baltimore, 1962 Standing, E. M. Maria Montessori. Her Life & Work. Hollins & Carter Limited, 1957. Trabalzini, Paola (spring 2011). Maria Montessori Through the Seasons of the Method. The NAMTA Journal Images: Fig 01 – Maria Montessori image : wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Maria_Montessori.jpg. (2016). [image]. zFig 02 – d8c0314763e0fe46f57d912d13.jpg. (2016). [image].




INTRODUCTION Steiner Education, sometimes referred to as Waldorf education is an educational philosophy that emphasises the intellectual, practical and artistic development of children through imagination in learning. The philosophy is based on the work of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy. Steiner’s educational method aims at creating free, morally responsible, and integrated individuals equipped with a high degree of social competence. Steiner aims to achieve this through three different stages of education; early childhood education, elementary education, and

secondary education. Each stage deals with a separate aspect of the educational method: early childhood education focuses on practical, hands on activities and creative play (much like the Montessori Method); elementary education focuses on the development of artistic expression and social capacities; finally secondary education focuses on critical reasoning and empathic understanding. It is believed that through this education children will be “well-rounded and balanced human beings who are able to cope with the demands of a fast-changing and uncertain world” (Admin, 2014).

Nathan Noble .55

Origin In 1919 the first Steiner school opened in Stuttgart, Germany. The school was opened by Emil Molt the owner of the Waldorf-Astoria Cigarette Company to provide education for the children of the factory workers. The school was formed as an independent institution licensed by the local government as an exploratory model school with special freedoms. Before the school opened Steiner set out four specific conditions for its opening: the school had to be open to all children, it had to be coeducational, it had to be a unified twelve-year school and, the teachers have primary control over the pedagogy of the school, with minimal interference from the state or from economic sources. Before the school could open Molt, Steiner and Stockmeyer were tasked with finding teachers to teach the new curriculum. In August 17 candidates were chosen to attend the first of many pedagogical courses of which 12 were selected to become the school’s first teachers. Having found teachers, the school officially opened on September 7th 1919 with 256 pupils over 8 grades. Of the 256 students, 191 of them were from factory families while the other 65 children came from interested families most of which were already involved with the anthroposophical movement. As the school’s years of operation increased so did the balance between factory family children and children of different backgrounds. The balance between mixes of children was important to bridge the gap of social classes. By doing this it would introduce the attending children to different cultures, giving them a wider view of the world. In the first year, the school

acted as a company school with the teachers listed as workers of the Waldorf-Astoria Cigarette Company, by the second year the school was independent. The school continued to grow in popularity with it adding grades 9-12 in 1924 and by 1926 the school had over 1,000 students in 28 classes. By 1922 the Steiner education had reached Britain, through lectures Steiner gave at a conference at Oxford University. By 1925 the first Steiner School was founded in England, now called the Michael Hall School. Steiner’s teaching method continued to spread across the globe with a school opening in the USA in 1928 (The Rudolf Steiner School) and by the 1930s schools had opened in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria and Hungary. The Steiner schools are still in use today with 200 schools in America and 33 in Britain. There are currently over 1,000 Steiner schools worldwide.

Fig 01. Photograph of Rudolf Steiner



The Steiner Method The ideology of the Steiner method follows the idea of dividing childhood into three developmental stages which focuses on specific learning strategies appropriate to each stage. Each stage lasts 7 years and is similar to those described by Piaget (swiss clinical psychologist). The teaching method behind these stages closely follows the modern “common sense” educational theory. Through this method, Steiner aimed to awaken the physical, behavioural, emotional, cognitive, social, and spiritual aspects of each child, who fostered creative and analytical thinking. The first stage of Steiner’s education is pre-school and kindergarten, a stage which aims to “imbue the child with a sense that the world is good” (Ullrich, Heiner, 2008). Steiner recognised that children learn best in the first years of their life through emersion in an environment that allows them to learn through unselfconscious imitation of practical activities. In order to achieve this natural learning environment Steiner came up with a curriculum that allowed children to learn by example

and through opportunities for imaginative play. The daily routine of the pre-schools consisted of; free play, artistic work, circle time (songs, games, and stories), outdoor recess, and practical tasks (cooking, cleaning, and gardening), with rhythmic variations. The classroom included tools and toys which for the most part were sourced from simple natural materials, and were used to encourage imaginative play among the children. The use of natural materials has been widely praised among Steiner schools as it is seen as fulfilling children’s aesthetic needs, encouraging their imagination and reinforcing their identification with nature. The classroom itself is designed to resemble the home, an idea which can be seen in Hertzberger’s designs for Montessori schools. Electronic media such as TVs and computers are generally discouraged in Steiner kindergartens as they are seen as conflicting with a child’s development. It has been observed that children who use electronic media are less active and can be subjected to inappropriate or undesirable content which can hinder imagination rather than enhance it.

Fig 02. Drawing of a learning material to help children with letters.. K as King, note the use of primary schools



The second stage of Steiner’s education is elementary education, which is for children aged 7-14. Steiner’s system of education considers that readiness for formal learning depends upon increased independence of character, temperament, habits and memory, one of the makers of which was the loss of baby teeth. Steiner believed that if you engaged young children in abstract intellectual activity too early it would affect their growth and development negatively, thus formal instruction in reading, writing and other academic disciplines was not introduced until elementary school. The elementary stage aims to promote children’s emotional life and imagination. The academic instruction is presented through artistic work that includes storytelling, visual arts, drama movement, vocal and instrumental music and crafts. This is done as a way of connecting the children more deeply with the subject matter. The core curriculum of the school includes language arts, mythology, history, geography, geology, algebra, geometry, mineralogy, biology, astronomy, physics, chemistry and

nutrition all of which have little reliance on standardised textbooks. The task of the teacher is to become a role model children will naturally want to follow, gaining authority through fostering rapport and nurturing curiosity, imagination and creativity. The aim of this second stage is to “imbue children with a sense that the world is beautiful” (Ullrich, Heiner, 2008). The Steiner education system allows for individual variations in the pace of learning, much like the Montessori Method. This is based on the presumption that the child will grasp the concept or achieve the skill when he or she is ready. The method also sees cooperation taking priority over competition with this even extending to physical education. To building on this idea of cooperation classes will usually stay together throughout their time in elementary schools and will usually have the same teacher throughout. This allows each person in the class to get to know each other on a personal level. These days the duration of a teacher’s cycle has become more flexible with not all teachers staying for the full eight years.

Fig 03. Drawing Of children learning through music



Fig 04. Drawing of children learning to bake

Steiner considered children’s cognitive, emotional and behavioural development to be interlinked. When students in a Steiner School are grouped, it is generally not by a singular focus on their academic abilities, but instead by Steiner’s idea of four temperaments: melancholic, sanguine, phlegmatic and choleric. Steiner indicated that teaching should be differentiated to accommodate the different needs that these psychophysical types represent. For example, cholerics are risk takers, phlegmatics take things calmly, melancholics are sensitive or introverted, and sanguines take things lightly. Today Steiner teachers may work with the notion of temperaments to differentiate their instruction. Seating arrangements and class activities may be planned taking into account the temperaments of the students. Steiner also believed that teachers must consider their own temperament and be prepared to work with it positively in the classroom, that temperament is emergent in children, and that most people express a combination of temperaments rather than a pure


single type. The final stage is Secondary education which is for ages 14 and up. Unlike the first two stages this stage is more focused on academic subjects with each subject having a specialist teacher. As well as the heavy influence on academic subjects the children would still often study art, music and crafts. The curriculum is structured to foster pupil’s intellectual understanding, independent judgement, and ethical ideals such as social responsibility, aiming to meet the developing capacity for abstract thought and conceptual judgement. This final stage aims at teaching children to learn through their own thinking and judgement. Students are asked to understand abstract material and are expected to have sufficient foundation and maturity to form conclusions using their own judgement. The intention of this final stage is to “imbue children with a sense that the world is true” (Ullrich, Heiner, 2008).


References: Admin, S. (2014) What is Steiner education? Available at: (Accessed: 7 December 2016). Barnes, Henry (1980). «An Introduction to Waldorf Education». Teachers College Record Carnie, Fiona (2003). Alternative approaches to education : a guide for parents and teachers. London: RoutledgeFalmer. Christopher Clouder, Martyn Rawson Waldorf Education. Anthroposophic Press:1998. Edwards, Carolyn Pope (Spring 2002). «Three Approaches from Europe: Waldorf, Montessori, and Reggio Emilia». Early Childhood Research & Practice. Ginsberg, Iona H. (1982). «Jean Piaget and Rudolf Steiner:stages of child development and implications for pedagogy». Teachers College Record. Johannes Hemleben, Rudolf Steiner: A documentary biography, Henry Goulden Ltd Nicol, Janni; Taplin, Jill (2012). Understanding the Steiner Waldorf Approach: Early Years Education in Practice. Routledge Paull, John (2011) Rudolf Steiner and the Oxford Conference: The Birth of Waldorf Education in Britain. European Journal of Educational Studies P. Bruce Uhrmacher, Making Contact: An Exploration of Focused Attention Between Teacher and Students», Curriculum Inquiry, Vol 23, No 4, Winter 1993, pp433–444. Reinsmith, William A. (31 March 1990). «The Whole in Every Part: Steiner and Waldorf Schooling». The Educational Forum. 54 Uhrmacher, P. Bruce (Winter 1995). «Uncommon Schooling: A Historical Look at Rudolf Steiner, Anthroposophy, and Waldorf Education». Curriculum Inquiry. 25 (4): 381–406. Ullrich, Heiner (2008). Rudolf Steiner. London: Continuum International Pub. Group. p. 77. Woods, Philip; Martin Ashley; Glenys Woods (2005). Steiner Schools in England. UK Department for Education and Skills Images: Figure 01 –




“This is not just about education and training nor is it just about getting youth unemployment levels back to 2008 levels. It is about Scotland’s long term economic success and wellbeing ... This will need strong leadership and firm commitments across the education and business sectors and in national and local government to deliver the changes.” - Sir Ian Wood (Scottish Government 2014 p. 4)

Karen Reid .61

Vocational Education Vocational education is all about preparing children and young people to work in a trade, a craft, as a technician, or in support roles in professions such as engineering and nursing, etc. Craft vocations are usually based on manual or practical activities and these are traditionally non-academic subjects, unlike English and Maths. Vocational education can take place at secondary school and later on in further education, there are also choices such as apprenticeships, which are available. All schools teach academic subjects, such as English and Maths, but there seems to be a lack of focus on vocational subjects within schools. The Curriculum for Excellence and the Wood Report are some examples in Scotland where they are trying to help bring these skilled subjects into schools. They should also help to gain more funding for vocational education to happen. The overall goal of having increased opportunities of vocational subjects is to allow students to have an all rounded education, of academic and skilled based courses, that will help them for life.t Curriculum for Excellence Relevance With the Curriculum for Excellence in place, it stated back in a Review Group in 2003 that there needed to be more of a balance in school education between academic and vocational subjects, and this is what the Curriculum for Excellence is trying to achieve. The Curriculum for Excellence wants to support all children to ensure they have “skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work,” (Scottish Government 2008). It is in place to allow all students the opportunity to gain more vocational and pre-vocational skills that will set them up for the workplace. Therefore, making the link between the classroom and the workplace. There is more information about the Curriculum for Excellence, itself, in this document. Partnerships between schools and colleges In Scotland, there are many partnerships between schools and further education colleges. It is great for them to work together to provide more choices for young people and to prepare them for further qualifications and the world of work. According to Education Scotland effective partnerships:

• Widen pupils’ opportunities for progression and prepare them for further learning

• Ease pupils’ transition from school to further learning, training or employment

• Broaden pupils’ curriculum choices

• Enrich pupils’ educational experiences

These skills for work courses through colleges are focused on generic employability skills needed for success in the workplace in a variety of practical subjects. Pupils at schools that have links to colleges have the opportunity to study a vocational subject and to gain relevant qualifications.



Wood Report The Wood Report is the ‘Education Working For All! Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce Report.’ The report was established by the Scottish Government and chaired by Scottish businessman Sir Ian Wood and the final report came out in 2014. The Wood Report states that Scotland has around 53,000 young people who are not in work or education and that 50% of secondary school leavers do not progress into higher education and do not gain any vocational qualifications whilst at school. The Wood Report aims to get young people out of unemployment and to allow more vocational opportunities to them. There are 39 recommendations in the report that should be achieved for developing Scotland’s young workforce. These are a few key points raised within the recommendations (Scottish Government 2014 p. 10-15):

• Pathways should start in the senior phase which lead to the delivery of industry recognised vocational qualifications alongside academic qualifications.

• A focus on preparing all young people for employment should form a core element of the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence with appropriate resource dedicated to achieve this.

• A modern standard should be established for the acceptable content and quality of work experience, and guidelines should be made available to employers.

• Support for young people at risk of disengaging from education and for those who have already done so should focus on early intervention and wide ranging, sustained support.

• Businesses across Scotland should be encouraged and sup ported to enter into 3-5 year partnerships with secondary schools.

This report discusses main points that are required to help the young people of Scotland and to enable them to get as many opportunities as possible within vocational education. This report is a great step, as not all schools have the funding, the facilities or the teachers to allow their pupils to gain such knowledge or skills.



Fig 01. This illustration shows that those in industry need to work with young people to reduce youth unemployment. (Scottish Government 2014 p. 70)

Case Study: Mearns Academy Community Campus Mearns Academy Community Campus has recently had a new school built, by Halliday Fraser Munro. We went for a visit to the school and had the opportunity to look around and to ask questions about the design. In terms of vocational education, the school had two workshops for the pupils to use side by side. One was for wood working and the other metal work, which the pupils could gain skills in. However, the Head Teacher felt these spaces were not enough for the pupils to learn, well needed, practical skills for the workforce. He felt that young people are gaining great qualifications but that they were not equipped to enter the workforce, and that this was felt by those in industry he had spoken to as well. The Head Teacher felt larger spaces were required for students to have a go at skills-based work such as plastering, bricklaying, etc. This is because not all pupils wish to stay continue in secondary school nor will they wish to head into further


education. Hypothetically, if we were to design a new school for him, he would want spaces that would allow all this practical work to be held in. The Head Teacher found preparing pupils with skills for life was a really important part of education in schools. Having more options available to pupils will also allow more employment options to them. We asked him if he would give up a few of his classrooms for these ‘vocational spaces,’ he told us that the only way he could do that was if these vocational subjects were a part of the curriculum and students could gain qualifications in them. What makes it harder for schools to teach more vocational skills is the lack of funding and the lack of budget when it comes to designing spaces into a new school building. The reason for the lack of funding is that vocational education is not a statutory requirement. He told us that he hoped the Wood Report would help in enabling more opportunities for pupils when it comes to vocational education and that hopefully more funding would become available to help as well.


Case Study: Lycée Albert Camus Lycée Albert Camus is a polyvalent lycée built by Norman Foster in 1993, in Fréjus, France. Students in their final few years of school have the opportunity to attend this ‘bridging school’ between normal schooling and further education and workplace. It teaches academic subjects but there is more of a focus on vocational subjects. The school takes in students from the ages of fifteen to twenty-one. The students can learn practical skills in cooking, joinery, electrical engineering and plumbing to name a few. One vocational method that the school has designed into it is a restaurant. This allows the pupils to run the restaurant to gain vital skills and once a week they open it up to serve guests. What makes this unique is that students can finish their academic education but also use this great opportunity to gain vocational skills in the later years of their school education. The classrooms seem basic in size and decoration within the school, however this is the polyvalent approach. The rooms have not been made specifically to allow for flexibility, so do not have sliding doors or partitions. In fact, they have been made to allow for a range of different activities to occur within the single spaces. This works well for the vocational school where there are a wide array of different subjects being taught.

Architect’s Role Vocational education is important in getting children and young people ready for the workplace. Each child and young person deserves all the opportunities to allow themselves to learn and to gain practical skills that will help them for life. As architects we need to design spaces for these skills to take place in. As seen in Mearns Academy, they had workshop spaces but these were not very large nor very flexible. Therefore, were unable to teach a range of skills based work. Lycée Albert Camus is very different in design and brief wise as it focuses more on vocational subjects. The classrooms were all designed in the same way so any subject could be taught within them as the school had a wide range of vocational courses. Materials, spaces and flexibility will play a big role in developing and designing spaces for vocational education in schools.



References: EDUCATION SCOTLAND. About Developing the Young Workforce. [online] Livingston: Education Scotland. Available from: asp [Accessed 5 December 2016]. EDUCATION SCOTLAND. Partnerships between schools and colleges. [online]. Education Scotland. Available from: [Accessed 8 December 2016]. EDUCATION SCOTLAND. Skills for Work. [online]. Education Scotland. Available from: [Accessed 8 December 2016]. SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT, 2008. Curriculum for Excellence, building the curriculum 3. Edinburgh: RR Donnelley. SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT, 2014. Education Working For All! Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce Final Report. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.




INTRODUCTION As architects we must consider an approch that recognises the power of society and culture, that aims to creat a school not only permeable to the community around it, but charged with positive symbolic value. Identity is something that is shared

within a school but often its origin is within its context. A school may be embedded within society but it is important students are encouraged to face outwards, this is especially in todays connected world.

Rikki Geddes .67

Schools & the Community Within researching communities and schools, a series of questions have to be asked. Questions that will help to break down what community could mean within a school and its wider context. The questions can be broken down into the following: • • • •

What is a community? What defines a community? What benefits does a school gain from being part of a community? What benefits does a community gain from having a school as part of it?

What is a Community? According to the oxford dictionary the definition of community is – “A particular area or place considered together with its inhabitants”. Although this definition is true, additional factors can be added to the subject of community for example social aspects can also be a major part of defining a community. What defines a Community? In considering what defines a community we first need to think about the role a community plays in every day life. When one thinks of a community, they would generally surmise it to be the coming together of individuals to partake in a particular task, activity or event. When breaking down this sentence we see that the same elements of community can be thought about when thinking of schools. A school is a location where groups of individuals come together to learn, but also a place where they come to socialise with friends. Social interaction is a key factor of a school and also a community, for without the interaction between individuals a community could never exist. According to Professor John Worthington (co-founder of DEGW) “Architects design spaces, but it is the commitment of the users that makes them enjoyable spaces.” He also states “the city acts as the school, transmitting messages, expressing values and providing a context for learning”(Worthington. J. 2007). These two statements would lead us to believe that a school that we define as a building, built for the purpose of learning, can only be classed as a good building if the users feel fulfilled within them. We can also derive from the statements that school buildings are only the beginning of the learning experience, and instead, events throughout daily life add to an individual’s education.



Community Benefits By looking through some case studies of schools from around the world and how they interact with the local inhabitants and environments we can see how communities work in conjunction with schools and also how schools interact with them.

Fig 01. External View of Montem School

Fig 02. Internal View of Public Space in Montem School

Montem Primary School, North London A four-storey building built in 1895 to house 1180 pupils, described in the 1960’s by school inspectors as ‘inadequate and unattractive’. An intervention was carried out as part of a local engagement to see if the building could still function but in a slightly different way. After analysing the existing building it was found that the buildings shell was generous and the location was very convenient. Therefore, in 1968 the building was remodelled. The combination of large room sizes, generous floor to ceiling heights and spacious horizontal and vertical circulation allowed for mezzanines to be added and partitions and doors to be removed, creating an open and flexible teaching environment. From these changes the old and inadequate school was changed into a building that houses 780 pupils and 2000 part-time adults through the day and after teaching hours the building is opened up for the surrounding community to use. Today the school is a thriving central focus for the area and the community that inhabits it. RESEARCH I COMMUNITY


Fig 03. Elevation of Mossbourne Community Academy

Mossbourne Community Academy, Hackney, London The Mossbourne Community Academy was formed in 2004 on the site of the former Hackney Downs Academy. The decision to build the school was part of a larger scheme of regeneration for the area, as the borough of Hackney is one of the most deprived in England. One of the key factors for the redevelopment of the school (other than to function as a school to accommodate and educate over 1000 pupils) was for the building to act like an engine of regeneration in its own right. This was achieved by offering the facilities of the building to the wider community. The ethos of Mossbourne Community Academy contributes community learning – is fully accessible to members of the community – as well as offering excellent facilities to secondary students. As a result, the design distributes popular community facilities through the scheme rather than concentrate them in one particular area. The approach intentionally erodes the boundaries of the academic the creative and recreational aspect of learning. The intention is to encourage the community to participate in the activities of the school and in so doing, establish a model for ‘lifetime learning’

Fig 04. External Perspective of Children Going to Class



Hellerup, Denmark With Hellerup school it was considered new buildings afforded different opportunities. The process of designing the school was seized by the local authority as a way of rethinking pedagogic principles. The principles of teaching were debated and set out as the ambitions for the building there in allowing for the design and briefing process overlapping dynamically. Saving time and resulting in an adaptable building shell that stimulates learning and supports creative teaching. The school is responsible for 640 children ranging from an age of 6 – 16. It is a four-storey building devoid of walls, allowing for teaching spaces to grow or reduce in size depending on the need of the class at that moment in time. The absence of walls also allows for children of all ages to integrate between each other at any time of the teaching day, and older students are allowed to leave the building at any time they wish as long as they are in contact with their teachers at all times through smart phone devices. Although not traditional techniques the results of the students show that their academic performances are the same as that of conventional learning but they have also gained the skills of communicating with others at all ages gaining deeper and additional life skills for the future. Due to these findings, these methods of teaching are now being spread throughout Denmark. From internal views of the school we can see shared spaces are found throughout the building, using the principles of Herman Hertzberger such as allowing a staircase to be more than just a platform for going from one floor to another, the space has been transformed into a location where pupils can congregate. All these aspects of the school culminate to create community in the school. Fig 05. Internal Views of Hellerup School

Fig 06. External View of Hellerup School



Fig 07. External Tesselseveld School



4- Tesselseveld, Den Haag, Netherlands Tesselseveld was created with the assignment of creating a school that not only united two elementary schools but also provides a building that had multifunctional use for the surrounding community. The community school concept meant providing a large number of community-based activities and services integrated within the school. Through public engagements the school came together combined with a place of learning for the children and multiple facilities required by the inhabitants of Den Haag. Things that are present within the school are services such as parenting support, child day care and a health centre. By combining these spaces in one shared building, they become more accessible. Also, the various services are able to come together and adjust to match and complement the needs of the children and the wider community. Through a concept of participation from the children and parents the school combines to function as a purposeful community building.

Fig 08. Internal View of Corridor & Lightwell at Tesselseveld School



Fig 09. External Saunalahti School



5- Saunalahti School, Espoo, Finland Saunalahti School is a multi-purpose building for education and culture. The school is closely linked to the central square of the new residential area of Saunalahti. The school possesses an open character that makes it an active part of the everyday environment of the residents. The building is sited so to make the school yards as safe and as comfortable as possible. The West side of the building borders the street while on the Southern and Eastern sides the main spaces connect to the square and residential area. Classrooms for smaller children have been clustered into home areas with small-scale lobbies viewing out onto the courtyard. These lobbies are used for group work allowing the children to interact together gaining important social skills. The school also houses a day care centre for the local community.

Fig 10. Internal View of Shares Space in Saunalahti School



Fig 11. External Frederikbjerg School



Frederikbjerg School, Aarhus, Denmark The Frederikbjerg School was the first school to meet the demands of the Danish school reform of 2013. The law focuses on learning through movement and sensation as well as openness and community creation. The school is sited on a location that was already a gathering point for children and youth of the local society therefore was an ideal location for a building of socialising. The school houses 900 students, a day-care centre and a youth club. After school hours the premises is used for evening classes, courses and sports arranged by local associations and societies. The surrounding spaces of the school are occupied by shared public playgrounds that are accessible to all 24 hours a day. Within the school areas are provided where clusters of students can learn or converse with their peers and teachers without being in the confines of a classroom. In 2016 the Frederikbjerg School was awarded Danish School Building of the Year.

Fig 12. Internal View of Large Central Space in Frederikbjerg School

Fig 13. View of Small Meeting Space in Frederikbjerg School



Discovery One, Christchurch, New Zealand Discovery One school is a revolutionary school found in the heart of the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. The school works from an ethos that the city plays the role of the ‘distributed school’. With the school being located in an environment where large free spaces, or buildings to house a school and all its functional requirements, are difficult to find. The school counteracts this by using the cities facilities such as sport centres, libraries, recreational spaces etc in conjunction with the rest of the inhabitants of Christchurch. Learning occurs anywhere, without restriction on curriculum, pace, style or subject. The school works on some key principles that allow the students to develop in a revolutionary way. These principles are; the students direct and manage their own learning based on their passions, interests and needs; students are asked first what they need in order to learn; families are an integral part of the learning process, sharing responsibility for learning with students and staff creating and upholding a community; that the students are involved in learning wherever it naturally occurs in the community without restrictions; that students come together in a learning community without barriers; that a community where everyone is a learner and everyone is a teacher. In this environment the mobile phone is the link between facilities in the school, city or home. Community mentors and local businesses supplement more traditional learning resources. The project is founded on self-directed home-based learning for 5-18 year olds, who are organised in groups of 18-24 students. One of the key values of Discovery One School is ‘Aroha’ which means that the school actively strives to celebrate the uniqueness of individuals, while unifying the community.

Fig 14. Discovery 1 School teaching a Science Class in the City of Christchurch



Fig 15. Sultan’s Elephant Parading Through London

Education Location Out With the School In addition to schools being a place of learning, interventions can provide a totally different educational experience. For example, in 2006 the centre of London was transformed by the appearance of the Sultan, his elephant and a 5m tall wooden princess who appeared from a rocket ship in Lower Regent Street. The characters paraded through the streets allowing not only the young onlookers to imagine being part of a fairy tale, but allow people of all ages to amerce themselves in the occasion. Small interventions such as this one allowed for the city, to become the backdrop for the imagination to take over and transform. This gave people of all ages the opportunity to converse and discuss what they were viewing whilst at the same time gaining enlightenment through a fun activity. Showing that on this day the city was the school. Fig 16. Child Interacting with Instillation

Fig 17. Diagram of Learning and Community Relationships



Conclusion By analysing the schools from the list above we can see that a school is pivotal in a community environment but also that the community plays a vital role for a school to function also. Therefore we can surmise that both schools and communities need each other in all senses to fulfil each others needs. If we think about schools as just places where children go to learn from 8-4 during the day, we are thinking of a time that has long since passed. Learning has become the glue that integrates the community. (Fig 16) As functions overlap and boundaries blur, the sharp distinctions between when, where and how we learn are changing. The extended school provides a range of services and activities to help meet the needs of children, their families and the wider community. With the inclusion of services such as childcare, adult education, parenting support programmes and community-based health and social care, the school is in use well beyond the formal teaching day. The objectives of the successful school are to assemble the appropriate culmination of spaces that can be managed effectively to meet their local needs. At present with conventional school set-ups the school classroom is in use for an average of 80% during the scheduled teaching day, but school buildings themselves are only being used for 18% of their time available. By rethinking the building and widened it to more than just a teaching space for children and adding factors such as:- the use of space and time; the utilisation of support, social and circulation spaces; the opportunities of sharing with others; the opportunities of using specialised spaces owned by others; the building can be used much more efficiently and provide the community with a space that is multifunctional to their needs. Boundaries between the school and the community are dissolving. Technology is extending opportunities and changing student expectations. Students today are part of the ‘net-gen’ where by they are extremely digital literate. They are always expecting to be connected and to receive instant gratification, variety and fun. Through a tech resilient environment learning can be both a formal and informal activity, with teachers being both a resource and a provider of knowledge across a set of spaces that are both centralised and dispersed. By working within these parameters it is possible for a new learning landscape to form. Formal timetables space for lectures and teaching can be scheduled and located in what we perceive as the school classroom. But can also be combined with informal freely available spaces for group project work, solo study and browsing that can be found easily accessible within the school building itself or out with the perimeters of the school grounds. Allowing for the students again to engage with the local community, gaining vast amounts of knowledge and social skills. In addition to schools being a place of learning, we can see from small interventions that the interaction with individuals, perhaps not know until that time, can add a deeper layer of social interaction to the development of a child that perhaps cannot be found in a classroom. This in turn proves than a classroom can be more than a room in a specific building, with a teacher carrying out specific tasks. It also allows us to think further and derive that if a school were to engage more with their surrounding environments, with the civilian’s working/living/inhabiting the spaces encompassing the school, an interesting cohabitation could form which in turn can be classed as a ‘community’. RESEARCH I COMMUNITY


References: ArchDaily (2011) Multifunctional school building Tesselseveld / HVE architecten. Available at: (Accessed: 10 December 2016). ArchDaily (2013) Saunalahti school / VERSTAS architects. Available at: (Accessed: 10 December 2016). ArchDaily (2016) Frederiksbjerg school / Henning Larsen architects + GPP architects. Available at: (Accessed: 10 December 2016). CABE (2004) Being involved in school design a guide for school communities, local authorities, funders and design and construction teams. Available at: http:/ (Accessed: 10 December 2016). Government, S., House, S.A., Road, R. and ceu, 0131 556 8400 (2007) Building excellence: Exploring the implications of the curriculum for excellence for school buildings. Available at: (Accessed: 10 December 2016). Morris, E. (2015) Schools need to be part of a community, not stand alone. Available at: schools-need-communities-local-authorities (Accessed: 10 December 2016). OBrien, A. (2012) The importance of community involvement in schools. Available at: (Accessed: 10 December 2016). Our special character (no date) Available at: specialcharacter/ (Accessed: 10 December 2016).



INTRODUCTION «...For security to be effective, schools’ security needs to be assessed and monitored regularly...» - Department for Education and Skills (Champion 2006)

Mariem Ahmed & Karen Reid .79

Security Security plays a significant role in the school experience of a student. It is important to ensure that the user doesn’t have to question their level of safety away from the comfort of their home. There’s a level of trust placed within the hands of the staff members to ensure a safe environment for the children of many, away from the protection of their guardians. As more and more attacks make it to the headlines, parents begin to question the level of security implicated within schools. In response to increased attacks within schools, security measures should ensure the maximum level of safety for students and staff without them feeling secluded or intimidated. “It is for schools to define and set out the extent of such access,” [Department of Education, 2012], but if the building isn’t designed with access and security in mind, matters could become difficult. Although schools fulfil a public function by ensuring children have the right to education, they should still be treated like private spaces that should seriously consider the safety aspect within the design to achieve a fulfilling educational experience for all students. The general public should have no automatic right to enter the building unless they parent a child at the school. Anything else is considered as trespassing but it is important for the architect to ensure the boundary between public and private is clearly expressed. Whether this is achieved through landscaping or barriers that separate the spaces, the child’s safety should be considered to ensure that the school experience is a pleasant one.

Fig 01. This entrance floor plan of Mearns Academy shows how the architect designed in three separate entrances. The red being the main reception entrance. The green is the student entrance and the blue is the community entrance.



Case Studies: Dunblane Primary School This case study looks at how a lack of security can amount in a terrible event. Although these events do not occur too often, it is vital that there are security measures in place to ensure these things never happen again. On March 13, 1996, a gunman shot dead 16 infant children and two adults, one being their teacher, at Dunblane Primary School in Stirlingshire. Through lack of security a gunman was able to gain access to the school gymnasium. Measures were taken to put a ban on handguns and to tighten security at schools after this disaster, so this could not happen again. This was the worst mass murder to happen in the UK and this event caused everyone to rethink security in schools and how they would stop an event like this from ever happening again. This shows that security is a main issue in schools and the architect can help to design it into the building so that it is effective. Mearns Academy Community Campus The school is located in a small town, Laurencekirk, in Aberdeenshire so there will not be as much crime or as much need for security as there would be in a city. The school sits off a main road to one end of the town and the area outside the school and the carpark is all open. There are no fences surrounding this area or intentionally stopping anyone from getting close. The school is a community building as well. The school library is open to the public as well as the students. The school opens up the theatre which turns into a cinema in the evenings for the public to use. There is also a police station


attached to one side of the school so there is a real community aspect to the building. As it is a community campus there are separate entrances for the different users. The school has a main reception, a public entrance and a separate entrance for pupils to use. For security reasons the student entrance is only open at specific times during the day. So in the morning it is open and there is always a member of staff to ensure no one else uses this entrance bar the students. Again the doors are open for breaks and at the end of the day. Once you have entered the school via the main reception you see to your left the community entrance and to your right a glass wall looking through into the school. To get about some of the areas of the school from public to the student area you require a key fob. The school and campus felt so open and you would not have known there were so many security precautions taken. The fact there were glass walls separating parts of the school meant the pupils would not have felt confined, they would have felt like there was freedom to move. These security measures do not interfere with the design of the school. When speaking to the Head Teacher he told us that the most important thing they do in school is not teach the children but they keep them safe. That is the first thing they do, because if the students are safe then learning can take place.


Evelyn Grace Academy Evelyn Grace, an award-winning school located within the high-crime area of london: Brixton. Known for being populated with street offenders and drug dealers, amongst this residential and suburban area, (late) Zaha Hadid believed she could create a safe place for students away from the streets. Security is a huge aspect in the design of Evelyn Grace Academy, therefore the school is enclosed in high, robust gates and a secure access system. The generous outdoor space allows the school to be stepped back from the residential neighbouring buildings. Although, the site imposes a sense of danger for the children within the neighbourhood, Zaha Hadid believed that this could be tackled through a secure zone and barrier. The clear definition between the urban school and the residential housing allows for the children to enter the school with a different attitude.

On the other hand, these security measures can feel intimidating and unwelcoming to the students. We feel the students must feel this way, because when we visited the school we felt intimidated by the security measures. Although these students may come from deprived backgrounds, this shouldn’t undermine them by opposing steel gates that seclude them from the rest of the neighbourhood. This barrier from the community can feel imposing on the students because of its outstretched height, feeling like a prison. Security should be carefully considered within a school but enclosing the site with steel barred gates isn’t the way to solve the issue. There should be a level of trust within the students so they don’t feel intimidated by the enclosure and other measures should be taken to define the boundaries of the school site.

Fig 01. Photo of Evelyn Grace showing the dominanting fencingon approach to the school.



From our research and case studies we have come to the conclusion that security measures should not interfere with the design of the school, but they should be implemented throughout the planning stages. We feel that schools need to invest in security measures, this does not always mean having a high fence surrounding the perimeter. Schools should not feel like they are excluded from the community but rather that they belong within it. Urban schools should take bigger precautions with security as they will be more threatened than that of rural schools. This is because we feel there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to security in schools. The type of site and the design of the school will have an impact on which security measures need to be taken. Rural schools, like that of Mearns Academy, are open and anyone can approach the school entrances but the security precautions that are taken on thereafter, will determine how safe the pupils feel. It’s important to ensure that the students don’t feel enclosed or trapped within the school grounds, especially in senior school, but they should be able to exercise some of their freedom as long as the premises are guarded by members of staff and CCTV monitors. Entry points should be clearly visible and securely controlled during school hours. The architect is responsible for the characterisation of the school’s surroundings and the sense of feeling secure in an open or enclosed space. Aggressive behaviour and criminal offences may reside within a school but for an architect, it’s about creating that soft environment, more safe-zones in order to minimise these opportunities. The role of the architect should be to design the school keeping in mind the issue of security and the design for the main access points should contain an efficient amount of CCTV, controlled access and have a member(s) of staff safeguarding the area. Unless good management control is ensured, no state-of-the-art security system is efficient enough to manage on its own.



References: DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, 2012. Advice on school security: Access to, and barring of individuals from, school premises. [online]. Department of Education. Available from: system/uploads/attachment_data/file/295978/school_security_advice_181212__2__.pdf [Accessed 9 December 2016]. DOLAN, J., 2004. Review of Security in School Design in Ireland. [online]. OECD. Available from: [Accessed 9 December 2016]. EVELYN GRACE ACADEMY, 2016. Safeguarding Policy. [online]. Evelyn Grace Academy. Available from: safeguarding-policy [Accessed 9 December 2016]. CHAMPION, G., 2006. Dunblane 10 years on: School security. [online]. BBC. Available from: [Accessed 9 December 2016]. WELCH, A., 2015. Evelyn Grace Academy, London : Brixton School. [online]. e-architect. Available from: evelyn-grace-academy [Accessed 9 December 2016]. ZAHA HADID ARCHITECTS. Architecture: Evelyn Grace Academy. [online]. Zaha Hadid Architects. Available from: [Accessed 9 December 2016].




INTRODUCTION In many countries and cultures, school is a way to inspire unity and the feeling of pride to children. Educating children is educating the future of a nation, and no nation can be divided without failing. In the United States for example, all pupils have to say the pledge of alliegance every morning before the first class, making them a

full part of the entire country. In the UK, like in many other countries, all schools make their children wear uniforms, which differ from one school to another. Wearing your school’s colours, for a child, may help to develop a feeling of pride, for being part of a big family. It’s all part of creating an identity, a nation or establishment pupils can refer to.

But can these identity questions be integrated directly into the school design process? Can there be a true relation between a child building its identity and the school “identity”? And what exactly can be a school “identity”?

Clément Guérard-Ortelli .85

Applied to a person, the concept of identity covers the lifelong process of slowly becoming who you are, after many encounters with others, or life “incidents”. All that happens in your life constitutes to your “narrative identity” (Bruner, 1996). But nowadays, the concept of identity is easily applied to a building, or any other inanimate thing. What could be a school identity? De Wolff, proposed the following definition: “what makes a school into this school, or what are the outstanding features of this school (both in a characteristic and a distinguishing sense) and what the members of the school have in common, what they share, what is true for them as members of the collective community and what could be characterised by a certain degree of durability and continuity” (de Wolff, 2000, p.53).

Thus, a school could be the result of both a « physical identity  », which is what, formally speaking, makes it different from another one, and a “social identity”, constitued by both the ideas, cultures and behaviours of teachers and children. But, an interesting question would be: can one influence the other? School is truly the first place where a child meets others, thus the first factor of his identity construction after his parents (Blos, 1967). But he also experiences alterity. At school, the child tends to join groups, which he feels linked to. These groups can form totally randomly: girls/boys, card players/football players, over interests, fashion choices, etc... Thus, the pupil is part of an overall, the school identity, built around moral values, local culture, but also of small minorities resulting of the child’s preferences and becoming personnality.

Schools’ social identity A school should, in this way, bring strong values to young individuals in their moral construction phase. Considering this, it’s not surprising to see how religions have been implicated in education since the dawn of educational systems all around the world. For example, the Church now operates the most important non-governmental school system around the world (Gardner, 2005). Even if the school’s education system is more formal and institutionalised than family’s, it can’t be denied that placing their kid in a school is thought in accordance with the parents’ vision of a “good morality”. In France for example, Catholic schools gather more than 2 million children over 8000 establishments, representing 17% of all primary and secondary schools. These Catholic institutions are organised along the religion’s guiding lines and moral principles. Tradition is seen as a base for education (celebration of religious feasts, prayers, religious education...). Thus, the moral identity of a school is set by its owners, and/or headteachers. In a word, the people responsible for the school’s course of action: whether it’s for boys, girls, both, christians, muslims, dedicated to music or sports... But it would be wrong to consider only the headteacher leads the regulations of a school. Teachers themselves are authority figures within their classrooms. Teacher behaviour in classrooms is the everyday expression of the school’s moral values and regulations (Bakker & Rigg, 2004). Because it is perceived by the pupils and parents, it is the real school identity. This identity then results both of the interaction of the teachers and the pupils and parents, but also inbetween teachers and between teachers and headteacher. 86.


Fig 01. Left: possibilities of gathering around different spatial elements. Fig 02. Right: in a vast free space, the possibilities of small gatherings are restricted.

A common identity for children? Although a school could display a strong moral identity, willing to create an overall unity, its purpose is to help children finding their own within more or less large groups. Thus it is not really about wearing uniforms, having habits, rituals, but just maybe allowing kids to share with others. The identity we’re talking about, is resulting either from internal and external forces. The school is the place where similar and different, repetition and exception are mixing (Demougin & Sauvage, 2010). Because the child has points of reference, he can explore freely, interact with the unknown. When you enter a primary school, it’s already obvious that children stay in groups of interest, even at a such young age. Children tend to want to affiliate with similar people: studies even show that infants prefer to look at same-sex infants (Rhoads, 2004). And these groups tend to share the space, every one getting their own favorite place where they meet at each break.

observe, is that each group of friends meet at the exact same column at every break. It’s acting as a landmark. And the same thing could happen at every window, step, every little break in the monotoneous architecture. But at the same time, the courtyard is still big enough to allow all children to play together at the same time whenever they feel like it. The whole point is not to compel, but to allow. Allow every kind of interaction at any scale. In the orphanage in Amsterdam, Aldo Van Eyck applied this theory well. The whole building is nothing but an intricacy of different levels of intimacy, from the bedroom to the public courtyard. The space between all dormitories is entirely shared by children and staff, who can play together, but is also full of small intimate areas, like a platform, some steps in a corner, columns... All scales are interlocked.

In my school, the playground was covered at some point, and so there were a few columns splitting the space. What you can actually

Fig 03. Van Eyck’s drawing about creating spaces with various degrees of intimacy.



Thus, the apparent school identity is necessary for a school to blossom and grow. Not because he will copy it to build himself, but because he will use it as a support to meet others and explore his world. School physical identity or architect’s signature? In many ways, architecture and graphic design can be used to build a school’s own identity. However, this last can assume many shapes. The following examples are illustrating different approaches. First, the design can be influenced by the social and urban context. It’s the case in the Lagere school in St-Gillis by Lens°ass Architecten. St-Gillis is an area of Brussels city characterised by its diversity of cultural origins, with a lot of foreign communities: French, Greek, Morrocan, Brazilian... Therefore, the school should be suited to host pupils of all religious and ethnic origins. How to create an overall identity then? The architects decided to make the building a physical part of the neighbourhood using mimetism. Because the design influences couldn’t come from the inside (the children), they came from the outside (surroundings). Thus, the building takes the shape of two adjacent building lots. The white materiality of the school mimics the stone buildings around, while the rhythm of the windows are in continuity with those of the entire street. When parents bring their

child to school, both of them feel like they belong to an entire community, whithout any social distinction.

Fig 04. Lagere School, St-Gillis, Lens°ass Architecten. The school’s typology integrates well in the streetscape.

The design can also be inspired by an internal identity. In St-Teresa’s Academy Windmoore center, by Gould Evans, everything lays on the dual program: classrooms and a chapel. Thus the entire building of course shows obvious clues of a religious affiliation. The catholic cross is clearly shown as a landmark, and the laser-cut facade simply represents St-Teresa, the patron saint of lace makers. Thus the physical appearance of the building clearly signifies the religious and cultural identity of the school.

Fig 05. St-Teresa’s Academy, Windmoore, Gould Evans. While the cross shows the school’s religious affiliation, the lace-shaped skin in inspired by St-Teresa.



Sometimes, the design is nothing but visual identity entirely created from scratches by the architects. In Dominique Coulon’s groupe scolaire Simone Veil in Colombes, the playful design is the result of a simple idea: using bright colours for the areas dedicated to 3-6 year-old and concrete / wood for the 6-11. More than a clear signage, this play on materials gives a strong identity to the building and a design for the

children to be inspired of. But just like we could have observed in Zaha Hadid’s Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton, a strong physical identity is sometimes not sufficient to make an enjoyable school. If a school is too design-centered, then its practicality may suffer. The sloping walls are a waste of space, the made-tomeasure toilets a waste of money, the handrails are hand-cutting...

Fig 06. Groupe Scolaire Simone Veil, Colombes, Dominique Coulon. The colourful building creates an unique landmark in the city.

To conclude, as architects, we have full ability to design an outstanding visual and spatial identity for a school. But since doing so has great consequences on children, the process needs to be particularly well-thought. While a generic school design may please everyone but not arouse a deep interest in children, a strongly personnalised one may lead to some children being sidelined. Taking a look at Aires Mateus’ school in Vila Nova da Barquinha, we can notice there’s no main gathering space at all. It makes sense in a warm, strongly sunny country, because then the buildings are creating inner shadowed and fresh spaces. But a non-integrated child may feel isolated, because he’s part of no whole. But it might be a cultural problem: how do Eastern children maybe feel in a strongly Western school? Therefore, questions about identity should be asked.



References: Bruner, J., The Culture of Education. Harvard University Press, 1996. Wolff, A. De, Characteristic: Christian?. Netherlands, VBK Media, 2000. Blos, P., “The Second Individuation Processof Adolescence”, The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. 22: 162-186. New York, International University Press, 1967. Gardner, H., The Development and Education of the Mind. Routledge, New Ed Edition, 2005. Bakker, C. & Rigg, E., Teacher’s personality, Amidst Christian School Identity and Diversity of Pupil Population. Uitgeverij Meinema, Zoetermeer, 2004. Demougin F. ; Sauvage, J., La Construction Identitaire à l’Ecole. France, L’Harmattan, 2012. Rhoads, J., « Changes in Self-Esteem During the Middle School Years », Journal of School Psychology. Elsevier, 2004. Avest, K., H. ; Bakker, C., « School Identity : a Living Document on the Relationship Between the Biography of the Principal Relating to School Identity », Interacçoes. N. 7, pp. 116-140, 2007.




INTRODUCTION When designing a building it is imperative to establish psychological aspirations for the spaces. This is especially true for schools: a place where a child will develop a sense of self and establish the building blocks to adulthood. Therefore, there are key roles the architecture of a school must achieve to enhance and alleviate certain

aspects of School life for the user; whether they are a student, teacher or a member of the community. The main issues can be broadly narrowed down to Privacy, Safety, and Sense of Ownership and Wellbeing. These goals can be achieved through tools an architect uses. The techniques that will be explored include: Scale, Colour, Materials and Form.

Julie Neilson .91

Scale Scale is an important method in shaping an environment especially when working with the younger generation. However, the rapid growth of children hugely influences the decisions as an incorrect scale can harbour a sense of exclusion for the user, and sometimes even causing indisposition . This requires a sense of judgement throughout the building which may result in varying scales being executed. Scale, like all the techniques in discussion, can be used in a numerous amount of ways to create different psychological effects. A particularly important method, especially with younger children, is to form the impression of independence. This can be done simply by having lower light switches, reachable door handles or toys on accessible shelves. This ties directly into the psychological effect of belonging and ownership which scale can achieve. As a backlash to the criticism of open plan, large scale designs; school design began to create more homelike environments. Another sense of engagement a school can establish with its pupils through the use of scale would be in the size of certain aspects. An excellent example of this application is in Hallfield Primary School. Through the transition from the junior school to the senior school, the changing scale is highlighted. This is expressed through various means – some examples include: the height of the ceiling, placement of windows, sizes of doors and even an altered structure scale. Overall, the school created a true sense of belonging and identity. A place created at the correct scale allows the user to feel safe in the environment. Therefore, even as a visitor, it is clear the intentions of the design is to influence the user’s emotions. 92.

Scale can often be used to establish importance; this often involves judgement of proportion and careful integration. If applied inefficiently, it will quickly diminish any sense of importance. This is commonly used in school entrances or halls to allow the common users to form an impression of identity and potentially develop passion for their school environment. Which can, therefore, decrease the amount of unauthorised absence and vandalism in a school. Colour Colour has, throughout history, had a strong impact psychologically. It is easy to follow a popular trend of colours, however this would be a mistake as the function of colour is everything. It has been made scientifically clear that colour, when used correctly, has the power to enhance the learning experience. Certain colour theorists recommend certain shades relating to the subject it features with (O’Brien, 2014). These studies concluded that shades of blue are recommended for mathematic subjects, while shades of red are used in active spaces such as the gymnasium. Whereas architect Rudolf Steiner, creator of the Waldorf School, has conducted studies into the selection of colour in schools and has often used colour in his designs but has selected different colours for the various age groups. Steiner believed that colour was the connection between the soul and the body. However, the method for selecting colours, is to choose colours associated to the uniform and colours featured in the school’s appearance to form an identity. Although if used, it should still be designed into the building selectively as overpowering


Fig 01. Courtyard of Hallfeild Primary School - space between junior and senior school.

colour can create the feeling of overcrowding in the user. In other circumstances colour is often used as an indicator of transition. This is commonly used in the design of schools for special educational needs; especially in the design for Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Colour can be a subtle way to influence the cognitive process of a student and influence how they behave in that particular space. Consequently, colour can also be difficult to work with as the wrong combination can have a negative influence on the architecture, but if care is taken in the selection as a combination to other aspects of design while connecting the science behind them it can inspire a spectrum of positive feelings toward the design.

muscle tension. This, in turn, sends pulses of perception of the geometric forms to the brain which then creates the basis of a person’s mood and understanding of the building. A s this is school design, form should always be based on function. Therefore, it should be learning and teaching that influences the building and its form. On the other hand, the human condition is one where more likely than not you will commonly find underlying themes in designing some aspects of the school.


It was Noack who established that eyes require a sense of imperfection. This relates to avoiding monotonous, repeats of buildings as this will cause a feeling of unease for the user; this will also occur in highly complex and detailed buildings. It is fair to say that, in this sense, the ideal environment for children would be an unoppressive design which offers a simple form with elements that vary.

The introduction of form into design is a method in establishing a sense of equilibrium and orientation. It is the belief that form – even motionless – can cause eye movements and

Through a study, involving 200 students, conducted by Rittelmeyer it was established that form, together with colour, would be perceived as pleasant and inviting if it conveyed;



Fig 02. Apollo Schools - Staircase between the classrooms - also used as a social space.

soft and warmness. However, this only takes into account these students. It can be said that another set of students could have another set of values. This highlights the importance of integrating the users and the function into the design process. An example of function over form comes from Herman Hertzberger in his Apollo Schools design. It was his intention to create a school based on the Montessori Method of teaching. This entailed the form of a large staircase where students were allowed to socialise and learn through. This expresses an ideal use of form to facilitate for the user’s needs. Through this it can be shown that the user, and the method of teaching, should have a direct impact on the form created. It can be established that there is a direct link to the form of a school in creating a true sense of orientation and understanding. It is key when it comes to expressing a space it should be unique to that of the user while integrating a sense of interest to the eye. Materials Materials should be used as another method of teaching. Seeing as we learn through our senses it is key to integrate materials through this. Materials can be used to trigger sight, smell and touch. Therefore, it is useful to integrate them into a place of learning. The selection of materials can create a multi-sensory experience through smooth, rough, bright, opaque transparent or translucent. It is important to integrate a nice pallet of materials that inspire a warm experience. It is also important to design for the future; schools have a long lifespan and the materials should equally do so and should be detailed to enhance this. 94.


An interesting method of integration is through nature. This has been the aim of Sarah Wigglesworth Architects in the Mellor Primary School as one of the walls has been turned into a ‘bug hotel ’ and bird house through various, disregarded pieces of wood. This has created an interesting textured façade while introducing a means for the children to learn through it. Evidently, material is a method that should be explored and integrated with intent. It should make an environment inviting and comforting while enhancing light and creating a sensory experience. It should also successfully integrate a safe experience for the children and a space for them to learn through exploration. Summary The overwhelming voice of economical interest could easily perceive a non-descript shed-like structure

as a ‘suitable’ substitute, however the psychological effects of this are disastrous. If a child is made to feel forgotten or unimportant by their day to day learning environment then how can they be taught otherwise? Therefore, there is a copious need to create an innovative and integrated environment that allows the user to feel a sense of safety, wellness and inclusion. Colour, materials, scale and form are just a small selection of the tools and applications available to the architect to help enhance a child’s learning experience. It is abundantly clear that each case should be linked directly to the needs and education of the particular user which in turn would create an interesting and unique environment for the school to help form an identity. However, it is clear that the role of the architect is significant in enhancing teaching because an inspirational place to learn can seriously alter and contribute to the future of the younger generation.

Fig 03. Sketch of Mellor Primary School - ‘Bug Hotel’



References: Noack, M. (1996). Der Schulraum als Pädagogikum. Zur Relevanz des Lernorts für das Lernen [School space as educational factor: On the importance of the environment for learning]. Weinheim: Deutscher Studien Verlag. OWP/P Architects (2010). The Third Teacher. New York: Abrams. Rittelmeyer, C. (2000). Schularchitektur aus Schülersicht. Kinderleben [School architecture from the students’ point of view. Children’s lives]. Zeitschrift für Jenaplan-Pädagogik, 12, 13–16. Rivlin, L.G., & Weinstein, C.S. (1984). Educational issues, school settings, and environmental psychology. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 4, 347–364. Sarah Wigglesworth Architects. (2015). Mellor Primary School. Available: Last accessed 11th December 2016. Sylvia O’Brien. (2014). Psychology of Colour in the Educational Environment. Available: html. Last accessed 11th December 2016. Walden, Rotraut. (2015). Schools for the future: design proposals from architectural psychology. Wiesbaden: Springer. Images: Drake and Lasdun, (1955), Hallfield Primary School, Paddington, London, England, 1955 [ONLINE]. Available at: CZ1wIIwWYAQTuyf.jpg [Accessed 11 December 2016]. Herman Hertzberger, (1983), Apollo Montessori Interior [ONLINE]. Available at png/details_apollo1356959000132.png [Accessed 11 December 2016]. Sarah Wigglesworth Architects, (2015), Mellor Primary School [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed 11 December 2016].




INTRODUCTION Lighting has always played an important part of school design and still is an important factor of good school designs (James R. Benya 2001). Until the 1950s, natural light predominated as a means of illuminating most school spaces. Classroom design was based in large part on timehonoured relationships between window sizes and room dimensions. As electric power costs declined and

designers began to take advantage of the increased flexibility provided by electric lighting, daylighting took a secondary role. Now, highly energy efficient windows and skylights and a renewed recognition of the positive psychological and physiological effects of daylighting allow a healthy and economical mix of natural and electric illumination in new and renovated schools (Heschong Mahone Group 1999).

Rolands Ziva .97

Lighting has always played an important part in school design and still is an important factor of good school designs (James R. Benya 2001). Until the 1950s, natural light dominated as a means of illuminating most school spaces. Classroom design was based in a large part on time-honoured relationships between window sizes and room dimensions. As electric power costs declined and designers began to take advantage of the increased flexibility provided by electric lighting, daylighting took a secondary role. Now, highly energy efficient windows and skylights and a renewed recognition of the positive psychological and physiological effects of daylighting allow a healthy and economical mix of natural and electric illumination in new and renovated schools (Heschong Mahone Group 1999). Simply adding windows and skylights is not really responsible daylighting (James R. Benya 2001). It is important that architects put more effort in designing daylighting in school buildings, as poorly designed daylighting and artificial lighting can create visual discomfort and disabling glare. Poor daylighting can introduce undesirable solar heat gain, causing discomfort and increasing ventilation and air conditioning loads as well as energy use. Good daylight design requires understanding a building`s local climate and use patterns, the

location, placement, shading of windows and skylights relative to their solar orientation (James R. Benya 2001). All reviewed literature had similar conclusions that stated the importance of daylight. Past studies were concentrating on different analysis, still similar research. It could be explained by the different aims and objectives of those research papers. These different aims help to determine different qualities and results on how daylight improves pupil’s performance, attention and health. It also develops an analysis on sustainability and compares light qualities with artificial lighting. In situations when the required amount of daylight cannot be achieved, good design of artificial lighting can be introduced, still obtaining sustainable and cost effective building design. To help illustrate the necessity for good school design, we need to present some facts on how much time students spend in schools. In Europe alone, more than 64 million students attend school around 200 days every year. 70% of the time they are in schools, students spend time in classrooms. In addition to that, there are approximately 4.5 million teachers in Europe, who work in nurseries, primary and secondary schools (Cara Maesano and Isabella Annesi-Maesano 2012).

«There is a large body of research linking health and productivity with specificbuilding design attributes, for instance, daylight.» Gregory Kats

Fig 01. Sketch drawing of a cross section showing examples of possible daylight uses.



Fig 02. Model of Lycee Albert Camus by Foster + Partners. Study of shading system use in school building..

The two main large scale studies took place in the United States and around Europe. The research in the United States was carried out by Heschong Mahone Group, and the research of schools in Europe was accomplished by Cara Maesano and Isabella Annesi-Maesano. We will review the results of the outcomes and draw conclusions from both studies. Previous studies have proven that students with the most daylight in the classroom progressed faster in one year on math tests and reading tests than those students who learned in environments that received the least amount of natural light (Heschong Mahone Group 1999). ‘There are many aspects to look upon to when designing daylighting in school. Starting from types of windows, location of windows as well as size of windows. Through studies in the United States, tests prove that students with the most daylighting in their classrooms progressed 20% faster on math tests and 26% on reading tests in one year than those with the least. Similarly, students in classrooms with the largest window RESEARCH I DAYLIGHT

areas were found to progress 15% faster in math and 23% faster in reading than those with the least. And students that had a welldesigned skylight in their room, one that diffused the daylight throughout the room and which allowed teachers to control the amount of daylight entering the room, also improved 19-20% faster than those students without a skylight. Study also identified another window-related effect, in that students in classrooms where windows could be opened were found to progress 7-8% faster than those in rooms with fixed windows. This occurred regardless of whether the classroom also had an air conditioning. These effects were all observed with 99% statistical certainty’ (Heschong Mahone Group 1999, p.2). This specific study analysed test score results for over 21,000 students from the three districts, located in Orange County (California), Seattle (Washington), and Fort Collins (Colorado). The three districts have different curriculum and teaching styles, different school building


designs and very different climates. Yet the results of the studies show consistently positive and highly significant effects. This consistency supports the proposition that there is a valid and predictable effect of daylighting on student performance. We can learn from this study the main aspects of daylighting design, which can influence students and staff positively; skylights, larger windows, and openable windows. There were two types of skylights mainly used in school design. Skylights can give more diffused daylight without any potential for direct sunlight to enter the room. But not all skylights did well in this study. Second type of skylight, observed in research, created glare by direct sunlight splashing on the classroom walls. This type is a clear acrylic skylight located in the corner of the classroom, often over the teacher’s desk. It is not provided with any controls to modulate the light. Thus, on sunny days, sunlight makes its way directly onto the walls or the teacher’s desk. This finding suggests that control of light and/or diffusion of direct sunlight are important features to include in a classroom skylight system (Heschong Mahone Group 1999). One way to deal with direct sunlight, where other design proposals are not possible, is to introduce shading. Shading can reflect sunlight and avoid excessive heat and sky glare (Department for

Education and Employment 1999). Skylights can be also used to produce more daylight in deeper areas of classroom. Endrup School in Denmark is a great example of how implementing skylights in a renovation project can change the quality of daylight received and improve environment. Adding roof windows increased the average daylight factor levels ranging between 3.7% and 5.7%, compared to the average daylight factor levels before – 0.8% to 1.1%. More than that, skylights helped to achieve a much better distribution of light and ensured that each student’s desk receives adequate levels of daylight and reduce the contrast in the daylight levels of the room (Christoffersen 2016). Introducing roof windows in this particular project, allowed a 55% saving on electricity by using less artificial lighting. Another positive case study of school we looked at, is The Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability in New York. It is not only first net ZERO energy building in New York City, it is one of the first of a kind of sustainable schools in the world, we can learn from. By implementing innovative sustainable features in school design, it uses 50 % less energy in comparison with other public schools in New York. Designers have also thoughtfully used natural daylight, to reduce a

Fig 03. Sketch drawing of a skylight providing diffused daylight in classrooms. Fig 04. Sketch Drawing of a skylight creating glare and contrasting light conditions.



Fig 05. & Fig 06. Image of renovated classrom in Endrup School, Denmark. Improved average daylight factor by implementing roof windows in renovation design.

dependence on artificial lighting. They have used skylights and reflective ceiling panels to amplify natural light. Some of the classrooms can go to 90% of the time without using artificial light and due to the skylight, there is rarely a need for using artificial lighting in hallways (Hill 2016). The research of the design study within schools around Europe analysed the performance of approximately 2,900 students in 54 schools and 148 classrooms. Students age range varied from 8-12. Because the study took place in different countries, test scores showed diverse results, due to the different education systems. In some

countries, observation displayed slower progress over an academic year. Start and finish results were lower in than others. Despite the lower test scores, students still progressed faster in classrooms where there was more daylight available. Larger window area is a proven fact in this study. Research shows, that in particular, there is a positive association between the window to floor area ratio and student scores and a weaker but significant positive association with the percentage of window area facing south. As the window to floor area ratio is a measure of how large a window is for a given space, we conclude that larger windows can have a positive effect on students. This may be a

Fig 07. Model of the Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability by SOM. Study of skylights and windows used in net ZERO Energy building.



result of abundant light, but may also be an indication that students who feel less closed in are more relaxed and can concentrate on their schoolwork (Maesano and AnnesiMaesano 2012). Large windows were also appreciated by teachers from Bousfield Primary School in London. On our study trip, we visited the school and we had a chance to speak to couple of the teachers. They appreciated the light coming in and the openness large windows were providing, they felt that classrooms are more suitable for children. Of course, teachers could not deny the heat loss over colder months, but the reason behind was simple; it was a listed modern building with restrictions and alterations like replacing windows or external insulation were not allowed. Teachers use blinds in situations where there is too much direct sunlight affecting the classroom. Clerestory windows were

used in the central space of Bousfield Primary School. Clerestory windows with a white opaque glass material helped to provide more light in the central space and reduced the need to use artificial lighting in this specific area. Clerestories can provide more daylight in a deep plan (Department for Education and Employment 1999). Health Healthy lifestyle and environment is very popular and important part of our lives. Students spend a lot of time indoors. Exposure to daylight is known to increase the production of Vitamin D. Research shows that improved lighting in schools had a positive impact on students. By average, in classrooms where more daylight was available, students were healthier and attended school around 3.5 days more often.

Fig 08. Image of Bausfield School in London. Clerestory windows bring more light in the central space.

Light Qualities It has been hypothesized that, compared to electric lighting, daylight has a better “light quality” that is more appropriate for human visual tasks, thereby increasing the visibility of the task, independent of the illumination levels (Heschong Mahone Group 1999). The term ‘light quality’ includes a number of different attributes 102.

that are generally considered to be favourable. The attributes are: better distribution of light, better colour rendering, absence of flicker etc. Better distribution of light relates to how the light falls in a space, and which surfaces are well illuminated. Most of the light, in artificial lighting designs for schools, are directed downwards. It is directed towards the desk tops, so horizontal surfaces are more brightly illuminated than RESEARCH I DAYLIGHT

Fig 09. Image of classroom in Bousfield Primary School, London. Large windows creates connection with nature.

vertical surfaces. In contrast, daylight is a much diffused source of light and tends to more evenly illuminate surfaces in all directions – up, down and sideways. Daylight can illuminate vertical surfaces, for instance, people`s faces and walls. Since classroom tasks involve a great part of looking at people and learning from material displayed on the walls, it may be that the stronger vertical component of daylight improves visibility in this way (Heschong Mahone Group 1999). Better colour rendition relates to the way colours tend to look more vivid under daylight. Daylight includes a continuous spectrum of light wavelengths, whereas most electric source are strong in some areas of the spectrum and weak in others. Therefore, daylight renders all colours well and in tones that we see as most natural. Flicker can cause headaches, eye strain and attention deficit problems. Flicker relates to the very rapid fluctuations in light levels that occur in electric lighting. Daylight does not flicker. Studies have shown that people who work under fluorescent lights with electronic ballasts have higher productivity than people working in similar conditions under RESEARCH I DAYLIGHT

lights with magnetics ballasts (Newsham and Veitch 1998). Thus with a presence of daylight, may cause the reduction of flicker. Summary There are many positive aspects of daylight. Good daylighting design in schools play an important part of improving student`s performance, health as well as behaviour and mood. Appropriately placed windows or skylights can contribute to sustainability and can be cost effective, reducing total use of electricity and life-cycle cost of operating school buildings. Daylighting can be effective and energy efficient. Architects should not overlook lighting in schools as it is one of the ways we can improve the environment around the students and teachers. It is one of the tools to create a better quality school design. Architects should understand that local climate, use patterns, location and shading of windows, all play big role in designing daylighting school buildings. Studies show that students in more daylit classrooms progress faster than those in classrooms with the least amount of daylight.


References: BENYA J. R., 2001. Lighting for Schools, National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities,. Washington D.C.: National Institute of Building Sciences CHRISTOFFERSEN J., HAMMELEV HANSEN A. K., ANDERSEN K., FOLDBJERG P., FÆRING ASMUSSEN T., 2016. Indoor climate in a renovated Danish school: Measurements of electric light, indoor temperature and air quality (CO2), DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT, 1999. BUILDING BULLETIN 90, Lighting Design for Schools. [online]. London: Crown. Available from: attachment_data/file/276707/Building_Bulletin_90_lighting_design_for_ schools.pdf [Accessed on 10.12.2016] GROOT E. AND HORDIJK J.R., 2010. Lighting in schools. [online]. Delft: Faculty of Architecture, TU Delft. Available from: http://docplayer. net/13848599-Lighting-in-schools-truus-de-bruin-hordijk-1-en-ellie-degroot-2-1-climate-design-building-physics-faculty-of-architecture-tudelft-the-netherlands.html [Accessed on 6.12.2012] HEALTHY SCHOOLS NETWORK, INC., 2012. Daylighting. [online]. New York: Healthy Schools Network, Inc. Available from: http://www. [Accessed on 8.12.2016] HESCHONG-MAHONE GROUP (1999). Daylight in Schools: An Investigation into the Relationship between Daylighting and Human Performance. Detailed Report. Fair Oaks, CA: Heschong-Mahone Group HILL J., 2016. The Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability at Sandy Ground, [online]. Zürich: American Architects. Available from: Grimm_School_for_Leadership_and_Sustainability_at_Sandy_Ground [accessed 10.12.16] MAESANO C., ANNESI-MAESANO I., 2016. Impact of Lighting on School Performance in European Classrooms. [online]. Paris: Epidemiology of Allergic and Respiratory Diseases Department. Available from: http:// [Accessed on 10.12.2016] NEWSHAM G.R. and VEITCH J.A., 1998. Lighting Quality and Energy-Efficiency Effects on Task Performance, Mood, Health, Satisfaction and Comfort, IESNA Journal, Vol 27, Number 1 Image references: ESKEROD T., Interior photo of Endrup School., photograph, viewed DECEMBER 2016, < endrup-school-fredensborg-denmark>.



INTRODUCTION There are regulations set to understand the criteria of what makes an effective design in accordance to the performance of the acoustics. This vital criteria allows spaces of effective teaching and learning, especially for those with learning needs and impaired hearing. Acoustics in schools are important to give students a pleasant working environment as well as allow teachers to have to put less strain on their voices.

To incorporate effective acoustics within a building design is more effective and cheaper than to later introduce this. Therefore, it is up to the architect to understand and implement the design to meet the design criterias from early stages of the process. Acoustics arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t prioritised but ineffective designs can make the learning experience difficult and irritable for a student if the building canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t control the sound levels.

Mariem Ahmed .105

Generally, schools that have easy access to transport, suffer from acoustic problems that can be measured by carrying out a noise survey. In order to improve these sites locations, zoning and noise screening can be implemented by using playing fields as buffer zones between noisy streets and the school building. In order to achieve the indoor ambient noise levels on a site with high noise levels, considerable sound insulation or screening could be incorporated in the building envelope and if necessary, together with mechanical ventilation or acoustically designed passive ventilation. Noise levels of the site during school hours should always be considered before designing the building envelope.

Noise barriers can be more effective than distance in reducing noise rails or road traffic. The best solution to overcome vibrations in the school building is to enhance ground conditions. Hedges or trees, whether aligned in a row or not, do not make effective noise barriers without being accompanied by a fence or alike. Landscaping or neighbouring buildings perform as better barriers, as shown in figure 2. The first image shows no acoustical shielding, the second has better shielding from embankment but can be improved, and the third is the most effective as the earth bunds act as acoustic barriers and planting acts as a visual barrier.

Fig 01. Typical sources of noise. (Institute of Acoustics, Acoustics & Noise Consultants, 2015)



Fig 02. The idea of landscaping as a traffic noise barrier. (Institute of Acoustics, Acoustics and Noise Consultants, 2015)

Something as simple as regulating all lesson changes to be at the same time can really reduce noise transmission during class hours. During the planning stage, zoning of the building can also heavily reduce noise between classrooms. Storerooms, corridors and less sensitive rooms can be used as buffer zones between spaces to reduce noise levels. Rooms such as classrooms that are noise-sensitive are advised to be designed away from external combustion if possible and mechanically serviced spaces such as sports halls and assembly halls can be used to form as a buffer zone. Stairwells and entrance halls can cause disturbance from heavy trafficking so they should be designed far from classrooms or with a lobby or a double (back-to-back) door as shown in figure 3.

Fig 03. Left: lobby door Right: double (back-to-back) door



Fig 04. (a) Surface finishes in classroom or lecture theatre:

Design of Rooms for Speech

a. Rear wall - sound absorbing or diffusing b. Ceiling - sound reflective (eg plasterboard) c. Floor - sound absorbing (eg carpet) d. Walls - sound reflective e. Ceiling - sound absorbing

A key factor within schools is that they should consider the design of rooms for speech to enable effective and clear communication between teachers and students or else, the space may not be suitably accommodating for a teaching and learning environment. Classrooms should be designed with as little need for teachers to raise their voices against any background noise when talking to the students as this can lead to voice strain and possibly permanent vocal damage. The design and materials used in the classroom can create a better environment for speech as shown in Figure 4.

Fig 04. (b) Surface finishes in classroom or lecture theatre: a. Rear wall - sound absorbing or diffusing b. Ceiling - sound reflective (eg plasterboard) c. Floor - sound absorbing (eg carpet) d. Walls - sound reflective e.Top of walls - sound absorbing or diffusing

Fig 05. Effects of room geometry on speech (Institute of Acoustics, Acoustics and Noise Consultants, 2015)



The effects of room geometry play a significant role to maintain adequate levels of speech within the classroom. The seating arrangement and the stance of the teacher can play a role in this as demonstrated in Figure 5. Pupils with special requirements Over the years, changes have been made to mainstream schools to incorporate childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s special needs including those with special hearing requirements. Currently, 85% of pupils with permanent hearing impairment are receiving their education in mainstream schools, which increases the demand to improve acoustics within these spaces. Improved acoustic conditions can benefit pupils such as those with permanent hearing impairment; speech, language and visual impairments; autistic spectrum disorder (ASD); attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD); or with any auditory processing disorder or difficulty. It is more than likely that a pupil of one of these categories falls into a mainstream classroom so adequate design should be considered for every teaching space. To ensure a better working environment for these children, low frequency noise should be reduced completely as this can mask important speech sounds and make listening irritable for the listener. Acoustic absorption needs to be controlled in teaching spaces to allow for short reverberation times, especially when there are many people talking at once during group study times. The needs of a hearing impaired pupil is set to be a lot more demanding than that of any general person so it is recommended to seek advice from a professional audiologist and acoustician to specify the appropriate classroom acoustic conditions for each pupil. There are many steps that an architect can take during the design process of a school to ensure that adequate teaching spaces are created with great noise control. Open teaching spaces prove to be more difficult than the standard classroom design as speech ineligibility increases and proves to cause more distractions to pupils. However, creating a better working environment for all shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t limit the architect in his design. There are adequate measures that could be taken to ensure speech is controlled in cafeterias, gymnasiums and classroom and architects should always be aware.



References: Institute of Acoustics, Acoustics & Noise Consultants. (2015). Acoustics of schools: A design guide. Retrieved 12 9, 2016, from http://www.ioa. design%20guide%20November%202015_1.pdf Department for Education (2015) Schools: Departmental advice. Available at: (Accessed: 6 December 2016). Shield and J E Dockrell. The effects of noise on children at school: a review. In ‘Collected papers in Building Acoustics: Room Acoustics and Environmental Noise (ed B Gibbs, J Goodchild, C Hopkins and D Oldham), 159-182, 2010. Mikulski, W. and Radosz, J. (2011) ‘Acoustics of classrooms in primary schools - results of the reverberation time and the speech transmission index assessments in selected buildings’, Archives of Acoustics, 36(4). doi: 10.2478/v10168-011-0052-6.



INTRODUCTION In the past decade we have established that the world is quickly evolving. It has never been so active and fast-paced as it is at this moment. As technology continues to advance at a rapid rate, we are becoming a culture very much used to instant gratification, attempting to do as

much as possible with little patience for delay. Globalisation is the process responsible for these advances, leading us into a new world and mindset remarkably different from what previous generations have been accustomed to.

Arsène Frère .111

Globalisation is the emergence of a new scale. The world now exists as a system, as an inseparable whole, unable to function without preserving a tenuous link between all parties. Today, capitalism is at its peak. Material and immaterial trading have boomed and these rely on the technologies of communication and information. When considering how the world previously functioned ; it is clear that youth has never had access to such a wealth of information, knowledge and materials. Technology is entwined in almost every part of our lives. It affects how we shop, socialize, connect, play, and most importantly learn. With the increasing presence of technology in our lives, it is worth seriously considering the use of mobile technology in the classroom. In addition, education is forever changing; with new policies, guidelines and practices consistently implemented. As education changes, technologies are being introduced in order to enhance our education system. However, several schools are postponing the use of technology in their classrooms, despite being aware of the priceless tool for effective learning it may be. One of the major purposes of education is to prepare children to enter the future workforce, and contribute effectively to society. Considering the increase in the use of wireless technology in workplaces worldwide, it is sensible to expose students to this in schools in order to leave them wellequipped for potential careers.



Technology as a Skill Digital learning tools, such as computers and hand held devices, are often used to support learning 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As well as facilitating the development of valuable 21st century skills, technology is thought to increase student engagement and drive, therefore accelerating learning. Technology also has the power to transform teaching by acting as a tool to allow students and teachers


to work and learn together as a team, otherwise known as connected teaching. This model links teacher to their students, therefore improves the quality and meaning of instruction from teachers, as well as helping to personalise learning. As our nation becomes increasingly more technology-dependent, it becomes even more necessary that to be successful citizens, students must learn to be tech-savvy.


Online Learning Online learning opportunities and the use of open educational resources can increase educational productivity both by accelerating the rate of learning and reducing costs associated with instructional materials such as printing. In addition, with students taking digital responsibility for their own learning, less valuable teacher time is taken up. In online learning, students will actively participate in the classroom via a backchannel device (i.e., Today’s Meet, Padlet, Twitter, a Google Apps adaptation). The stream of student comments, thoughts, questions and ideas will appear on the class SmartScreen, which students can access on their digital devices during the class. The teacher, also through accessing this resource, can then address any comments and concerns that the pupils may have. Therefore, technology acts as a tool to effectively enhance participation for all pupils, a key factor in effective learning. Absence can often be an issue for teachers, particularly the time and effort required in ‘catching someone up’ who has missed a lesson. However, in online learning,


classes will be available online via YouTube or Google Hangouts. If students miss a class, it will be their responsibility to use this resource to avoid falling behind. With technology, we can transition from the traditional passive learning mold where the teacher ‘transmits information’ to a form of active learning where students take responsibility themselves and ‘get involved’. This greatly compliments modern methods of education where this is encouraged. With technology in the classroom the teacher becomes a facilitator, guiding the pupils as they learn and discover knowledge for themselves. This sense of control students have over their own learning helps them both to make decisions and to help them to think for themselves. Importantly, technology can increase the enjoyment that children gain from learning. Children’s needs are more accommodated for, with videos and podcasts working well for those who may not work well reading and writing. It makes sense that this variety in the classroom compliments effective learning, as more children are catered for.


The New Tools What will classrooms of the future be like? Although not particularly well known; emerging technologies such as cloud computing, augmented reality and 3D printing may be paving their way into the future classroom. With the possibility of classrooms eventually being burdened with this technology, it must be considered the effect these will have on the classroom. 3D printing Instead of being restricted to what resources are available, pupils in the classroom of the future may be able print out 3D models for various purposes, to use as tools or materials in their own learning. Therefore, there is a possibility that 3D printers may one day be used on a daily basis to aid in student learning through the creation of previously non-existent resources. Tablets and Laptops Students will each have a digital device such as an iPad, Tablet or Chromebook. Anything that is portable, therefore capable of fitting into a studentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bag, could become the one digital tool needed for all pupil work. Heavy books will be a thing of the past. Through activities such as class presentations or active learning games, these devices will likely improve participation in the classroom. Teachers and students can share content with each other and while sharing a screen, a student or teacher can write on it to enhance engagement in the lesson. Accessing individual work and sharing work with the class will become more feasible, with a significant drop in resources required and time taken to arrange resources for a lesson.






INTRODUCTION If we are to believe that the physical design of a school can directly impact and correlate to the success and enjoyment of a childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s educational life, then surely the classroom must be key. A space of intense learning and focus, not only in developing the knowledge and skills of children but also encouraging the attainment of important life lessons and social intelligence. The classroom must be

a place that is pleasant and enjoyable to be within, in these modern times it is important that there is a move away from sterile, institutionalised learning environments. If a physical environment is created that is warm and friendly in appearance, students will feel more comfortable and perhaps more emotionally invested within that space.

Joe Leask .117

Approach to Design In a small ever-changing space that has such specific requirements for the allowance of many differing activities to take place within it, how is a sense of order and discipline evoked through the design? Flexibility is often seen as key but this must abide by a certain level of class structure, which is to be imposed upon the children. The architectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s role in this sense can be seen as an unenviable assignment where when everything is taken into consideration, it can be said there is no perfect solution. How does one make simplistic decisions about the design of a classroom environment when, at one point in the day, the space is required to morph between use as whole class entity then immediately switch to suit each child working on an individual basis. A further variant is then added to this scenario where each teacher is indeed different and possess distinctive or contrasting means of teaching. The teacher effectively controls the classroom; they initiate a cycle through planning and preparing tasks and activities for the children, which are then implemented in various ways. This can be through discussion, experimentation or a television programme etc. The children then engage with their work within a classroom management system set up by the teacher (e.g. individuals working by themselves focused on a specific task; mixed ability groups is an integrated day arrangement; the whole class working in small cooperative groups on one task, etc.) When the teacher deems the work to be complete then this information is then fed back to the class in an appropriate way then planning begins again for the next series of objectives. The design of a classroom must take on further considerations to other key factors such as economics, culture and resource. In some cases the layout of the classroom takes on less importance and it is more about the method of teaching or the potential for different activities to take place within a space.

Fig 01. Sketch of the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;experimental classroomâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Richard Neutra



To that end, it can be said that there must be a level of dialogue during the design process not only with the board of education but also more respectively with teaching staff. This is often an overlooked resource when working on an educational scheme. Architects are guilty of producing a response to a set of functional requirements set out on a brief as if they are set criteria frozen in time. It is up to the architects to be more reflective upon the importance of consultation with all related bodies in a serious and committed way. Furthermore the involvement of teaching staff from the design inception right through to the finished scheme, leaves them with a space they will understand and know how to inhabit and utilise to its greatest potential. Another undervalued resource is to speak directly to the students. If approached in a manner that allows for valuable information to be efficiently collected, this can provide information and insight previously not considered. Data collection can be achieved through the use of focus groups with the school kids or simple questionnaires designed for children of various levels throughout the school. This type of work may prove to be time consuming and not always as successful as anticipated but it must be advised due to the fact that ultimately, the building is there to serve the needs of the children. An example of a questionnaire survey can be seen in Fig.1. This was conducted as part of the development of a new wing of accommodation at De La Salle School, Liverpool. Fig 02. Pupil questionaire sample from La Salle School, Liverpool. Student engagement within the design process.

Whilst this process is important, it must be remembered that there is always guidance on almost all aspects of school design. This limits design progression in terms of cost, size, quality, materiality and functionality. It is often common that key elements are simply replicated across many schemes and not considered in terms of the individual projects and possible differing needs of said project. This leads to a struggle between design aspiration and logical compromise. An ideal classroom would be bound by no restriction in terms of many of these factors, but a sense of realism must be maintained.



Classrooms as Specialist Facilities While an ideal classroom has to be seen as specific to its context and flexible in nature, it must also be a form of interpretation to the national curriculum that is currently in place. More so at the secondary level of education than primary, classrooms are required to house specific subjects or be adaptable to suit several. This is a move to tune classroom spaces more closely to what is expected from the curriculum. There are rooms for art and design, technology, music, science, home economics, languages and other vocational subjects. These are usually formed as part of a prescription set by the relevant educational authority to simply create a space focused on the subject determined within. In terms of planning, these spaces are the easiest to enhance through architectural design. An architects influence can be seen through clever technical care, such as the need to provide heat extraction, where a large number of computers are in use within the same space, to the addition of a rooftop terrace to act as an outdoor planting space as an extension of a science classroom. In contrast to this, classrooms for teaching subjects such as English and mathematics, which essentially involve traditional desktop reading and writing activities, take place within a simple rectangular form. Desks are forward facing to a point of focal dictation and the space is acoustically effective and well ventilated. It can be said that this is possibly in response to effective individual learning and focus, rather than group orientated learning or teamwork. These subjects also carry a sense of historicism in their teaching methods as they can be seen in institutionalised precedents. After consideration of the above writing, it raises the question, is there a way to provide a classroom for all subjects and activities? If this is so, would it detrimentally impact the success of teaching any of the subjects within this flexible space or would this be an appropriate scenario. If this is not possible, then it would be interesting to look at grouped classrooms, maybe two or three different design proposals, which cater for several different lessons to be taught within each. After all, with the constrictive nature of designing schools at this time, spaces are to be in constant use and it is poorly received if it can be seen that rooms are going unoccupied or unused for long periods of time. 120.

Fig 03. Quick sketches showing basic considerations of different classroom typeologies. Although only simplistic ideas are conveyed (i.e. furniture arrangement, access and store spaces etc. ) Further thought would now be given to material qualities and how they may differ across the different spaces. In addition to this the environment would differ greatly between the classrooms, in terms of ventilation, light, temperature and more. Technologies also have their place within each of these classroom types, this is to allow for the ideal environment for cooking, dealing with chemicals and standard components such as smartboards or visual projectors.


A Case for the L-Shaped Classroom

A key article on the subject of classroom design is ‘The Case for the L-shaped Classroom’ by James Dyck. He argues that the conventional rectangular classroom form is far from ideal. Strengthening the argument that a well designed classroom is integral to the learning outcomes of children, his research recognises this truth. Dyck points out that historically, facilities inherently used by children were designed to prepare them for factory life. As such, the classroom was viewed as almost a factory in itself, a place where kids are in receipt of knowledge. Children sat in organised ranks and even as school buildings changed throughout time, this was maintained as a constant occurance. “It has to accommodate the formation and functioning of small learning groups while providing a sense of seperation, because groups working too closely together will experience distractions and non-productive interaction. It has to be flexible enough to allow the continual reorganisation of the whole class into various sizes and numbers of small learning groups. This means the space must be as free as possible of permanent obstructions. It has to be manageable by a single teacher who has command of the entire space. This means the space must be compact and open. We found that the modern classroom has competing requirements: distance and separation on the one hand; compactness and flexibility on the other. While the squat rectangle scores well on compactness and flexibility, it does poorly on distance and separation. The challenge, therefore is to find a shape that meets both requirements.”

Fig 04. Alternative classroom layouts within the fat L: A shows the class meeting as a group with all the children gathered in the centre; B shows children working in small groups at tables and C shows about half the children gathered around the teacher for reading time whilst the rest work in small groups. James A. Dyck, who carried out this research, believes that the L-shaped classroom can be most easily organised to permit a wide variety of pupil groupings, and with bookshelves and storage cabinets, can enhance the sense of separation individual pupils need within the classroom.

To summarise his theory, a short fat L-shaped form was the ideal layout since it provided all of the above possibilities at an economical cost. In terms of flexibility it offered various interesting propositions for grouped and individual use. These then go on to form microcosms of activity in which different atmospheres reflect the tasks carried out. Some may have a need for solitude and calm whereas others can be much more free and boisterous.



The L-shaped plan has gone on to influence the design of classrooms all over the world, to varying degrees of success. The idea is offered simply as a template that must be moulded further to reference the variables and context of a certain situation. Several famed architects have gone on to make use of this plan within their designs and it has proven that this learning environment not only affords multiple activity settings, but also is an integrated, flexible and variable environment. One prime example making use of the aforementioned ideas can be seen in Delft, in a school designed by Herman Hertzberger. In this situation, the classroom cannot be seen as an isolated element as it connects strongly with a communal hall/street immediately outside. Within this space a range of different floor levels have been introduced to aid the concept of distance and separation between pupils within a relatively small space. For Hertzberger, the classroom within this Montessori school is a far more architectural space than Dycke’s L-shaped classroom, with the potential for its use in a number of different modes; “… everything we make must be a catalyst to stimulate the individual to play the roles through which his identity will be enriched… form makes itself, and that is less of a question of intervention than of listening well to what a person and a thing want to be.”

Fig 05. Montessori Primary School, Delft, designed by Herman Hertzberger. A classroom layout which incorporates a sophisticated L-shape form with floor-height variations and an openable ‘hatch’ to the communal corridor or ‘street’ which accommodates a group table and wet area, extending the classroom zone.

A second example can be seen in Geschwister School in Lünen by Hans Scharoun. In this case the L-shaped plan is taken a step further as it is implemented in a more unusual, geometrically fragmented manner. This brings added interest to the edges of the space and encourages exploration around corners to seek what activities take place beyond. The curious shape was also intended to give the rooms separate identities closely related to their functions, but also to develop in the students a high degree of territorial identity. His theories for classroom design encapsulated the idea that differently aged pupils should have different shapes and colours to interact with. Scharoun treated school life very much as a community orientated space. The classrooms, in their angular form, would create small neighbourhood cloisters, encouraging separate yet close interaction with the students of other classes. The cloisters are formed around what Scharoun considered as the two most important school spaces; the entrance hall and auditorium. 122.

Fig 06. Geschwister School in Lünen by Hans Scharoun. The classroom unit consists of: 1. Classroom; 2. Annex; 3. Entrance; 4. External Teaching Space


Classroom Layout Methodology




In the examples discussed so far, the classroom design has mainly been focused towards the standard means of teaching. However, it should be recognised that around the globe there are different drivers for classroom layout. The previous design solutions may work well for the teaching system they are based upon, but in different places where unique methods are used, they may not be the most appropriate solution. One example of this can be seen at the Baan Huay Sarn Yaw School in Thailand. As part of the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Design for Disastersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; campaign to provide school buildings in rural areas affected by natural disasters, the school building is elevated above the countryside on stilts. The steel structure is built to withstand earthquakes and provide a multi-functional external space underneath the classrooms. In terms of classroom layout, the arrangement is that of a rectangle. The furniture is placed around the perimeter of the classroom space, leaving the central area of the room free. The space in the middle is then considered to be the teaching space where lessons are dictated to the students. It is understood that the main driver for this layout is the lack of technology. Most forward facing classrooms are towards a board upon which the teacher writes. However, in this case there is no need for such a focal point with the teacher being the primary resource of activity and teaching.

Fig 07. Internal view of on of the classroom spaces. Note the rectangular layout and central teaching space.

Socially, this type of classroom is uniquely successful. It is possible for all the children to see each other at all times and class discussion is encouraged. There is a less formal feel to the space and this no doubt influences the use of the classroom in a positive manner. Due to the warm climate, outdoor learning is very important in Thailand. The space underneath the classroom is just as key as the classroom itself. It can almost be considered as an extension of the teaching space as when temperatures climb, the outdoor space is shaded and more comfortable to work in.



The Lycée Albert Camus in Fréjus, southern France, takes a very different approach in terms of the classroom design and activities that go on within them. Designed by Foster & Partners, it was not determined or conclusive what type of activity would go on within each classroom. The school is effectively a polyvalent college, a new type of educational building in France aimed at bridging the gap between school and the workplace. Moving away from traditional subjects, skills based learning would take place for things like joinery, plumbing, electrical engineering and cooking. The brief was to capture the essence of the polyvalence approach and provide a series of replicated spaces that within which, almost anything could happen. Tall, light spaces with little restrictions in place in terms of services or furniture placement would allow for maximum adaptability. It

was up to the school how best each space could be inhabited. The approach was inspired by work previously completed by Herman Hertzberger. The Central Baheer office complex in Apeldoorn encapsulates this method where instead of designing for a specific purpose, polyvalence entails introducing the greatest number of spatial conditions that can play a part in every situation whatever the function, and can simply be put to use on each new occasion. The office complex was even handed over for use at a level of complete unrealisation, this was so the workers could come in and physically adapt the spaces and finish it in a way more useful to them. Although not on the same level, the impact this approach has had can be seen on the Lycée Albert Camus, with the bare rooms and minimalist finish.

Fig 08. 1.20 Sectional model through a typical classroom of the Lycée Albert Camus in Fréjus



Fig 09. The immediately striking Kindergarten Kecic in Ljubljana gives students a chance to customise and adapt their own working space. With wooden slats covering the faรงade of the building, students are invited to manually alter their position to allow more or less light in to the classrooms. The simplistic interior designs make use of natural wood tones and significant amounts of space. With almost all the furniture flexible and loose, the students can completely customise their learning environment and experience.



At this stage in our search for what can be considered ‘the ideal classroom’, it is clear that there is no perfect solution. Instead it can be concluded that the best classrooms are designed in response to the prevailing social, political and technological movements of a specific time. The needs and requirements of a classroom constantly change and as we pass through the years, the influence time and progression has on education, becomes more apparent. The growing awareness of this fact informs what should be done next and always has. This is why in the last century; classroom design has evolved through many interesting phases, shifting and adapting to new ideas. The Victorian Classroom Looking closely at the history of what can be considered modern education within England, the story begins with the establishment of the School Boards in the 1870’s. This was a move away from church buildings as the principal source of schooling and the introduction of compulsory education attendance until the age of 10. The Victorian period saw an unprecedented increase not only in

the quantity of construction but also in the variety of building types. New styles of architecture and classroom planning were pioneered. As the Victorian era gained prominence, closer consideration to the school environment was given. The importance of tall, light and naturally ventilated spaces was underlined. In the early 1900’s the average number of children in one classroom was up to around 60. This was much higher than what was seen as acceptable, with most classrooms designed to accommodate no more than 40-48 students. In spite of large classes, teachers maintained a sense of authority and heightened domination of the space. Classrooms were often tiered or raked like a modern day lecture theatre, maintaining directness in a visual sense towards the teachers standing point at the front of the room. Teachers seldom moved around the classroom, once teaching had concluded at the blackboard, they would return to their own desk. An exception to this may be seen in rural schools, classrooms were often found with level floors as the overall footprint was much smaller.

Fig 10. This drawing represents a British ideal classroom layout from the turn of the century, a replication of a sketch from the book School Architecture by E.R. Robson.



When the class was to work away by themselves, the teacher sat at a specially designed desk, raised up so that they could look out over the whole of the space. It was common at this time that boys and girls were taught in separate spaces, the boys usually taught by male teachers and the girls with female teachers. In the early years of schooling, children would sit at rowed benches, as they moved into the upper years, desks were supplied individually. The desks were essentially the same throughout the country, only varying in size; they included a liftable lid for students to keep belongings in. The desk can be identified as a key feature of the Victorian classroom, it gave a sense of belonging to each student knowing they had their own personal space in which to work and keep their work and tools.

Fig 11. Horace Mann’s plan for the one-room schoolhouse, 1938, from Weisser 2006.

In terms of the Victorian classroom, as an environment, good ventilation was of fundamental importance to school designers at the turn of the century, and new systems for the purpose of ventilating and heating schools and classrooms were emerging. An abundance of fresh air was taken in through the tall glazed elements, the emphasis at the time being natural ventilation as the optimum solution. This led to heating issues, as the air in winter was much colder. Often the solution was to have a coal fire in each room. As new technologies were developed, the priority was to maintain this intake of fresh air, but as it’s taken in, heat it up and allow it to circulate around the large classroom space. Day lighting was a fundamentally important aspect of earlier school buildings. Due to the lack of electric lighting available. As natural lighting was regarded as the main means of creating a functional space, careful consideration was given to take advantage of the best conditions. A number of scholars point out “light should come over the shoulder of each pupil”. This was on the assumption that students should write with their right hand.

Fig 12. A diagrammatic explanation of how classroom spaces should be lit, the importance of avoiding dark spots from windows that do not extend to

At this time, the standards for day lighting were rather prescriptive. Classrooms were required to achieve specific ratios of glazing to floor area, this set in motion a standardisation of the internal classroom design. Window area was to equal 40 to 50 percent of the total wall area.



Progressive Classroom Design Moving through the inter-war years, it was unfortunate that due to conflict many ideas went largely unrealised. The education system was expanded to encompass and encourage secondary education for all. Economically, Britain faced an immense struggle; The 1911 and 1921 Education Acts saw local byelaws lifted to develop cheaper school buildings in the face of mass budget and funding cuts across the country. There was a rise in popularity of brick and steel constructed schools as their implantation allowed for greater planning flexibility and ease of assembly. The only real progression architecturally was seen through the use of the competition process. This gave architects the opportunity to be imaginative and offer previously unconcieved solutions to the needs of educators at this time. Attitudes were changing towards the classroom, not only in a design sense but visionaries such as Maria Montessori and John Dewey provided new ideas towards teaching methodology. Alongside these educational experts was a generation

of architects that encouraged the rethinking of architecture in schools. Many of these buildings became notable, including Eliel Saarinen and his Cranbrook Boy’s School, Alvar Aalto’s Tehtaanmaki School and Richard Neutra’s modern take on education. Many of these came to be known as “open air schools” due to the emphasis placed on air, light, outdoor learning and ease of circulation. One key example of this movement that provides innovation in classroom design is the Impington Village School by Walter Gropius and Maxwell Fry. This was a combined high school and community adult learning center built in 1936. It was highly functional, with much thought given to the importance of fresh air in classrooms, outdoor connectivity and the encouragement of positive physical health. Aesthetically striking, employed is the timeless floor to ceiling windows and operable façade (FIG) still in popular use today. With education seen largely as sitting behind a desk forlong periods of the day, this was a move to encourage learning outdoors.

Fig 13. Sketch of Impington Village College by Walter Gropius and Maxwell Fry. The classrooms have a close relationship with the outdoors.



Fig 14. Plan of the Impington Village College. Classrooms highlighted in red, each one holds a close relationship with the outdoors

The classroom wing, with five standard classrooms and a science lab, is at the back of the school for privacy and separation. The courtyard side has a covered walkway so the classrooms are accessed externally. This allows for the outside walls on both sides of the classrooms to be comprised of continuous full height windows for balanced natural light. On the southern elevation there are sliding doors for direct access to the outside. (Fig.3.)

Fig 14. Plan of Bruderholz-Schulhaus, Basel. Similar to the ideas of Gropius in Impington Village

Elsewhere in northern Europe, Hermann Baurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bruderholz School in Basel, followed a similar ideology to that of Gropiusâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Impington Village School. The 1939 design exemplifies the small pavilion-type school developed in Switzerland. The overall organisation of the school includes three single-storey classroom pavilions aligned in a series, with the north pavilion designated for boys, the middle pavilion for girls and the south for a kindergarten. Its conceptual approach was to create a more intimate and home like environment for small children to learn in. All classrooms face south, opening into a series of private courtyards. Through the use of covered walkways, this was a move to campus based school design. The protected courtyards were seen as safe spaces for kids to play in, security was becoming a key aspect to consider in school design.



The Post-war Classrooms One in five schools in England and Wales were destroyed or badly damaged in the Second World War. Emerging from the ashes and ruin of a devastating global conflict, post-war Britain faced a strenuous reconstruction period, a search for its identity and place within a brave new world. The pressures of war and a sense of reminiscence of destruction fostered a national determination to “build a better tomorrow”. In an age of bomb-damaged austerity, architects were to be given the opportunity to rebuild a country. A blank canvas for new development and innovation and a chance to undo the mistakes made in the past. Groundbreaking technologies developed through the struggle; cutting-edge materials and new construction methods could be put to the test in a positive means. Radicalism was encouraged, risks were considered and ambition was high. Some of the most creative and important minds were able to achieve great architectural feats through design in all building typologies. The rebuilding of schools across

England following the war was to be a monumental task and due to an unforeseen national baby boom it was shrouded with further difficulty. A movement towards prefabrication gripped the nation in the early 1950’s. In the peaceful town of Hunstanton, Norfolk, there was a sudden furor. Greeted with excitement and craze in the architectural community, a landmark arose in the form of Hunstanton Secondary Modern School - the world’s very first New-Brutalist building. Seen as somewhat controversial figures in British architecture, the building was designed by Alison and Peter Smithson and completed in 1954. Possessing a mechanistic image, an emphasis was placed on attaining a light and airy characteristic. This was made possible by the advancement in construction technology progressed through the Hertfordshire programme. Again, importance was placed on maximizing light within the classroom. Everything was very much standardised though, it wasn’t so much a design for the children but a quick solution to the momentous challenge of school shortage.

Fig 15. Hallfield Primary School from above. Note the fragmented nature of the scheme, especially the low-lying infant classrooms reaching out into the woodlands.



Fig 16. Plan of Hallfield Primary School, classrooms highlighted in red

In contrast, something very different occurred in Greater London just one year later. The dismissal of the modernist gridular approach led Denys Lasdun and Lindsay Drake to integrate a fragmented and curvaceous composition within a 2.75-acre woodland amongst the Hallfield Estate. Fig 17. Classroom interior of Hunstanton Secondary Modern School

Fig 14. Plan of Bruderholz-Schulhaus, Basel. Similar to the ideas of Gropius in Impington Village

The poetic and appealing form allows for the appreciation and retention of the existing trees, maintaining a sense of beauty about the site. Not only does the building respond to its context, but it also offers a connection of humanistic sense and scale in comparison to the nearby residential tower blocks. Pioneering a new palette of materials for school buildings and adopting a new approach in classroom design, this scheme should be exemplified as one of countries best pieces of educational architecture The junior classroom sat peacefully within the woodland. Studying in class was almost like sitting in a meadow. Laid out in angular forms, the classroom connected to each other and eventually the main body of the school. This design was incredibly clever, each classroom had three glazed elevations, offering a strong connection with nature.



The ’Impulsive’ Era During this time there were several influences on classroom design. The post-war baby boom was a thing of the past and generally, populations were declining. Schools faced a rethinking and reconfiguration of space to deal with this issue as there was fewer requirements for new school buildings. New research into the layout of the classroom led to groundbreaking discoveries. Studies proved that other dimensions of the physical environment could have an impact on student’s behaviour and attitudes. Further consideration was being given to the psychological effects design can have on children and how can the school experience be bettered through physical design. The result of this period were two controversial education movements, open education classrooms and open space schools, both of which adopt new approaches to using classroom space. The open-space school concept was introduced into the United States in 1965 as an experimental elementary school architecture where the physical walls separating classrooms were removed to promote movement across class areas. One school that made use of

the open plan was the Disney School by Perkins & Will. Completed in 1960 in Chicago, large pod areas served as the major classroom spaces, with little definition of space within them. Social interaction was encouraged as boundaries between classes and year groups had been negated. An emphasis was placed on learning together. The idea of the open classroom was that a large group of students of varying skill levels would be in a single, large classroom with several teachers overseeing them. There are studies attempting to measure the success of open plan schools. Some researchers say that the children become too distracted as the layout allows them to see across into other classes or areas of the school building. In practice this method was not typical since teachers, following social conventions, tend to teach in a traditional manner as if the walls were still present. Advocates of open plan schools argue that students ‘should be allowed to learn in ways suited to their individual differences’ and that the most effective teaching and learning strategies allow teachers to work with each other and team teach.

Fig 18. Disney School, an early idealised open-plan concept diagram



The Modern Classroom

Fig 19. External facade of the Burntwood School, Wandsworth

Today, the most common approach in classroom design is the traditional one. Forward facing, strict, static and repetitive are seen as the key characteristics of learning spaces. Furniture is still found arranged in formal rows or small groups. Possibly, the biggest change is in the spaces between the classroom and other facilities within a school. More so in secondary education, in addition to the standard classroom spaces, areas are created as an extension of the learning environment. Within a close proximity to the classroom you can find breakout spaces for collaborative learning, socialising and teamwork activities, small independent study zones for individual focus and also specialist facilities. Specialist facilities are typically technology rooms where computers are available and studio labs where more unusual activities can take place. A contemporary project with exemplary classroom design is the Burntwood School in Wandsworth design by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris. Completed in 2014 and the winner of the 2015 Stirling Prize, the school takes inspiration from the post-war schemes mentioned earlier. It recalls the values of a more generous era, with light flooded classrooms set in a park-like campus. The spaces created are full of fresh air and optimism.

Fig 20. Typical classroom of the Burntwood School. Note the generous ceiling height, bright and airy feel to the space and employment of colour

The school consists of six classroom blocks, each four storeys tall. They are clad with deeply chamfered precast panels giving a sense of depth and weight. This creates an ever-changing light as the sun passes through the openings during the day, playful shadows are cast as light filters across the buildings hefty sculpted surfaces. The classrooms enjoy high ceilings and big windows, while the corridors are punctuated with double- and triple-height breakout spaces, where older students can get on with their work in peace. The whole place has the sense of a university campus, and the grown-up feeling has clearly rubbed off on the pupils.



Future Classrooms When considering the future of classroom design, there are three main factors; the teaching method, the approach adopted by students and the means for examination. Each factor is individual in itself but impact the other two. Education is changing, teachers are no longer primarily lecturing from the front of the class. Students don’t fervently copy the instructor’s words down, read text or memorise material for tests. Technology use within the classroom changes every few years, the new smart boards installed across the country are no considered out dated. As quickly as new technologies arise, other devices previously deemed indispensable fall out of favour. Kids that have just entered nursery will have no idea what type of classroom environment they will start at in just a few short years. The truth is it is impossible to predict what will come next as the rate of change is so quick.

student will have a personal digital device. Whether this is a tablet or laptop, it doesn’t matter. So long as it fits neatly in a backpack and is highly portable. All work would be completed on these devices, in class and at home. Furthermore they could be use for instant communication with the classroom, commenting live on lectures or asking questions anonymously. This will do away with paper forms of work, reports and projects could be submitted and stored online to prevent against loss. Remote learning is another idea that is gaining momentum. Classes could be accessed online through social media websites such as Youtube or streamed live directly to the student. If this was to catch on then it could completely do away with the physical classroom. The emergence of virtual reality means that attending school could be as simple as getting out of bed and putting on a headset. This could help bring education to fart reaching places or third world countries where schooling is a serious issue.

There can only be assumptions towards what might come next. Popular theories suggest that each

Fig 21. ‘Planning for an unforseeable future,’ Castaldi 1969



Conclusion Over time there are various technological innovations and environmental changes which change the nature of classroom design. The goal is always to make a better space, a learning environment that allows young people to prosper. In terms of classroom design it is impossible to know exactly what the future holds, but today with everything considered in an economic fashion it is difficult to think anything other than perhaps classroom design has taken a step backwards. Much too often are bland, stale learning spaces becoming the acceptable norm and with the current political and government agenda it isn’t going to improve anytime soon. The government’s response to the current state of education design should be greeted with a sense of perplexity. The funding of school building programmes is at an all time low, with the replication of cheap, modern ‘reference’ schools seen as an acceptable means of coping with today’s demands. This all comes at a time where research proves that there is no doubt a correlation between the design of a school building and the


success or failure of the students inside. The ‘Better Spaces for Learning’ report published by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in May puts the spotlight on Britain’s failing school programme. It is of critical importance that school building design must be forced back onto the education policy agenda. A comprehensive review must be considered in order to make sure the next generation of school buildings inspire and meet the aspirations of those who work within. The first step in this process may be to look into the past at schools that can be considered exemplar and historically key. Such buildings, offered radical solutions for their time, provided a catalyst for change and renewed optimism in a period of uncertainty and ultimately changed the perception of what a school might physically be, moving away from the strict, institutionalised Victorian vernacular. Many of these are still in use even to this day, not only that but they continue to set the benchmark in terms of student attainment and contribute intrinsically to positive experiences in the time spent at school.


References: Fig.1 - JvCKwCWGaM4/s1600/corona_1935_neutra1.jpg Fig.7 - Fig.15 - Fig.17 - Fig.19 - Fig.20 - Baker, L (2012). A History of School Design and its Indoor Environmental Standards, 1900 to Today. Berkeley: UC Berkeley. Charles, M. (2012). Little Green School. Available: Last accessed 7th Dec 2016. Curtis, W (1994). Denys Lasdun: Architecture, City, Landscape. London: Phaidon Press Limited. Dannatt, T (1959). Modern Architecture in Britain. London: Balding & Mansell Ltd. Dudek, M (2000). Architecture of Schools. Oxford: Elsevier Ltd. Dunster D (1982). Alison + Peter Smithson: The Shift. London: Academy Editions. Grindrod, J (2013). Concretopia. Brecon: Old Street Publishing Ltd. Harwood, E (2010). Englandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Schools: History, Architecture & Adaptation. Swindon: English Heritage. Otto, K (1966). School Buildings 1. London: Illiffe Books Ltd. Saint, A (1987). Towards A Social Architecture. Yale University: Yale University Press.




LESSONS FOR THE ‘IN-BETWEEN’ The school, a space where most of the learning takes place, ironically, almost a third of the area within most schools is not being used for learning, interacting or preparing children for the future. Even to this day, many schools are still being layed out like factories: double trafficked box corridors transporting children from one indentical space to another. With every aspect of the school being focused around a budget, a square footage has been allocated for space with a single purpose of moving children between

classrooms, on average this works out to be 30% of the total area of the school. This systematic approach doesn’t work, the whole experience of moving through the school should be designed with human in mind, rather than meeting a certain quota. With children always eager to get up and move when they hear the bell, we should utilise this time and provide an oppurtunity for them to learn, engage and be inspired, not only during the allocated lessons, but also during the ‘in-between’.

Yevgen Gozhenko .137

Rationale “I think a school should be like a small city. In a city you have small places, large places, all sorts of secluded and semisecluded places, you have vistas and you have all sorts of activities. In effect, these pupils are not yet of an age to go into the city and explore the life of the city but they should explore life through the school, so you must create as many conditions as possible in the school so that they experience the world through the school building.” -Herman Hertzberger Looking at Hertzberger’s ideology for school design, and his architectural work in general, Montessori education plays a big part of his conceptual thinking. The idea of keeping things open for people, challenging them by allowing some freedom for inhabitants interpretation rather than defining every last detail. The focus of this research is on space ‘in-between’ the classrooms, how can we make it an extension to the classroom with allowance for learning, creativity and interaction. With many schools still being designed like factories, with hallways providing a sole purpose of transportation for kids between specific learning stations, its up to us as designers, to take precedent from thoughtful architecture and transform the education spaces of tomorrow. Learning from Hertzberger’s school design, schools visited during our study trip and innovative schools of the modern day, this text provides architectural lessons to design the “in-between” spaces with children in mind, preparing them for the future and allowing their creativity to come through.

Fig 01. Hallfield Primary School - pockets of view to the outside.

Fig 02. Herman Hertzberger’s appraoch to designing a dynamic hallway within the Apollo Schools.



Fig 03. Lively and naturally lit corridor of the Kathleen Grimm School by SOM.



Effortless Circulation Learning from Montessori schools, the Bridge Academy designed by BDP, does a neat trick of splitting 3.2m floor to floor height into two levels, allowing children to only ever travel half a storey to get to another educational space. What this means is that if you look ahead you’re not met with a blank wall on a return of a stairwell, but rather. you are seeing the next classroom. “It makes the circulation - which could have been rather torturous in a 6 storey school - quite a natural thing and people don’t seem to get worried about it. I’ve never heard anyone complain about having to climb several flights of stairs to get to an art lesson, which is on the top floor of the building and everybody has to go up and down because it’s a secondary school. So, Art’s at the top, Humanity’s got two floors, and two floors of Science, one for Music, then IT and vocational education spaces in the basement.” - Keith Papa (Director, BDP London. Leading role in education sector projects)


Hertzberger, one of the pioneers of school design, developed split level approach within the Apollo Schools by lowering one half of the school, creating stepped seating as the main feature to link the two halves. Another aspect of linking teaching spaces was the use of materiality as a visual guide. This tactic was a response to the wave of immigration: by organizing space well and creating visual cues, students of all languages and levels of understanding could feel comfortable and navigate easily throughout the space. With the rest of the materials being mostly monochrome, the plywood gives an allowance for spaces to be used as more than just circulation. Due to the cheap cost of the materials, and with forth sight of the architect, these simple techniques of spatial planning and indications of different activities, can be implemented throughout future schools without going over the budget. The key is to get rid of factory like circulation and allow for the effortless flow of children through the school, freeing their minds to learn from the enviroment as they go along.


Fig 04. Section expressing the half level approach within Bridge Academy designed by BDP.

Fig 05. Visual cues of the Apollo Schools.



Fig 06. Testing through model making - learning spaces outside the classroom within the Apollo Schools.

Learning Outside the Classroom Within the Amsterdam Montessori school, the area between the classroom and the hallway is created to act as proper workspace where children can learn more independently, not in the classroom but not completely shut off either. Within this school, these spaces are fitted with work surfaces and artificial lighting. By creating ambiguous spaces which are not a classroom or a hallway, we allow for children and teachers to use them as they see fit. This also creates a dialogue between other years within the school, making it more accessible to engage and learn intuitively. To retain contact between the teacher and pupils studying outside, half 142.

Fig 07. Diagram of the learning spaces outside the classroom within the Apollo Schools.


doors were installed to generate the right amount of openness towards the hall, at the same time allowing for privacy within the classroom.

Fig 08. Montessori inspired stepped sitting within the Apollo Schools. Used by children for playing, learning and interacting.

To encourage spontaneous learning within the Hertzbergerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s schools, the cold and harsh materials are covered with plywood, making them pleasant to the touch and encourages a possibility for children to use them in creative ways. For example, the main atrium within the Apollo Schools, consists of the stepped seating area which is always used for various activities: ranging from school assemblies, to performances and even used as a bench for children to work on. As mentioned in Building Excellence, â&#x20AC;&#x153;connections between the various stages of learning becomes important in order to strengthen relationship between teachers and a broader range of students, provide effective transition from one learning stage to another.â&#x20AC;? With Montessori influences where children from all ages study together, spaces outside the classrooms within traditional school are very important, encouraging and allowing for fluid connectivity between children of all years to interact and learn from one another.



Linear Corridors During our study trip to London, we visited two iconic schools from the post-war era. With both buildings completed over 60 years ago, they provide valuable lessons which are still being missed within the linear corridors of many modern day schools. The first school we got a chance to see was the Bousfield Primary School, designed by Chamberlin, Powell and Bon. The school is very linear in plan, with the use of courtyards, big open spaces and visual connections between the two floors make the experience of walking through the school very engaging, always creating a connection between floors and the outdoors. The use of courtyards is very effective, it not only allows the natural light to filter in and create a connection to the outdoors, but also allows for children to see the education spaces across the courtyard. Reflecting to the earlier point, a line of sight towards the next education spaces creates a much more effortless experience compared to walking through long strenuous corridors, allowing childrensâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; minds to be at ease, thus freeing up the mental capacity for interaction and intuitive learning. The second school we visited was the Hallfield Primary School, one of Denys Lausdonsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; earlier works. The school itself is much more spread out


Fig 09. Bousfield Primary School hallways showing the connection between the inside and outside.

in plan with corridors branching out through the landscape. This approach creates linear corridors which tells a story as you are going through the school. The hallways adapt to the particular age of the children occupying them, with spaces and structural elements getting bigger as the we go up the years. This approach creates individuality for different stages, making children feel more comfortable within their own part of the school. The connection to the landscape is reinforced with abundance of glazing, designed to block out the direct light

Fig 10. Bousfield Primary School Plan, expressing the connection between the corridors, classrooms and the outside.

Fig 11. Hallfield Primary School linear corridors.

and encourage youngsters to engage with the surroundings. The kinks create a space where children can slow down and interact, they are not pushed to always keep moving to the next class. By looking at the two schools, we can see similar ideas emerging: corridors are used as spaces for informal learning, interaction between children of different

years and engagement with nature. By creating visual interaction between the classroom and the outdoors an opportunity for people to slow down and learn in places that would normally be used stickily for circulation. The particular sites of the two schools played a big part in the design of the corridors. The abundance of green .145

spaces allows for great connection to the outdoors. In comparison, Kalthleen Grimm School in NY, is situated in a much more built up area. These modern day linear hallways favour: skylights - for providing the abundance of daylight: colours - for providing guidance through the school and concealing the services: pockets of interaction - to create the connections between floors and other classrooms. Addition of furniture, nooks and connections between different activities allows for the opportunity of learning to happen throughout the entire school, a linear space formally restricted for transport is utilised to further childrens education and create spontaneous interactions.


Conclusion The idea of a corridor, just simply as a means to move children from one learning space to another is a wasted potential. With the minimun requirement for the circulation space of 22.5% within primary schools and 25% secondary schools, the space for learning is quickly being dimished. The corridor within schools, in its formal sence, needs to be gone altogether. The ‘in-between’ space needs to be designed with human beings in mind, focusing on daylighting, connection to nature and the outdoors, and creating possibility for interaction with other children. It is to be thought of as multifuctional space, allowing children to slow down and engage with education in a new way. Adding nooks and views into classrooms creates the oppurtunity for informal learning to occur, allowing the ideas to circulate in a place formerly used for solely circulating foot traffic. The role of the architect in the design of hallways within schools should be much more prominent, the easy solution of ‘designing’ corridors with a sole purpose for circulation is a wasted oppurtinity of a space where kids can learn and grow. We shall not only provide coherent spatial layouts, but also allow for possibilities of learning through out the whole school, not just in the dedicated classrooms. With education results declining in the UK, we as designers, need to understand the human psychology of how children learn and take precedent from the great schools of the past, as well as new innovations around the world, in order to adapt and design schools to better the future of education.

Fig 12. hallways School .

Contemporary of Kathleen

school Grimm


References: Department for Education. (2014). Area guidelines for mainstream schools. Available: attachment_data/file/324056/BB103_Area_Guidelines_for_Mainstream_ Schools_CORRECTED_25_06_14.pdf. Last accessed 11/12/2016. Fisher, K (December 14, 2007). Building Excellence: Exploring the implications of the Curriculum for Excellence for School Buildings. Scottish Government Publications. 1 (1), p20-21. Hertzberger, H (2009). Lessons for Students in Architecture. The Netherlands: 010 Publishers. Kahneman, D (2011). Thinking, fast and slow. UK: Penguin Books. p1997. Le, T. (2010). Redesigning Education: Rethinking the School Corridor. Available: Last accessed 11/12/2016. McCartes, R (2015), Herman Herzberger. The Netherlands: 010 Publishers. Papa, K (2016), Interview with the director of BDP’s education sector, BDP Presentation: duration - 1:45:32. Images. Fig 1. Photo taken by Rolands Ziva. Fig 2. Image Source: pin/350366045991206430/. Last Accessed:11/12/2016. Fig 3. © James Ewing - OTTO. Image Source: http://www.archdaily. com/780383/the-kathleen-grimm-school-for-leadership-andsustainability-at-sandy-ground-som Last Accessed:11/12/2016. Fig 12. © James Ewing - OTTO. Image Source: http://www.archdaily. com/780383/the-kathleen-grimm-school-for-leadership-andsustainability-at-sandy-ground-som Last Accessed:11/12/2016. Sketches. © Yevgen Gozhenko. For more information about the precedents mentioned, refer to Book 2 of Vol1.



As a collective, we can conclude that successful schools lie in the hands of the architects. We accept that there are variables that affect school design such as curriculum, pedagogy, procurement, education system, and the students themselves. However, our research has established that coherent design of learning spaces has drastic implementations upon the educational success of the school. In summary to our findings, we have come upon the decision that there is no ideal solution to designing educational facilities, but there are solutions specific to certain places and times. It can be said that there are crucial elements that must be considered in order to create the perfect environment to accommodate for education.


One element that must be considered is the institutional identity within the social and religious context; the physical identity of a school is secondary to this, although they both contribute to how children create their own identity and formulate their own perceptions. Communities aid the success of schools by giving the students crucial social skills, in return, schools can help communities by providing facilities that they wouldn’t otherwise have. An aspect of this connection with community is security: this should not just be a physical fence or a barrier around the perimeter of the school as this creates more seclusion than it does security. The feeling of safety should be implemented through innovative technology and landscaping along with a consideration for the schools’ context, in such a way that doesn’t take away from the children’s freedom. Internally, school buildings should be a place of safety and inclusion, an environment that can enhance learning through means of architecture. This can be achieved through the quality of light, acoustic performance and the ‘in-between’ spaces that make up the rest of a school out-with the classroom. Natural daylighting is a free resource that we should utilise as research has shown that it’s more beneficial to the performance and wellbeing of children. Along with this, acoustics must be considered during the early stages of design to produce a coherent scheme which doesn’t require later alterations. Acoustics are vital in classrooms, not only for the concentration of students but also to assist the teacher and prevent them from having to strain their voice. Every moment that students spend in school is precious, they are learning and absorbing continuously. Unfortunately, a third of all school buildings are taken up by circulation spaces that aren’t used to their full educational potential, therefore, to heighten the learning experience throughout the school, these spaces should be utilised as learning areas not just a means of transporting students from one class to the next. When designing school buildings, we must consider modern teaching methods, curriculums and technologies. These are continuously adapting and altering to suit our world and so when designing learning spaces, it is crucial to not place too much emphasis on them - particularly technologies. Students need a teacher to encourage independency and the ability to think for themselves, developing problem solving skills without relying on the internet and technology. With the advancing world and the technologies that come with it our society has adapted to teach our children how to become better citizens in the 21st century. Procurement across the globe is presented in various ways but we can unite them together through comparative studies to give the best result for school designs in Britain and, on a wider scale, the world. Within our society, we have manifested many different forms of teaching and curriculums that categorise the skills of our society into a refined format that we can communicate to the younger generations that drive our community forward. As a group, we understand that every child deserves a place at a good school and we hope that our research can provoke a discussion in a positive manner toward modern school design.




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