Saturday, October 6, 2012

Educational Indoor/Outdoor Spaces do students hang out in school?  Those large group/transitional areas can be critical to how students perceive the functionality and aesthetics of their school.  I remember in high school when the district decided to remodel our one "hang out" space during the school year.  Kids wandered the halls and it became hard to monitor the students and keep disruptions down.  One way that I see becoming more and more important is not only the "hang out" spaces but the connection of the students to their environment.  Indoor/outdoor spaces can provide great spaces for socializing or large gatherings but they can also provide that connection that students need to have with their environment.  The design of good transitional indoor/outdoor spaces can also be used as extensions of the classroom.

 I love the use of perforated metals and shade screens to provide transitional indoor/outdoor spaces at the Saguaro Building at Mesa Community College, Mesa, Arizona. Using high volumes on the shade screens provides a comfortable environment for large groups.  The use of newer glass opening walls also is a successful way to open up spaces creating that indoor/outdoor experience, extending teaching or large group spaces.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Compact School Design

So what happens when you need a school that can accomodate 30+ children doing just about every type of activity and learning style and only have one medium sized space to do all of it?  I came across a great webpage that showed a Primary (Elementary) School Design in London that uses space and furniture design to its full potential.  Not only does the space function great, it seems to have just the right amount of bright colors contrasted with the white walls and ceilings.  The main room is designed in a way that it becomes a large multi-purpose space used for small group learning, independent study, lectures or flexible learning stations.

Another thing that I love to see is the design sketches leading up to the final design.  Everything in this space seems to be multi-functional and the space is maximized - even the cabinets act as both magnet boards and white boards!  For more on this project visit their website at: