Childhood education has traditionally focused on conveying a set of fixed fundamentals to provide children with the tools and knowledge to function effectively in an adult economy. This rigid model of learning has long been questioned by progressive educators, and today been (largely) replaced with teaching philosophies focusing on a more personalized approach, putting the individual at the center of their learning, and emphasizing teamwork, project based learning and social skills.
The classroom of the future needs to provide environments that foster and encourage the development of skills that can be universally applied to multiple tasks and adapted in time. Open and flexible enough to adapt to multiple modes of use, often within a single lesson, as well as adaptable to changes of tools and technologies, the architectural environment should be an “object lesson”, a didactic tool in itself.
Our proposed school is divided into multiple, distinct spatial environments: (1) open and flexible studio classrooms, with multiple adaptable desk and seating options, display walls and interactive displays, (2) a “commons”: multi-functional landscape for group activities fostering social interaction or role play, as well as islands for individual retreat (3) a modular “soft wall” of varying dimensions and scales, containing storage, library, displays and docking stations. This wall is the zone of maximum intensity and flux, a constantly changing interactive boundary, and (4) populating these environments with modular and adaptable furniture systems, allowing for flexible and open-ended arrangements, inviting cross-fertilization and creative recombination.