Existing alcoves utilised in order to create a series of intimate spaces and opportunities for work, rest and/or socialising.
In doing so, the students will simultaneously be able to connect to the school as a building itself, using its structure as refuge.
The central area of the school will be transformed into a landscape of greenery, interwoven between modular structures, creating a space reminiscent of a playground, and thus instantly evoking feelings of both freedom and adventure. By choosing simple shapes and forms, all students are invited to explore the space through their own imaginations, manipulating and changing the structures to suit their own needs, whilst simultaneously encouraging playful yet meaningful interaction between the differing ages. As an example, one such object could be used as a divider, a seat, a step, a table, a building block or a tunnel – the options are truly endless.
Downstairs, the rooms designated to younger children, will be bordered with storage-filled walls, consisting of a range of interactive and differing cavities. Within these walls, there are possibilities for changing the physical space, in an attempt to divide the room into a collection of smaller areas. Such an approach, paired with key furniture choices, will allow both the teachers and students to identify the type of learning environment needed for a particular lesson.
One prospect for the pre-school room is to include doors which open to reveal small pockets in the walls, instantly creating the opportunity for a hiding space, a seating space, or even a cubby house. At this age, role-play and imaginative play is crucial for a child’s development, thus by allowing them to perform such activities simply through active engagement with the room itself, the pre-schoolers will be constantly stimulated to play, learn and grow.
As the children grow older, rooms could start to include larger scale dividers, separating the space into areas which could prevent children from becoming too distracted, whilst equally ensuring that all types of learning styles can be catered for within the confines of the same overall area.
Upstairs, a similar storage approach could be adapted, featuring elements such as doors which could fold out on an angle, thus becoming an art easel. Other possibilities include, a fold out drying rack for art work, chalkboard dividers and small cupboards which could open up to reveal a private individual study space, suitable for someone who needs to block out all other visual stimulation. As with the younger children, by allowing students to interact and change their rooms to adapt to their needs, the students will start to feel an ownership over their learning environments, hopefully creating a sense of belonging for every student. At the same time, students will be kept active, ensuring they are more likely to be alert and focused.
Furthering this theme, every second room upstairs would be left open, however, two large wooden doors would allow students and teachers to close off and redefine these spaces in varying manners, as demonstrated within the proposed visuals. When not in academic use, these same rooms could still be manipulated in order for students to utilise them as intimate nooks for their work or socialising.