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Cocoon: A radical new design for an emergent learning network of skyscrapers

This design for a new educational system was a finalist in the 2011 Skyscraper Competition and was designed by Ben Danks, Mark Ferguson, Adam Blaney and Aaron Jones in the UK.

The design proposes a new teaching revolution through architecture, which highlights the inadequacies of the old-fashioned traditional teaching model which has failed to keep up with massive changes to modern lifestyles. The emergence of the digital world has led to a cultural reform, allowing access to types and quantities of information that were previously unattainable. Currently schools fail to harness these immense resources, restricting their teaching to the educator, textbook model.

The emergent learning network ustilises a system of self-organised education, based on the theories of Sugata Mitra, Sir Ken Robinson (see previous post) and Konrad Waschsmann, where there are no teachers or traditional classrooms. The pupils are instead part of constantly changing groups of four or five and are set tasks of research using available resources.

Coccon consists of a network of towers housing clusters of S.O.L.E.'s (Self Organised Learning Environments) in the city's derelict industrial spine. The S.O.L.E.'s will be mass manufactured in the empty dockyard and floated up the river to the site. A transparent skin allows sunlight to penetrate, whist giving views of the ecology below. Each S.O.L.E can be persoanalised with the interactive walls, and each is connected to larger social pods.

This highly radical idea is in reaction to the failings of education today, and depicts the need for collaboration and interconnectedness. Whilst I can't help feel the design makes children look to be like working ants and perhaps doesn't focus on the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of children, it is an interesting way to think how education can benefit society more than it currently does.

Via eVolo.


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