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Thesis progress...(round 2)

Here is a selection of pages taken from the first half of my thesis marked: 'An historical framework', and which leads on from my last thesis update: round 1.

An architecture that reflects the competent child

The pedagogy of 'a competent child' can be said to require an architecture that is accessible, is scaled and functions for the child, offers flexibility and choice, and treats the child as an equal (and therefore does not patronise). Reggio Emilia have  successfully embodied this philosophy in it's architecture, like this one here designed by ZPZ Partners in San Felice.

The seemingly simple building utilises a covered colonade providing a natural extension from the interior space into the gardens.

Reggio educators are highly concerned about what their school environments teach, embodying the belief that children are resourceful, curious, competent, imaginative, and have a desire to interact with and communicate with others (Rinaldi, 1998: 114). They believe that children can best create meaning and make sense of the world through living in complex, rich environments which support “complex, varied, sustained and changing relationships between people, the world of experience, ideas and the many ways of expressing ideas”, rather than from simplified lessons or learning environments. As Louise Cadwell says of her experience with Reggio education: “no space is marginal, no corner unimportant and each space needs to be alive and open to change” (Cadwell, 1997: 93).

An architecture of adventure

This centre’s architecture illustrates the child’s need to actively explore and interact with their environment, creating a sense of adventure, and testing the child’s physical and imaginative abilities.

The Castle Child Care Centre, designed by Ton Venhoeven, in Souest, Netherlands in 1993 is perceived as a “day-care landscape” (Dudek, 2005: xvi).  

The interior environment - ramps, bridges, “hut-like” dens, different sized windows and openings, and a number of textural and lighting qualities combine to create an adventurous and challenging ‘landscape’ for the children. 

Venhoeven deliberately incorporated ramps terraces, and level changes encouraging children to climb and explore, just as they would do in a natural landscape.

A beautiful description of the Diana Municipal Reggio Preschool, made by some 5 and 6 year olds in 1993

This is absolutely gorgeous.

Here are a few (of my favourite) excerpts from a pamphlet ‘Advisory’ made by some five and six-year-olds at the Diana Municipal Preschool for three-year-olds who are about to enter:

“It’s the most beautiful school in the world to us. The way you get there is always the same, and when it’s no more a new way to you, that means that you know it.”

Map of school and park

The 'designer' playground continued...

I found this wonderful archive of snippets from a book written in 1967: Creative playgrounds and recreation centers - capturing the post-war era where a number of architects and artists began to design public spaces for children's play. (It also follows on rather nicely from my previous post; The 'designer' playground). 

Modular system of prefabricated elements for demountable play equipment
Designed by M. Paul Friedberg & Associates, New York

Friedberg designed this simple and flexible system of demountable and portable play equipment, which were to transform vacant lots into novel playgrounds.  

The elements did not require any foundations, and could therefore be placed on to any desired site. Many of the elements could also be moved or adjusted by the children during their play, therefore the playground is not a fixed structure, but is constantly changing.

The play elements (here arranged into a umber of configurations) include: wooden logs, pipes and cables, slide, playhouse, sliding pole, rubber ball swings and a climbing structure of wooden logs of different lengths and sizes.

A beautiful story from the year 1093 that likens the child to a plant requiring nurture for its growth

A story from ‘The Invention of Childhood’ a BBC Audio Series, by Cunnigham & Morpurgo, counteracts the widely held view that the Medieval and Victorian people viewed childhood as having ‘little significance’ and children as ‘little adults,’ and actually bears a resemblance to the attitudes of the later pioneers of early childhood education - Rousseau and Froebel.

Thesis update (Round 1)

Sorry about my rather long absence - but I've been hard at work on my thesis!

So I thought for now, I'd show you a wee "snapshot" of a few of the pages I've compiled so far....and keep posted, as there is still very much more to come.

Click on the images to enlarge.


site by Ana Degenaar