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Innovative educational concepts must be coupled with designs that are inviting, stimulating and versatile. They should offer places to learn, play, or escape the fray

An excellent introduction (above) to Detail's latest issue DETAIL Concept 3/2013 which focuses on the architecture for children. Exploring pedagogy, architectural typologies and contemporary exemplary case studies – the projects range from small facilities located in garden settings to large school buildings in a dense urban fabric.

I MUST get my hands on a copy - in the mean time here is a snippet view of what's inside....

The cover (left) illustrates an array of school spatial arrangement - ranging from sporadic or town-like compositions, dynamic or regular linear arrangements or with classrooms surrounding a central core.


The introduction (right) describes traditional school design which follows a strict standardized approach (of functional zones, circulation, safety and fire regulations etc) rather than exploring spatial and aesthetic qualities or the influence of colour and light on children's learning experiences; an approach which leads to rather dull and monotonous environments.

Today, education pedagogy is moving away from frontal forms of tuition and focusing on more autonomous, interactive and collaborative learning processes, a characteristic of the revolutionary and radical early childhood pedagogies. Today, schools are beginning to take a leaf out of the early childhood facilities - providing spaces that inspire physical, imaginative and collaborative learning activities.

Kindergarten and Primary School in Saint-Denis, designed by AAVP Architects.

Materiality and colour

Above is a Kindergarten and Primary School in Saint-Denis, which is situated on a former factory site in the north of Paris. In contrast to this somewhat neglected district, the school, with its golden outer face of perforated sheet aluminum and a cladding of larch strips and turned wooden members, resembles a precious jewellery box. The architects wished to stress the social significance of the structure through a striking, carefully designed facade that would recall oriental-Arabian mashrabiyas.


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