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"Section 3: 2007 Patterns of Innovation"
 

Section 3: 2007 Patterns of Innovation

As the panel of educators and architects considered projects for award, patterns formed. While each project brought individual opportunities, the jurors noted larger themes are shaping educational environments across the world.

Six Areas of Innovation:

1. Ideas about the future of learning re-shape learning environments.
2. Global Schools and Small Schools challenge traditional planning and design boundaries.
3. New program driven design solutions address real issues in Alternative Educational and Early Childhood.
4. Generational connections blur traditional boundaries within Community College campuses.
5. Constrained conditions — urban sites, tight resources, restoration, re-use — foster creative responses.
6. Sustainable ideas are helping us re-imagine the design of schools.

Note: See below for summaries of each of the Six Areas of Innovation.

***

1. Ideas about the future of learning re-shape learning environments.

With access to mass-information and high levels of connectivity beyond school buildings, classrooms are seeing fundamental shifts. From educational models–that only a decade ago–required most of knowledge and materials to be dispensed from within the classroom, learners have growing opportunities to connect with experiences outside of the classroom. This shift is changing time utilization in schools, how project work is created and delivered, and the collaborative relationship between student and teacher.

This year, the DesignShare awards saw an emphasis on providing resources close to students, collaborative relationships among support services as well as informal uses of technology and technology spaces. Stay-tuned, the next few years should prove to be exciting as these cultural shifts filter through the learning environment.

2. Global Schools and Small Schools challenge traditional planning and design boundaries.

Often starting with a solid educational idea and a clean slate for facilities, global schools and small schools generally are eager to try new ideas in linking educational ideas with building planning ideas. Interestingly, each of the DesignShare Honor Awards selected this year were outside of the United States, one in Europe and three in Asia.

In these schools, the review team was impressed with the clarity of educational ideas and the creative architectural response to the ideas. The Jurors appreciated a design process utilized by these schools that allowed significant input by educators, students, and designers. Similarly, small schools often forgo ‘cells and bell’ building and schedule models in favor of spaces that foster interaction and collaboration centered around common educational or life interests. Both of these school types are creating dynamic learning spaces and pushing the envelope in terms of connecting education, design, technology, learners, and communities.

3. New program driven design solutions address real issues in Alternative Educational and Early Childhood.

Two project types that are seeing innovation in educational programming are Alternative Education and Early Childhood Education. Alternative Education programs in the United States are established for learners that may not succeed in traditional learning environments. To reach a diverse group of learners, educators are looking at innovative approaches to curriculum, staffing, schedules, technology, and facilities.

The shift in educational approach is requiring related shifts in thinking about learning environments, requiring flexible and dynamic spaces that may not look and feel like traditional schools. Likewise, there is a growing interest in Early Childhood Programs, in preparing young children to be engaged learners, and providing safe and secure places for children of working parents. With both Alternative and Early Childhood programs, Community Colleges and Universities are creating innovative partnerships to prepare their students to teach in these specialized program environments and to provide research and support services to the educational programs. Dynamic programs, innovative partnerships, and non-traditional groupings of students are calling for creative planning and design responses for the learning environments.


4. Generational connections blur traditional boundaries within Community College campuses.

Community Colleges continue to create blur boundaries in creating successful learners in a K-16 context and beyond. Community colleges are working with high schools on dual credit programs and with universities on transfer credit programs. In terms of facilities, community colleges are being installed on high school campuses and high schools are being installed on community college campuses, creating dynamic synergies and possibilities with curriculum and facility design.

One Honor Award project, located in Holland, combines several levels of educational institutions–centered around health professions–allowing students program flexibility while the institutions are reaping benefits of shared facility resources. Community colleges are also taking an active role in economic development and workforce development as they work closely with local industry to create job training, and certification programs to fulfill workforce and employment demands. As an institution type, community colleges are showing great degrees of flexibility in meeting needs of today’s learners and communities.

5. Constrained conditions — urban sites, tight resources, restoration, re-use — foster creative responses.

Projects that were created within extremely constrained conditions generated mush discussion among the review team. One awarded project in India reported construction costs of $9/sf. This school took advantage of available materials, simple construction process, and sustainable design to create remarkably interactive and collaborative small school.

At the other end of the spectrum, the awards program saw the addition and renovation of an urban school located in the heart of New York City. This school makes the most of the available vertical space to augment missing program types, including a rooftop learning environment that give students a safe and secure are to play and learn outdoors. Other schools are re-purposing buildings into school environment, as was the case for a converted movie theater in Alaska. Each of these projects demonstrate that constrained situations and lead to excellent educational facilities.

6. Sustainable ideas are helping us re-imagine the design of schools.

Green design continues to gain momentum in the design of educational environments. With stretched capital and operational budgets, school organizations are looking to facilities to become more energy efficient in their daily operations. Educators are consistently interested in sustainable ideas that are not only environmentally responsible and good for the bottom line, but ultimately work hand-in-hand with the educational process.

Daylighting is an important component in school design, and facility strategies that allow daylighting while controlling heat gain and glare will continue to creatively affect the planning of schools. Some schools are opting for green roofs to conserve water, control heat gain and expand educational spaces. Projects awarded in the program implement a wide range of sustainable ideas, including: daylight, green roofs, natural ventilation, adaptive re-use of buildings, and recycled materials.

***

Sections:

1. Introduction
2. Summary of 2007 Program
3. 2007 Patterns of Innovation
4. 2007 Honor Awards – Full Description
5. 2007 Merit Awards – Full Description
6. 2007 Citation Awards – List only
7. 2007 Recognized Value Awards – List only
8. Jury Team
9. 2007 Jury Conversation #1

 

What is DesignShare? DesignShare is the central address for the very best in educational facilities and their impact on the learning process. DesignShare provides an invaluable service as a facilitator of ideas and resources about best practices and innovation in schools from early childhood through the university level. Who is DesignShare’s audience? DesignShare reaches a truly global community of professionals. More than 150,000 architects, planners, educators, and facility decision makers visit the site each month. Architects who specify products for schools and universities make up over half of DesignShare’s total readership. Who are our sponsors?
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