Language of School Design
A completely revised 2nd Edition of The Language of School Design (100 more pages and dozens of new illustrations of innovative schools) has been released. With dozens of excellent reviews and thousands of copies sold, LOSD is a must-have resource for School Planners, Architects, Educators and Administrators.
Buy from Amazon.com link
Leaner, More Effective Schools
An article by Randall Fielding for School Business Affairs Magazine
School districts across North America are facing a crushing dilemma: invest millions of dollars to maintain outdated, educationally ineffective buildings or seek funding for expensive renovations, additions, and new construction to meet the evolving needs of today’s learners. Compounding the issue is deferred facility maintenance. According to data collected for American School & University’s 38th annual Maintenance and Operations Cost Study, expenditures for upkeep in American public schools declined from 11.31% in 1990 to 7.43% in 2003. Yet school buildings and their systems continue to age, putting more financial pressure on districts whose students are not being well served.
Educational spaces whose designs are based on research in effective learning, where multiple modalities and individualized learning are accommodated, aren’t as expensive as you might think. At the most basic level, using a portion of the funds allocated to maintenance
for modest renovations leads to leaner, safer, more effective school facilities. But to accomplish this objective, our preconceptions about what a school should look like must be challenged, and that can be diffi cult. School buildings, and particularly classrooms, have moved beyond being simple spaces; they are now iconic. The idea of changing their fundamental structure seems too radical to consider. But it shouldn’t be.
Download full article here.
Microsoft Partners in Learning
Hot Topic: Physical Learning Environments
Randall Fielding joins a select group of educational professionals to present blog posts on topics that are impacting education today. His posts will present a wide range of solutions for creating 21st century learning spaces. Envisioning the future of education must include discussion about physical spaces and their role in positive or negative student outcomes.
From the blog:
Around the world a greater and greater emphasis is being put on school design that meets the diverse needs and learning styles of 21st century students. New approaches to school design incorporate many diverse yet purposeful spaces for individual and group activities that support for cross-disciplinary collaboration by students and teachers.
Physical learning environments impact teacher satisfaction, student learning and most importantly impact student outcomes. Help us explore innovative vision-driven approaches to planning physical learning environments for education.
Link to Physical Learning Environments blog.
Kids LOVE Their New School!
The P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School is a unique & progressive community on a beautifully wooded site. The school’s prized possession is their Tumblin’ Creek, which is not only the heart of the campus but also a threshold between the primary and secondary campuses. The elementary school is situated alongside the creek, taking advantage of the views and the shade from the existing, mature trees. The main drop-off point is at the north side of the campus - students will then descend down ramps and stairs, following the site’s topography to the main entrance that is at the center of the school. The double-height main entrance commons is open & welcoming, connecting all three of the Small Learning Communities: Kindergarten & 1st Grade (ground level west wing), 2nd & 3rd Grades (ground level east wing), and 4th & 5th Grades (second level). The focus of the school’s design is to be respectful to the beautiful site that it sits on and to strive towards the highest environmental sustainable standards.
This school, with planning and design work by Fielding Nair International, exemplifies a 21st century learning community. This video shows how the curriculum and learning at the school is impacted by the space they are practiced in.
Link to video here.
New FNI School Opens in Canada
With 43 elementary schools in its portfolio, the Regina School Division always has renovation and new construction projects on its plate. One such project includes a new Douglas Park School, replacing the existing building that opened in 1957. Comparing the design of the old building with the new prompts one to paraphrase an old saying: “This is not your daddy’s school.” It’s also likely that a lot more consultation and pre-planning went into the new building than the old. In fact, the first meetings with members of the school community – parents and educators – were held in January 2009, led by the project’s associate architect, Fielding Nair International.
“After an initial community meeting and presentation,” says FNI principal Randall Fielding, “we conducted a design pattern workshop from both ‘the inside out’ – the learner’s perspective – and the ‘outside in’, which considers the position of the sun, the prevailing winds and the characteristics of the neighbourhood. We use more than 40 design patterns as starting points, garnered from our work in 41 countries, and described in our book, The Language of School Design.”
The result is what Fielding Nair calls a design for the creative age; a 50,000 square foot building that encompasses three multi-age learning communities that open onto a central, south-facing, multifunctional atrium, which Fielding calls the heart of the school that “drinks in the light in this often cold climate.” The design also takes advantage of the stack effect to provide natural ventilation. Each “Personal Learning Community” – pre-K to Grade 2, Grades 3 to 5 and Grades 6 to 8 – will accommodate approximately 125 to 150 students.
Read Full Article Here.
Sponsors and Collaborators
Liberated Spaces: Purposeful School Design Says Goodbye to Cells and Bells
by Jennifer Lewington, Education Canada Magazine, Volume 52, Issue 5, 2012
“School districts in Canada are part of a growing international movement that puts strong emphasis on school design to serve the diverse needs and learning styles of students for the 21st century economy. Diverse, purposeful spaces for individual and group activities, “schools within schools,” support for cross-disciplinary collaboration by students and teachers and generous use of natural light are among the distinguishing features of the new approach to school construction. Advocates say teacher professional development will be needed for schools to reap the full benefits from learning-friendly architecture.”
Using Douglas Park School as an example, Jennifer Lewington explores how school spaces impact 21st century learning.
Link to article here.