Schoolscapes: learning between classrooms
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This project outlines the design proposal for an alternative public high school in Toronto, Ontario. For this project the school is re-imagined as a Community Learning Centre. The goal of the Community Centre model is to foster life-long learning in young people which can occur when space emphasizes social interaction, citizenship, and life long learning. The design of the Community Learning Centre is an attempt to align educational priorities with design, to create learning environments that best suit the needs of the users. The focus of the project, is on places between the classrooms where there is opportunity for informal learning to take place. The term schoolscapes is use to describe these spaces. They include all of the places between classrooms and are a way of reimaging the corridors as active, lively and engaging spaces. To support and expand on the idea of schoolscapes, how the environment impacts people and learning, the shifting values in education, and how public space can be related to school interiors, have been investigated. The work of Prakash Nair, Annalise Gehling and Herman Hertzberger, on school design and its correlation to public space have been extremely influential for this project, as has the work of Jan Ghel on lively city spaces. Jan Ghel identifies key features of good public space that can provide the foundation for the design of informal learning spaces. The writing of Nair, Gehling and Hertzberger will be used to support how these characteristics can be applied to the learning environment. The design of the Community Learning Centre explores how the ideals imbedded in public space can be carried over to the interior of a learning environment.
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