Beautiful Learning Spaces

"We place enormous value on the role of the environment as a motivating and animating force in creating spaces for relations, options, and emotional and cognitive situations that produce a sense of well-being and security." Loris Malaguzzi, Reggio Emilia Italy.

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Tsukushi Nursery School in Hiroshima, Japan

 The Tsukushi Nursery School in Hiroshima Japan is an adorable daycare center shaped like a peanut. It was created by overlapping 2 circles to create a fluid space connected to the environment by architect Hiroshi Ueda and was completed in 2012. 

The timber structure is also designed to directly expose the young learners to elements of nature and the different seasons. Almost like a forest in itself, the space has inclines where children can explore the semi-outdoor space.

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Concord Elementary Schools: Abbot-Downing, Christa McAuliffe and Mill Brook Primary

MillBrookJ2ndFlProjectArea When initiating a city-wide consolidation project to replace six aging, physically and educationally inadequate facilities with three new elementary schools, the city of Concord, New Hampshire and HMFH Architects, Inc. saw the opportunity to develop a program that reflects changes in the way teaching and learning take place. In response to the importance of hands-on exploration and curiosity in child development, the new schools include a variety of spaces, all organized in a central “Learning Corridor.” These open project areas allow for a balance of creativity, interaction, exploration, collaboration and presentation. Accessible just outside classroom doors, the Learning Corridor offers an extension of learning space with areas for students to access and consume knowledge according to their individual learning styles. Abbot-DowningJProjectArea These spaces are conducive to both individual and small group work. From making a video, to working on-on-one with a reading specialist, to building a paper mache solar system, the Learning Corridor spaces reinforce the curriculum by engaging students through self-directed learning and differentiated instruction. McAuliffeJCommons Because of the visibility of learning in the schools, students become keenly aware of what is happening in the educational community; as first graders pass by a 3rd grade class engaged in a science experiment, or an inter-grade group of reading buddies in the amphitheater, the open environment allows curiosity, inquiry and observation to catalyze learning.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRB95p7hKkQ]

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Roll-it

A modular hamster wheel for humans
German design students think outside of the box — and inside the tube — with Roll-it, a modular eco-living experiment.

The cylindrical Roll-it prototype was conceived by students at Germany’s University of Karlsruhe and features three separate living “zones” complete with bed, lounge chair, table, built-in storage, kitchen sink, shower, and um, toilet. Need to access the bed? You’ll need to walk in the center of the unit, much like a hamster wheel, to rotate the structure and voila … you’re in the bedroom. Need something in the kitchen? Just keep on walking/spinning. Apparently, Velcro keeps the mattress/cushions in place but it’s unclear how everything else, particularly fixtures like the toilet, is secured. 

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Kindergarten Terenten

The child daycare centre has been designed as a unique and individual building which nevertheless merges smoothly with the surrounding built environment. From an urbanistic perspective, the design concept is intended to give meaning and identity to this defined space – something special amid an everyday environment – without generating jarringly harsh contrasts. The new child daycare centre is located in an area with public facilities (education, sports).

Built on what used to be a miniature golf course, it forms an extension of Terenten’s built-up pedestrian zone. The centre will combine with the municipal offices, the sports hall and the neighbouring primary school to create an organic ensemble.

The differentiated building units have been designed in relation to the nearby primary school and their dimensions take into account the perception and identity of the child. The differently shaped “houses” help children get their bearings and understand the spatial and social organization of the centre. The children feel at home in “their” respective houses. 

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Tellus Nursery School

A new nursery school next to the University college of Arts and Crafts at Telefonplan, Stockholm. On the border between a former urban/industrial development and a small forest where new housing is being developed, this nursery school mediates between different contexts and scales. A semi enclosed entrance courtyard constitutes a first exterior space for parents and children meeting and leaving. The organic layout encourages movement as space becomes continuous and creates both exterior and interior rooms of challenging shapes. Windows are freely placed at different heights and allow for light and views to be adapted also to the scale of children, which further the relation between the interior and the exterior play ground and the wooded hill….Together with the client and the pedagogues’ inspiration from the Reggio Emilia school, a new way to organize the interior was developed. The result is a rather unorthodox plan, where instead of a complete ’flat’ for each group of children, there will be a large common interior plaza where the six groups can interact around different activities, playing and learning projects. This main space is complemented with separate atelier spaces for water projects and art, as well as small secluded group rooms for rest and quiet activities.

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Seven Shipping Containers Make Up This Colorful Library

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These seven colorful shipping containers traveled the world before settling down in Batu, Indonesia as the Amin Library. Home to 6,000 books, it’s a story in and of itself.

Imagine you’re a child. You’d be begging your mother to visit this magical place. Built upon stilts to overlook surrounding trees and houses, the eye-popping building serves two purposes—it’s both a library and a clinic for the town. And each brightly-hued container has a different program. For example, the blue one has entertainment books, the red is for science and technology texts, the green is the main lobby, and the yellow is the women’s reading room. The shipping containers were also a pretty economical choice as far as building materials go—they cost around $820 each. And have you ever seen a library that looks like this? Reading is all about unlocking the imagination, so we’d say this design is perfect for a place that’s home to thousands upon thousands of stories.

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Munkegaards school in Gentofte, Denmark, was rebuilt a couple of years ago. Originally designed by the renowned Danish architech Arne Jacobsen, great care was put into modernizing the school for a new Century. Two main features of the new project is the very large underground new open workspace in direct contact with a range of labs (e.g. physics, pe, home economics, biology). Daylight is induced through a series of glass courtyards, sculpturally designed giving the place a very distinct character. The other main feature of the new Munkegaard is the original assembly hall which has been turned into a media centre and library where kids from 6-16 years can work on computers, check out books themselves, etc. and just hang out on and in (!) the shelves, on beanbag chairs, etc. The main structure is a U-shaped staircase for hanging out or for assemblies. Underneath all the books are ‘hid’ in a modern library cave where kids can dive into other worlds. The project was part of the SKUB project of Gentofte that I (Lene Jensby Lange) had the pleasure of being part of for seven years. The SKUB project featured several noticeable school projects, the best known being the ground-breaking Hellerup School with classrooms replaced by a variety of open learning environments. 

Munkegaards school in Gentofte, Denmark, was rebuilt a couple of years ago. Originally designed by the renowned Danish architech Arne Jacobsen, great care was put into modernizing the school for a new Century. Two main features of the new project is the very large underground new open workspace in direct contact with a range of labs (e.g. physics, pe, home economics, biology). Daylight is induced through a series of glass courtyards, sculpturally designed giving the place a very distinct character. The other main feature of the new Munkegaard is the original assembly hall which has been turned into a media centre and library where kids from 6-16 years can work on computers, check out books themselves, etc. and just hang out on and in (!) the shelves, on beanbag chairs, etc. The main structure is a U-shaped staircase for hanging out or for assemblies. Underneath all the books are ‘hid’ in a modern library cave where kids can dive into other worlds. The project was part of the SKUB project of Gentofte that I (Lene Jensby Lange) had the pleasure of being part of for seven years. The SKUB project featured several noticeable school projects, the best known being the ground-breaking Hellerup School with classrooms replaced by a variety of open learning environments. 

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Livraria da Vila

As featured on coolboom.net, this bookstore in Sao Paulo deserves a little heads up! It’s a minimal design, but creates a comfortable and welcoming space for its customers. Set over three floors, one floor is entirely dedicated to children. The entrance is a particularly commendable feature, with the wall of books turning to create portals into the space. As we have worked for many years with Hughes & Hughes bookstores we are always on the look out for interesting new designs in this area

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Lims La Trobe University Molecular Science Building, Australia

The six-level state of the art teaching and research building has some stand out architectural characteristics. Lyons created an undulating honeycomb-like facade on the rectangular building, where colorful angular components frame the windows. Towards the center of the building three of these components are outfitted with wood, and shoot out from the building to create an eye-catching effect. Lyons welcomed massive structural columns into the design by covering them with bright colors, then angling the columns to create huge X’s throughout the building, reminiscent of a jungle gym. Inside, researchers are able to conduct work in spaces full of a medley of vibrant colors, with an overflowing amount of natural light that filters in from the over-sized custom windows – making those long hours in the lab more do-able.