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  • Mishti Ali

5 Creative School Designs

A study by the University of Salford and UK architects, Nightingale Associates, found that good school design can boost learning by up to 25%. Many of us will spend our formative years in them, yet it’s unlikely that we really considered what went into the design of these buildings. The following is a selection of 5 creative school designs from around the world.

Delhi, India

Social Design Collaborative designed a school for squatters in Delhi. Made out of cheap materials, such as bamboo, and utilising local techniques, like charpai weaving, ModSkool can be easily dismantled if demolished by bulldozers. It was developed after a school near the Yamuna River, which catered to over 200 children, was declared illegal and demolished. The school was created in collaboration with the squatter community. The studio said: “Not only was this approach the most affordable and employed local skills, it has also helped create a sense of ownership and pride within the community. They saw their building materials and processes adopted in creating a sustainable school for their children.” Find out more.

Warsaw, Poland

Medusa Group have designed a high school in Warsaw that serves as an alternative to more conventional designs. With a large, open courtyard and stepped seating that leads to a rooftop herb garden, the design utilises a system of versatile rooms, thus creating an ‘educational ecosystem’. The group said: “Changes in the public education system in Poland have not kept up with changes in the lives of young people. This was the basis of creating an atmosphere that would encourage people to stay in the school outside class hours.” Find out more.

Sydney, Australia

Architecture firm, Grimshaw, designed a 14-storey school building on the outskirts of Sydney. The project is expected to be the first high-rise education facility in the state of New South Wales. The design combines a high school and a primary school, both existing facilities, and will accommodate around 3000 students. Instead of dividing up students according to their age, as is the norm, the design is part of the Schools within S Schools project. This involves learning in stages, with students separated into groups, known as ‘home bases’. Grimshaw partner, Andrew Cortese, said: “The school buildings act as the social infrastructure for the transformation of individuals and their communities through learning, inclusivity and outreach, with wellbeing and playfulness arising out of the integration of the physical and the environmental.” Find out more.

Lisbon, Portugal

Redbridge School, a school in Portugal’s capital, comprises two wood-framed buildings, with one featuring a rooftop playground. Each building is at the opposite end of a pre-existing school building, and the project is situated in a dense area of the city. ARX Portugal, the group responsible for the design, said: “The building site was small and quite peculiar in shape – two opposite fronts of a city block, connected by a narrow strip surrounding an existing villa at the centre of the plot. These constraints set the grounds for a conceptual path of two opposite building typologies unified by a common structural system and building materials – the north is part of the city while the south is engaged with the garden.” Find out more.

Tel Aviv, Israel

Sarit Shani Hay, an Israeli designer, was responsible for the interior design of this elementary school. The 2000 sqm building was built in collaboration with Inclue Foundation, an Israeli non-profit that promotes differentiated, personalised education. Nicknamed ‘The First Inclusive School’, Hay said: “The goal was to translate the philosophy of inclusive education into a physical environment that promotes joyful experiential learning. This designed space inspires kids to be engaged in multiple ways while enhancing a feeling of belonging and empathy.” Find out more.


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