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TOWARDS AN OPENING MINDS SCHOOL
Radical ideas about education architecture may not be as modern as we think. We find, for example, in Robson’s ideal classrooms and their dividing curtain (1874), a configuration of a similar nature to current paired classrooms. It therefore makes sense to look at schools across the world, recent or not, built or not, and to analyse these independently of the time they were conceived and of the fact they were ever erected, in relation to the same set of criterias to establish their relative strengths and weaknesses, what works or not. This study looked at generic types of classrooms, classroom groupings and schools developed over the last century. It did not intend to be an exhaustive catalogue, but to draw an overview and some conclusions as to whether or not a particular approach or concept is effective in creating a good environment for teaching and learning and explain why.
Prompted by the Royal Society of Art’s Opening Minds curriculum, an adequate model was drawn from the research: a new concept of house - 6 classrooms or more which can be joined together, and by varying the set position of a storetech unit laterally, cells and subjective social spaces of a varied nature.
UK, 2006-2007, for John McAslan + Partners.
Selected reviews about TOWARDS AN OPENING MINDS SCHOOL:
Jim Merrick, The Independent’s architecture correspondent, wrote:
“It is a remarkably useful design guide for anyone involved in educational projects, not least because the author specifically set out to deliver a thoughtful narrative which would be significantly more user-friendly than, for example, the admirable papers and reference books by Mark Dudek and others. Gérard's research also goes far beyond Cabe's rather general guidelines for educational design quality. This new research does not take architectural qualities for granted, but defines how to conceive, for instance, a full range of educational social interactions and appropriations. In short, it begins to bring a new clarity, and enthusiastic examination, to what may turn out to be one of the Royal Society of Art's most effective educational experiments”.