Looking forward in participating in the 2011 TEDxRadEd event on November 12 in Dallas. More Details to Come.
BrainSpaces, our collaborative partner and national thought leader in developing innovative educational spaces, was in the spotlight during the CEFPI 2011 Annual World Conference held in Nashville, honoring both Amy Yurko with the Planner of the Year Award and Marysville Getchell High School with the MacConnell Award.
Amy Yurko, AIA, is the recipient of the 2011 Planner of the Year award, the highest and most distinguished individual honor conferred by the Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI). The Planner of the Year award is presented annually to the individual whose professional facility planning activities have produced a positive and significant impact on educational facility planning, adding to the body of knowledge of best practices in the field.
Marysville Getchell High School, Marysville, Washington, captured the coveted 2011 James D. MacConnell Award. The James D. MacConnell Award recognizes the importance of a comprehensive planning process resulting in educational facilities that meet multiple goals, while serving the needs of the community. The project was a collaboration with the Marysville School District, BrainSpaces, Architects of Acheivement, and DLR Group Architects.
SuValley Jr/Sr High School, Talkeetna, Alaska, was one of 4 finalists in the 2011 MacConnell Awards program. Following the destruction of the old school by fire in June 2007, the Mat Su Borough acted decisively to meet community needs. With less than 2 months to explore new directions, create an educational specification and develop a concept design, the project team adopted an integrated approach combining concept design activities with visioning exercises in a series of interactive user driven workshops. More than 200 participants shared in creating a vision for the new school, included a broad range of school and community partners and every student in the school. The school is a part of the Matanuska Susitna Borough School District and was planned and designed in collaboration with BrainSpaces and McCool Carlson and Green.
THE CLASSROOM, published in 2010 features an essay "Connecting Learning and Learning Environments". Through the article, Peter Brown establishes a precedent for intertwining education and design, then illustrates ideas shaping the next generations of school design based on shifts that are occurring within the current educational landscape. The book is available from WASMUTH. This post is number seven in a series of seven.
The culture of a school both reflects and shapes the culture of the local community. In addition, school facilities are a significant capital investment, most often funded over many years by the school community. The ongoing stewardship of nurturing a school campus and sustaining a school culture is an important element of the ongoing and generational success of the school.
While the primary purposes of school facilities are educating students, a school facility has many constituents. Understanding the value systems of the constituents plays an important role in creating a school culture that is supported and nurtured by the community. The school then becomes a network of interested groups that support the learning and developmental goals of students.
At the center of the network are learning goals for individual students. These goals are facilitated by anticipating the tools, spaces, and organizational structures of teaching and learning. Local schools and school district have administrative responsibilities related to operating schools, ranging from financial and educational accountability to maintaining a secure learning environment. Parents are key stakeholders in student success and the transfer of school culture from generation to generation. And the community is a significant stakeholder–strategically organized, schools play an important role in cultural, workforce, economic, and community development. Developing layered strategies to address opportunities for a school’s constituents enhances the ongoing sustainability of a school and community culture.
Riverview High School (originally established in the 1950s) in Sarasota, Florida, envisioned a replacement high school designed to prepare students for success in the coming workforce – organizing 3,000 students by learning communities of 300, focusing curricular content on student interests, and supporting one-to-one student computers. Having outgrown the enrollment capacity of the original campus, and at the same time implementing a significant departure in curriculum, instruction, and physical organization of students, the school board elected to demolish the existing structure and rebuild on the same site.
The existing structure was a significant modern building by Paul Rudolph and widely recognized nationally and internationally as a seminal representation of the Sarasota School of Architecture. Expressive of a flexible steel frame and glass in-fill, the building was a demonstration of sustainable design for schools and for buildings in subtropical climates. Shading devices deflected the sun away from the building skin and reflected softer natural light into the building. With one full wall of windows in classrooms and three walls of clerestories, natural daylight filled the learning environments and natural ventilation flowed through the campus.
In 2008, an international design competition was held to explore alternate possibilities for Rudolph’s historic modern structure. The winning entry, submitted by Diane Lewis Architects, RMJM Hiller, and Beckelman+Capilino, proposed The Riverview Music Quadrangle. This music conservatory would consolidate and provide a permanent home for national and international programs already in operation in the Sarasota area. Classrooms converted to rehearsal studios, the courtyard converted to a large performance venue, and the dining facilities converted to galleries for music performances, banquets, and social events. The program was designed to support the new Riverview High School campus as well as the regional community in attracting world-class musicians to teach, research, and perform for the community.
The Riverview Music Quadrangle would therefore exist as an independent organization colocated on the school site. As a site strategy, a campus green bordered by a landscaped hedge was slipped under the existing Rudolph building, creating a lawn, or garden, to organize the campus and reestablish a historic campus green that was traditionally used by the school’s marching band for rehearsals and impromptu community performances. The hedge organized the site into clear functional zones for both the Quadrangle and the school and, in doing so, created a pedestrian-oriented campus instead of an auto-oriented campus.
In terms of stewardship, the Riverview Music Quadrangle proposal, preserved a significant financial asset for the community, restored a national cultural asset, developed programmatic synergy for the education community, and consolidated community arts and educational resources.
In Dallas, Texas, as a part of a $1.4 billion bond program, a new middle school was established in a socially and economically depressed area of the city. The project connected four city blocks to create Hector Garcia Middle School, a 13-acre campus for 1,200 students aged 11 to 14.
As an organizing strategy, the building is situated toward the north end of the site, creating an urban plaza at the street edge and allowing sports fields in the south. Classrooms placed along the north side of the building collect the north light and offer sweeping views of the city. Program areas that require less daylight are placed on the south side of the building, creating a natural buffer for the south light and heat gain. Areas that can be used by the public – gym, library, auditorium, and dining hall – are located at the edges of the building to invite and encourage the community to use the facility. Classrooms overlook the city, and the windows become teaching aids for teachers, describing activities at the fairgrounds, commerce centers, the city’s airports, and healthcare centers.
The school offers a bold strategy for addressing education in depressed areas. An inventory of nearby community assets placed the new school within four blocks of the city zoo, within two blocks of two elementary schools, eight blocks from a neighborhood high school, and six blocks from a nationally recognized magnet high school. The site for the middle school became a connecting point and resource for neighboring community assets. Instead of a site strategy that responded only to existing conditions, the building looks forward, anticipates, and encourages the neighborhood and the school community to think differently about itself, to leverage educational development as a vehicle for community, economic, and workforce development.
The conversations that shape ideas about learning and learning environments are critical as designers and educators work together to envision and create places for learning. The continual push for performance by schools and communities provides a rich terrain for innovative ideas for educational challenges. While new technologies and legislative and funding pressures for performance invite new ideas, conversations between educators and designers are critical in creating fundamentally human places: spaces that inspire the wonder of learning, celebrate the acquisition of knowledge, and bring understanding of context for an individual to their peers, community, and world. The School Museum at VS reflects on these innovations in the past century and through demonstration encourages this generation of educators and designers to continue the conversations.
PETER BROWN was the liasion for the Sarasota Architecture Foundation in communications with the school board during the Riverview competition process and the Principal Architect for Hector Garcia Middle School.
Peter Brown Architects recently facilitated a design planning workshop at Avenues World School. The New York campus of Avenues World School is located in Manhattan's Chelsea Neighborhood.
The workshop, designed to open a diaglog between educators and designers, created a forum for leading educators to talk about what they do and how they envision students, families, and the community using the facility. The discussion was organized into three broad categories.
Facinating conversations produced ideas that bridge learning and environment. Educators talked about the nature of a library, referencing Louis Kahn's Exeter Library, the nature of student discussions around Harkness Tables, the purpose of meeting together in a digital world, understanding what can only happen when people meet together face to face, integrating collaborative practices, learning from multiple sources, the effects of cultural immersion on learning spaces, and the opportunities of being locatied New Yorks' leading community of artists.
The dialog generated a set of guiding priciples on understanding furniture as the interface between the building and curriculum.
Workshop participants included: Tom Bonnell, Nancy Schulman, Marcia Tingley, Chris Whittle, Dominic Kozerski, Enrico Bonetti, Steve Hanon, Ray Bordwell, Caroline Greenbaum, Susan Robinson, Ben Newton, Skip Mattoon, Libby Hixon, Ty Tingley, Gardner Dunnan, Lyn Mattoon, Andy Clayman.
Ideas from the workshop sessions with renowned and talented thinkers form a basis for the furniture selection process at Avenues and will continue resonate in the work around our design studio.
The Avenues NYC campus is the first in a network of locations in the world's leading cities, read more at Avenues World School: What is Avenues?
Begin by thinking Avenues Beijing, Avenues London, Avenues São Paulo, Avenues Mumbai. Think of Avenues as one international school with 20 or more campuses. It will not be a collection of 20 different schools all pursuing different educational strategies, but rather one highly-integrated “learning community,” connected and supported by a common vision, a shared curriculum, collective professional development of its faculty, the wonders of modern technology and a highly-talented headquarters team located in New York City.
Peter Brown was recently invited to San Juan by the American Institute of Architects to share planning and design insights for design and construction teams involved in Puerto Rico's "Schools for the 21st Century" program.
Peter's illustrated presentation, "Learniing Spaces designed to Move" focuses on learning environments that support dynamic teaching and learning in a swiftly moving culture–It only takes a visit to a coffee shop, airport, hotel lobby, computer store, business center or modern office to see the ways that we collaborate, communicate, work and interact in a dynamic world. Students are on the move. Communicating, creating, sharing, playing, and learning at an accelerated pace. At the same time educational organizations are increasingly challenged to connect with a wide spectrum of learners. Schools are looking across the board at curriculum, daily schedules, assessments, technology, partnerships and facilities to create strategies that work for ALL students.
The symposium presention provided an in-depth look at strategies for creating agile learning environments. Over the course of the session, participants explored connections between learning environments and learning: reviewing current thought on creating high performing learning spaces, educational models for reaching multiple learning styles, and planning concepts that allow classrooms to anticipate the needs of learners.
The time in Puerto Rico packed with news interviews, radio programs, and the AIA symposium.
For NeoCon 2011, the VS showroom focuses on design and movement. Launching the Egon Eirmann collection, VS brings the beautiful product line (circa 1940s) to the United States. The classic modern pieces are exquisilty detailed and are perfect for a signature piece or, as in Hans Scharoun's Berlin Philharmonie, for a full orchestra. Verner Panton's PantoSwing and PantoMove collections feature a full range of options and now in soft upholstered versions. For 2011, the showroom's dynamic entry window displays the HOKKI stool surrounded by linear lines of type, drawing the eye into the room and with messaging that reinforces the firm's committment to ergonomics. Produced in collaboration with BennettElia. And for a virtual tour of the space, visit the VS NeoCon Site