Thursday, 9 April 2015


An ad hoc post based on some discussions about creating great schools architecturally.

While I am keen on getting the environment right for people to live and thrive, I have witnessed the upheaval of a student while school was transformed. Not happy.

Build new schools with great infrastructure? Well do you know this is where I believe the student's environment is more concerned with people than it is with fancy facades and generous hallways.

Let's face it, 11-17 year olds live in a bubble of social interactions. If you changed the entire colour scheme in your home over a 6 month period, they wouldn't notice. What they will comment on is the change to a routine. Say you didn't have tea ready for them to eat at 6, and they came purposefully downstairs to retrieve said dish - all hell.

School is a place to learn. It's a place to explore new relationships, bond with mates. It is about finding yourself away from home.

Fundamentally schools should have great teachers, the kind you remember years later, the ones that inspired you against the odds to live that dream.

Schools are about education - that comes from the Latin ex-ducere , which means to lead out. Start with sorting out why we discourage creatives, undermine people with academic nuance, and downright decide an apprenticeship is working in a coffee shop or stacking shelves.

A beautifully designed school may create the structure that inspires, but unless teachers can fulfill that promise it's a waste of space.

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