Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Outdoor indoor areas

Visiting the BT Centre near St Pauls Cathedral for a meeting today, I admired their 'outdoor indoor' foyer... heated and with plants (well a few anyway). It looked as though it should be outdoors but give it a glass roof creating an atrium feel and heating, it results in it being a really nice indoor place to be. Althought the photograph does not show it, comfortable seats were placed around, with plasma screens, a coffee machine and a fairly welcoming reception all help tomake it a place people were happy to wait or stand and chat.

A number of schools are now considering this type of 'outdoor indoor space', often by connecting buildings with a similar style roof. This gives a massive space for students that can just as easily be a wireless learning environment or equally be a social space - or both at the same time. It literally blurs the edges of creating spaces for specific uses as too often happens in schools. Put in comfortable furniture and create a variety of spaces would just be a fab for students to want to be!

Schools are again way behind in this thinking, shopping malls have got it, businesses have got it - It really makes you wonder why more school designers aren't thinking about it! Lets think outside the box guys!

(And just for teachers - everyone can also see how it would also help on a purely functional level for those wet days which can be just awful for all staff!)

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