Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Circulation spaces - learning from others

Schools are so often tied into corridors as single purpose spaces when they are thinking about new designs. This is really an issue that really needs thinking about carefully though.

Many innovative schools are now abolishing corridors as a waste of space and incorporating circulation space with break out areas, feeding areas, social areas and learning zones. It is such a better use of space. It is hard to encourage some teachers, locked into tradition, so see the benefits of this change of space.

One only has to look at the change in public circulation spaces that is taking place all round us to get the message across. Railway stations used to be cold draughty spaces with one function - to get people on / off the train. Now, apart from very effectively moving people through the space, they have several social aspects, shopping, eating, relaxing, with meeting and social areas. Manchester Station is really quite a good example. Even better, the new station at St Pancras is quite an experience with trains almost tucked away out of space. A colleague recently admitted they went there for the experience and the shops without wanting a train. How things have changed!
This change mentality is what we need to do in schools regarding circulation spaces - these new environments are what our young people are used to - why shouldn't they be in schools?

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