Monday, 2 March 2009

Beautiful pavements can exist....

They always say people never look up as they walk around - but do they look down? Walking along a pavement last week I suddenly realised that I was not walking on the usual tarmac or concrete slabs but some instead really beautiful stone slabs. They really are pieces of natural art in their own right. I know several of my former art teachers would use them as a stimulus for a whole number of lessons.

Although probably horrendously expensive they really have added to the whole area which has just been given a whole new identity.

It really demonstrates that when we talk about 21st century external learning spaces, sensory gardens and stimulating environments et al, we really must consider every aspect of the space from the floor to above ground level. We really should be providing spaces where students keep on discovering new aspects the more they enter the space.

Even the ground / floor we walk on can be interesting


Anonymous said...

are you to be taken seriously?

Gareth Long said...

oh yes actually and not mad as you obviously seem to think.

All round the world where new learning environments are being built, designers are considering textures and surfaces both inside and outside.

In the Cayman Islands the new schools feature multi colour resin floors for communal areas, reflecting colours and shapes from the sea. Schools in the US and UK are indicating 'routes' for students through the campus using texture and colour rather than those horrible painted lines or coloured tarmc

Additoinally with the increasing trend for co-locating SEN schools with main stream secondary schools in the UK, staff are looking for all sorts of ideas to give students with autistism spectrum disorders confidence in following set routes, including throuigh the use of floor guides and patterns.

The truth is that where they can school designers, assisted by their landcapse design colleagues, frequently consider intersting or exciting flooring and ground surfaces, external and internal. Unfortunately these are usually the first victim of the dreaded 'value engineering'. Hence the proliferation of concrete slabs and tarmac.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree that all aspects of external spaces should be considered. As a landscape designer involved with new schools, PFI, BSF and local authority schemes, new perspectives and ideas are being implemented. The ground is a fantastic opportunity for excitement, creatvity and learning.

Anonymous said...

People have been decorating sidewalks for years - even the 'gold stars' here in LA are set on the ground for people to walk on. Whats the the debate?