Monday, 28 December 2009
Schools - landmarks of the community - or not?
More and more, new schools are being designed to be central to the community that they serve. The expectation is that many new schools will be accessible from early morning until late at night, including weekends for extended learning, community use and so much more.
Many new schools are also have to cope with the growing trend for co-located services to be contained within the building or campus. This really demands careful architecture and design.
Interestingly, some people are being clear that they do not want "iconic" buildings, being much more concerned that funding is used to deliver the best possible learning design features inside the building. This will support students to be able to learn as effectively as possible in a variety of environments. This makes perfect sense. Equally other, are very clear that they do want "iconic" buildings that are a feature of the community - this also makes sense - if there are reasons for the design.
If we really do want new schools to be centres of the community - maybe they SHOULD look like interesting, different and great buildings that stand out and also welcome people inside. The last thing we want is for them to look like so many of today's existing schools where most adults fear to venture.
It's a balance, it's a conversation, but it is may be more important to the communities involved than we think about sometimes.