Wednesday, 27 July 2011

External Seating and Colour

Talking to secondary students recently, many talked about the lack of opportunities to sit down to socialise in traditional playground type spaces in their schools. A few talked about "rather nasty wooden picnic benches" which were "horrible and had splinters". We can all imagine the scene!

The students were keen that within their external area there should be different types of spaces, including the opportunities to sit and talk quietly or be able to work. They also talked about where there was external furniture provided, it was boring and "something your grandparents might buy". There was nothing "funky, imaginative or trendy" and nothing "colourful". I can't help but agree with them really - I rarely see imaginative external spaces in schools.
At a recent event I attended I saw some really quirky and colourful seating outside in a courtyard...just moments of colour in a fairly industrial grey setting - it was really effective. Showing these photographs (and others) to students got a really positive response - "that's what we're talking about". Pity no one asked them really!!

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