Thursday, 18 August 2011

Interactive and Playful Corridors

'Corridors are boring" declared one student recently... going on to add that he saw them simply as spaces to simply move along. I guess when they are narrow, dark crowded as they often are, that this is the case.

This is not true for students at the new award winning
Tuke School in Southwark. Tuke caters for students aged 11 - 19 years with severe, profound and complex learning disabilities. In their new building, designed by Haverstock Associates, they have tried to change the experience of moving through the school by making it as interactive as possible using a variety of senses, visual, tactile and audio..
Tactile panels on the wall guide students, with different textures at corners or by doors, the ceiling lights are at interesting angles and so on.
The most eye catching element of certain corridors is the ability to totally change the colour of the space. The photographs show red, blue, green, but there is also yellow. All these can be operated by any student (or staff, parents and visitors!) by pushing large accessible soft panels (also visible in the photographs) as they move through the space. It works, students love it, so do I. After the initial novelty factor, students still like to be able to control the colour and many have their favourites. These spaces are fun to move through and have a certain playfulness to them.
This ability to have some control over their environment has also been extended to include hygiene rooms. As students are being tended to they can control the colour of the rooms and also chose what music they would like to listen to through a simple accessible switch system linked on an iPod deck. Small details that really make a difference.
There are many aspects of Tuke School that are eye catching and new. All go to help provide a rich interactive education experience for their students who face enough multiple challenges. Taking some American architects who design special education facilities around it recently they all identified design features they had not seen before.
I will post more blogs about Tuke School in the future.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The concept of an 'interesting' corridor seems a contradiction. But these are interesting photos and the lighting certainly livens the place up.