INDIVIDUALISATION: each brain develops differently so we learn in different ways. The learning space should make sure this is possible. In this group, we can enumerate:
THE CHOICE OF AN OPTIMAL LEARNING SPACE. The result of the interaction between personality traits and the perception of physical space. This is based on an assessment of the size, shape and height of different spaces and their suitability to perform a given task.
Rooms – the school design should allow you to personalise the space for the execution of different tasks and depending on the person (e.g. small children cannot sit at a table for a long time so a carpet is a better solution for them). The resultant space should be interesting and engaging, and comfortable at the same time. On the one hand, this means flexible classroom arrangement, on the other, the design of personalised zones in the room (e.g. individual workspace, conversation corner, observation point).
- SPACE FLEXIBILITY – the designing of a space that allows you to adapt it to the changing conditions and tasks by reducing or increasing the possibility to personalise the space.
- Rooms – the space should be flexible enough to conduct varied exercises and lessons. It is worth looking at the size of the rooms at the level of planning, as well as at their nature: open space, semi-open or closed space (traditional classroom), covered (surrounded by walls) or not (transparent walls, windows). The learning space should be big enough to organise varied activities (from individual and group work to the whole class). The decision concerning the type of learning should result from the education philosophy of a given school. The number of students in class should also be taken into account. Quite often there are about 30 students per class, in which case the principle of flexibility is highly limited. It would be great if foldable desks and chairs were provided. This makes it easier to adapt the space to the needs of a given class or subject. Also, the geometry of the classroom is something worth thinking about. Classrooms are usually squares or rectangles in shape. If we want to make them more flexible, L-shaped rooms are a god idea. In this way we can benefit from an additional corner for innovation (e.g. with a carpet and cube seats). Such a space is fairly easy to manage: we can fit is desks and tables for traditional learning, as well as room for group work and project implementation.
CONNECTION – this is about connecting various educational spaces into one learning environment. Communication routes can be created between different facilities and their surroundings.
Location – if we want to build a new school, it is worth thinking about its location and taking into account the social and cultural vicinity. A botanical garden, a cinema, a museum or a theatre can serve as an extension of the school’s educational space. If there are no such institutions nearby, it is worth designing the school space so as to enable organising additional studying zones outside the school building. This can take the form of a small vegetable garden, botanical garden, waterhole or a fountain (e.g. designed by the students). Attention! The surroundings of the school building should include a space for social interaction (e.g. banks to sit on, lawns, etc.). A well-functioning wi-fi network is another key issue: students should be able to use the virtual educational space from every corner of the school’s premises.
Flow of people – the key to a smooth functioning of the school as an educational institution are well designed routes which will be used by the students and teachers on their way to classes / breaks. Both routes inside the building and the connections between buildings and other elements of school infrastructure should be taken care of. Projects which do not take this element into consideration can lead to security issues, but also to many students arriving late to class. They should also include areas where pupils can meet, talk, learn informally (there should also be a place to rest). New architectural projects can include a focal point for the school, where a large number of students, teachers and parents will be able to gather at the same time (square, atrium or at least wide corridor). Communication routes should also be well indicted. What works well here is, for example, the use of different floor colours to denote the so-called rapid transition routes, or for the colour of the walls to indicate the different areas of the school (i.e. areas for students of different ages, which reinforces their identity, but also orientation in space).