Gabrielle Taus

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Student-ontwerpers in Australië stoeien met ‘portable’ leeromgeving

15 februari 2012


Geplaatst in: Partnerschap, Samenleving,

Ook in Nederland kennen we de voorbeelden. Een nieuwe school die groeit en al snel te groot is voor het bestaande complex. Inderhaast worden er portable gebouwen neergezet die in de zomer stoffig zijn en in de wintertijd te koud. The Melbourne School of Design hield een competitie voor innovatieve ontwerpen voor verplaatsbare schoolgebouwen. Student-ontwerpers creëren de toekomst en realiseren zich maar al te goed wat een leeromgeving vraagt. Kijk naar de online demonstratie.

By Laura Soderlind, klik HIER

Anyone who attended a rapidly expanding school in Australia can remember sitting through classes in dreary grey portable classrooms: stuffy in summer, cold in winter and often straddling the school oval and patches of asphalt on the school grounds.  These tired educational spaces have been the subject of the Future Proofing Schools Design Ideas Competition run by the Melbourne School of Design as part of an Australian Research Council Linkage Project, 2010-2012.

Competition Adviser and Chief Investigator, Associate Professor Clare Newton, says relocatable classrooms are often dismissed as a ‘necessary evil’ for schools.  “We wanted to give people an opportunity to re-imagine the humble ‘relocatable’ into delightful, integrated spaces in which students love to learn.”

Ideas submitted to the Future Proofing Schools Design Ideas Competition responded to a complex brief which outlined best international practices in education, prefabrication, sustainable design and landscape integration.

The portable classrooms of yesteryear have been redesigned by four streams of applicants: industry professionals, tertiary students, students from the University of Melbourne and high school students.  Submissions have been examined by a jury of international architects and education experts. After much deliberation, the judging is complete with first prize in the University of Melbourne Student Competition going to Ayrine Kwan.   “We thought the quality of submissions was exceptionally high,” says Associate Professor Newton. “It was great to have both international and local designers entering.”

The winning design idea in the professional category from the firm Architectus proposed a computer ‘app’ with a suite of modules to be selected and organised by each client group to suit their needs and location.  Entries from students of the University of Melbourne explored an exciting variety of design approaches, from individual origami-like folding structures to urban-scale ‘learning bridges’.  In the parallel competition for high school students, one of the five winners, Olivia Baenziger from St Leonard’s College designed connecting hexagonal classrooms forming a ‘hive’ or integrated cluster of classrooms.  “The designs from all levels of applicants, from 15-year-old school students to professional architects, showed an understanding of the role and impact of built environments on quality of life – and in this case, on educational outcomes,” says Associate Professor Newton.

Current methods of teaching and learning are increasingly interactive and use new technologies to engage and educate students. Even a table surface can now become an interactive white board connected to the internet. Teachers employ a variety of classroom practices, including individual learning, group work and whole-class participation.

Classroom designs equipped for the 21st century must accommodate these requirements and be adaptable for differing types of learning. With these pedagogical developments in mind, the Future Proofing Schools competition called for designs to challenge and reinvent these dated and increasingly irrelevant classroom set-ups.

In addition, the competition asked entrants to take advantage of recent advances in prefabrication and mass customisation to enable relocatable classrooms to be integrated with their physical environment.  “All too often, portable classrooms are marooned on the school grounds, perched in a position that was never intended to have a classroom. The winning designs came up with novel and unique ways to incorporate these spaces into the school landscape and adapt to different climate types,” Associate Professor Newton says. “The classroom is not a neutral shell to house teaching and learning. The classroom itself is involved in shaping the way teachers and students operate at school.”

The designs submitted approached the task of reinventing the portable classroom as an interactive three-dimensional text book, as integral to the learning process as the teacher.

Online exhibition:

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