As the Architectural Review’s School Awards close, let’s hope the judges give due emphasis to the design of the interiors since this is where students and teachers spend most of their time. And Architecture as I’ve argued before already pays too much attention to exteriors. But insides count!
Let’s say students are inside for 5.5 hours a day and outside (ie in the vicinity, commuting, on break or lunch) for 1 hour.
11:2 is a big difference in relative terms for where people spend their time.
And absolute figures in a back-of-envelope sort of way (for England, apologies to other countries) has compulsory education years at 13, days at 190, hours at 5.5 = 13,585 hours inside school buildings over their school life-time.
And that guesstimate at 1 hour outside gives us 1 x 190 x 13 = 2,470 hours entering/leaving/around the exteriors of school buildings.
Let’s hope the judges (all designers – no students or teachers, next year maybe?) remember the insides too!
We shouldn’t forget other people in school – classroom teachers by this report from the BBC spend 57.5 hours / school week working of which 77.5% is in school, the rest at home, so 57.5 x 39 x 0.775 = 1738 hours inside school each year. No figures for other staff I’m afraid.
Whilst schools are much more than places to house students for the purpose of learning or even particular ways of organising people, that sense of commodity should be uppermost in decisions about their design – together with the recognition that it happens, for good or ill, largely inside.