Ruth Taylor was born in London, England and attended schools in Surrey and Buckinghamshire. Prior to studying Architecture at University of Westminster she studied English Literature and Language at University of Liverpool followed by four years working for an investment bank. Before joining SCABAL, as a Senior architect in 2008, she worked with Cottrell & Vermuelen Architecture, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects and Dinwiddie MacLaren Architects gaining particular experience of Education projects as well as working on community, arts, conservation and residential buildings. Continue reading “The spaces have to really want to change: an interview with architect Ruth Taylor”
Should schools have cosy, secluded spaces for children? The architect Herman Hertzberger thinks so. His ‘little library,” is one example: a small space beneath a staircase*, furnished with a single, child-scaled chair that offers an inviting, secluded space without prescribing exactly how the space should be used.
In Space and Learning (2008), Hertzberger’s text about spatial opportunities in schools and how they could lead to better education, he writes, “[p]eople and things require nooks and crannies to inhabit in space” and then describes an essential quality of such spaces as “‘cupboardness’, with the kangaroo as our ideal.”Continue reading “Hertzberger’s ‘cupboardness’”
As a collaborative* doctoral research student in the field of architecture and education, I’m often asked to explain what my research is about. I’m always surprised by how much my answer changes according to who I’m talking to, when and where we’re talking and how I’m feeling about what I’m reading and writing at the time. Far from having a polished elevator pitch, my thoughts about what I’m up to change and develop week by week.
As I’m currently contemplating the writing of my final thesis, I thought I might try and compress my research into a short description here for this blog, offering it in a spirit of exploration and curiosity (mine, as much as yours, I suspect).
Jennifer Singer is an architect and education design advisor. She has collaborated with students, teachers, parents, contractors, local authorities, government bodies, developers and others on the design of nurseries, primary schools and secondary schools throughout the UK. Originally from Philadelphia, USA, Jennifer is based in London.
Tell me about an early school.
I lived in a suburban area of Philadelphia and my elementary school was designed in the 1950s, as was every school in the area. It was three-form entry and it was a sprawling building but I don’t remember it feeling overwhelming, maybe because it was all built on one level. Every classroom had a door to the outside leading into the playground and that’s where we spent much of our time.Continue reading “Learning how to listen: an interview with Jennifer Singer”
Lina Iordanaki is from Piraeus in Greece. Her first degree was in Primary Education and her master’s degree in Literature at the University of Athens. She is currently a 3rd-year PhD student in the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge. Her research areas include picturebooks, graphic novels, literacy and poetry for children. Her PhD thesis investigates children’s responses to wordless picturebooks.
Over the past three years, an innovative collaborative research partnership, funded by the AHRC has been established between the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge and SCABAL architecture studio, London.
The partnership is entitled ‘Creative Discipline: exploring the value of design in building high quality schools supporting excellence in teaching and learning.’
Three doctoral researchers, Emma Dyer, Karolina Szynalska and Tom Bellfield, are currently conducting PhD studies, jointly supervised by Dr Cathy Burke at the Faculty of Education and Dominic Cullinan at SCABAL. Their research questions and subsequent studies have been generated through this bipedular partnership, with one foot in academia and the other foot in practice.
Helen Taylor is Practice Director at Scott Brownrigg, responsible for the strategic planning and implementation of programmes to enhance technical competence and expertise across the whole company. As well as specialising in education design, Helen is committed to sustainability, diversity and inclusive design. She is well-recognised through her collaboration with industry bodies and is a founder member and co-chair of Architects for Change, the RIBA’s Equality & Diversity Forum; Chair of the RIBA Inclusive Design Committee; and Convenor of the RIBA Schools Client Forum; Co-chair of the Construction Industry Council Green Construction Panel; a mentor for the Construction Industry Council Fluid Mentoring Programme.
Tell me about your own early experiences of school.
Herman Hertzberger, born in Amsterdam in 1932, is one of the world’s pre-eminent architects.
He founded Architectuurstudio HH in 1960 and continues to run this thriving practice in the centre of Amsterdam. Best known for his designs of cultural buildings, housing complexes, offices and schools, he is also a prolific writer and teacher. His books, include a series of Lessons for Students in Architecture and Architecture and Structuralism: The Ordering of Space (2014) and he has held a number of academic posts, including professorships in the Netherlands and beyond.
Herman Hertzberger’s views about how education can be promoted through architecture and how schools should be designed for the young today are the subject of this interview for A&E, as well as his lively insights into his own childhood and schooling in Amsterdam in the 1930s. The interview took place on the 9th of September 2015 at his offices in Amsterdam, with questions from Dominic Cullinan, Dr Catherine Burke and Emma Dyer. A further interview from 2017 is also available on this site, here.
Anne Prendergast has spent 30 years in media and publishing and is currently media director at Strattons: a bespoke advertising and design agency specialising in luxury travel, fashion and interior decorating. A graduate of Bristol University and the University of London she also is a new business consultant for Webpuzzle an innovative, digital content management system.
Irene Lindsay is the Assistant Head of a 2-form entry primary school in Raynes Park, London, which was refurbished by Haverstock Architects in 2012. She has been working in primary education as a teacher since she trained at Roehampton University in the early 2000s. Before that she worked in music education while bringing up her four children. Her first degree, from University College, London is in geography.
Tim Byrne is a writer and illustrator of books for children and young adults and a digital technology expert, currently a senior project manager at Macmillan cancer support. He was a primary school teacher, ITC co-ordinator and gifted and talented advisor in schools in Lincolnshire and South West London between 1995 and 2008. He has also written a range of education content for BBC Schools and worked as a digital advisor and website manager for the National Literacy Trust.
An Architect and NRAC registered Access Consultant, Jane is the Director of her own company; Jane Simpson Access Ltd. She has over two decades of experience in inclusion and is noted for her knowledge of the educational sector. She provides advice on a broad range of issues, often clarifying complex aspects of the Equality Act 2010, Special Education Needs and Disability Act (SENDA) and other statutory and legislative information. Her work encompasses Continue reading “Improving access in schools: an interview with Jane Simpson”
Shane Cryer manages the education sector in the UK and Ireland for Swedish acoustic experts, Ecophon. After a career in the construction industry, having studied building and property surveying, he now concentrates on building acoustics. Working closely with organisations such as The Institute of Acoustics (IOA) and the RIBA, Shane has been promoting the new BB93: Acoustic Design of Schools standard via CPD seminars, conferences and articles in the trade press. Continue reading “The importance of acoustics in learning: an interview with Shane Cryer, Ecophon”
Bridget Murray attended primary schools in the late 1970s in Middlesborough, Hertfordshire and Basingstoke, Hampshire (UK) where she also went to secondary school. After a degree in Computer Science at Warwick University, Bridget took a PGCE at the Institute of Education and taught in primary schools in London and Kent. In the past five years she has also been a school governor at a primary school in Surrey, where she now lives. No longer a teacher, she is now an artist and writer.
Hedwig Heinsman is an architect who grew up in the Dutch Flevopolder and now lives and works in Amsterdam. One of the three co-founders of DUS architects, probably best known for their 3D Print Canal House, she is passionate about public and social architecture. Hedwig is a graduate of Delft Technical University and the Helsinki University of Technology. DUS are about to leave their current Open Co-op building and move to a larger site.
Estelle Morris, Baroness Morris of Yardley, former British secretary of state for Education and Skills (2001-2) taught PE and Humanities from the mid-1970s until 1992, when she was elected as Member of Parliament for Birmingham Yardley. In 2005 she joined the House of Lords as a Labour peer.
Sarah Cuthill is school librarian at Clifton High School in Bristol, England and has worked in archives and libraries in universities, the arts and business, both in the UK and in Australia. She began her school life in Buckinghamshire in the UK and then moved with her family to Switzerland at the age of ten.
Sue Steggles was a pupil at John Scurr primary school, Bethnal Green in the East End of London in the 1960s. After attending grammar school, she trained to be a nursery nurse. Subsequently, she retrained as a primary school teacher and taught at Curwen primary school in Plaistow, Essex, Old Ford Primary in Bow, London and now teaches at Sheringham Primary in the London Borough of Newham. Sue has moved away from classroom teaching and currently leads an intervention programme for reading and writing (Reading Recovery) in the school as well has having management responsibilities.
Pamela Murphy read Geography at the University of Cambridge before working as a University administrator and then training as a primary teacher. She worked in a mainstream school as a class teacher before working in two special schools and she is currently the assistant head teacher of Queen Elizabeth II specialschool in London. Pupils at the school are agedbetween 4–19years and have severe, profoundandmultiplelearningdifficulties as well as complex physical and medical needs. This is an extract from an interview with Pamela for A&E.
In my third and final year at the first special school where I worked, I had a class of children who were severely autistic with huge sensory needs. We were on the middle corridor and across from us was a big hall and doors that opened out onto it. So in that middle corridor I had a group of children, all non-verbal, huge sensory issues, all with issues about transition from Year 6 and a classroom that was in no way suitable for these kids that opened directly onto a hall where anyone could be having a PE lesson. Continue reading “Interview preview: with special school deputy head Pamela Murphy”
Suvani Dave has attended independent primary and secondary schools in Ashford, Windsor and Hounslow. She is currently a student in the sixth form at Orleans Park secondary school in Twickenham, where she is taking ‘A’ levels in art, maths and psychology. She is considering studying architecture at university in the USA or the UK. Suvani is a talented artist, whose work has already attracted attention from private collectors.
Treetops Primary is to be sited on the edge of a small town in the South of England on a large site with plenty of room for a large school playing field. The school will be two-form entry (420 pupils) with a 56 place fte.nursery, which may be separate or linked to the school.
I’d never been inside an architect’s office until a couple of years ago but I’d always been curious to know what architects actually did while they were at work. I suppose I imagined them sharing ideas around a table, talking, drawing, drinking coffee, making models, both real and virtual … that sort of thing.
As a student of architecture and education you have all the fun and none of the responsibilities of the professional architect/educator. In June I was given the opportunity by SCABAL to write a brief for their architectural studio’s open day to design a primary school in a day.
When I asked Catherine Burke what she would wish for if she could change just one thing in all schools, this is how she replied:
(T)o remove everything from schools including all the clutter and all the paraphernalia and all the technology and all the stuff and then have a really good think about what was necessary to bring back.
When I was considering whether to include my own childhood school as one of a series of research visits to primary schools, I wondered how that might affect the research. It wasn’t until after I’d made the visit that I remembered Katie Jones & Jon Anderson’s excellent (2009) paper about the methodologies of different research spaces in schools and the fact that Jones was visiting her own (secondary) school for her research project. However, unlike Jones, a young researcher, Continue reading “The phantom cloakroom”
Judith Baines was born in 1933 and is a former primary school teacher and Deputy Head. She pioneered progressive teaching methods at Eynsham Primary in Oxfordshire with her husband George Baines from the late 1960s until the 1980s. Judith and George then worked at Bishop Grossteste College, Lincoln, a teacher training college, before their retirement to the Isle of Arran, Scotland, where Judith has continued to live since George’s death in 2009.
Ruth Benn and Rebecca Skelton teach at Sparrow Farm Infants & Nursery school in Feltham, close to Heathrow Airport. Rebecca began working at the school in September 2013, after completing a PGCE in Primary Education while Ruth joined the school a year later after finishing her BA in Education. They both work in the Year One classrooms in the main building of the school, which dates back to the late 1950s. In the past year, two building projects have been completed: a new nursery building, detached from the original site; and a small self-contained building known as the ‘eco-hut’ or ‘the nest’, designed for small group or one to one interventions, teaching and assessment. We talked in Rebecca’s classroom after the pupils had gone home for the day on June 8th 2015.
Emma: Can I ask you both about your own early experiences of school buildings? What was your school like?
For a while, I’ve been posting interviews here without writing anything about why these interviews are such an integral part of the A&E website. So here’s my attempt at an explanation.
One of the reasons for creating this site was to have a good look at the intersection between architecture and education. When I initially thought about this intersection, the words I’d have used to describe these ‘things in-between’ would probably have been ‘school design’ or even ‘school buildings and their surroundings.’ But I quickly came to realise Continue reading “Why are there so many interviews on the A&E site?”
Georgina (Georgie) Hughes is the Reading Recovery teacher leader for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and also trains teachers in Reading Recovery for other London boroughs. Georgie is based at the two-form entry Osmani Primary School in Whitechapel, East London, where she is the Inclusion Manager. Osmani’s intake of children is primarily of Bangladeshi heritage, with seventy per cent eligible for free school meals and where the majority of pupils begin school with limited knowledge of English. The school is housed in an Edwardian former secondary school building and has a spacious feel, with generous sized classrooms and a large number of support rooms available for one to one and small group tuition. Georgie graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a degree in European studies before moving to London for her Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and a Masters in Reading Recovery and Literary Leadership at the Institute of Education. Georgie was my teacher leader when I trained as a Reading Recovery teacher in Tower Hamlets in 2010.
Think back to your first school. What was it like?
Rima Tarar was born in Paris in the early 1990s, where she attended nursery and primary school. One year into her secondary education, with very little English, she moved to London and was enrolled in a state secondary school in Hackney. Rima is currently studying interior architecture at London Metropolitan University and considering a number of career options, including architecture.
Dominic Cullinan is an architect and founding partner of SCABAL (Studio Cullinan & Buck Architects Ltd.) based in Hatton Garden. Dominic met Jon Buck at Ian Richie architects in 1989 and they have worked together ever since, forming a partnership as Cullinan & Buck Architects in 1996.
Nicky Manby first became involved with Pakeman Primary, a North London state primary school, as a reading volunteer after a career as a French and German teacher. The teaching and sharing of reading with children has been a significant part of her life and she believes that without good reading schools, children are held back in everything else they do. As Chair of Governors at Pakeman Primary, Nicky initiated a project to build a ‘reading lodge’ in the playground. She describes her ideal building as having a tree growing up the centre of it, or at least a tree – filled courtyard and says, It’s still a dream of mine – to lie in a tree spitting cheery pits below, while immersed in a book. Here Nicky reflects on her own schooling in the USA, Switzerland and France and its influence on her work at Pakeman Primary.
Ji Yu, who likes to be known as Summer at the University of Cambridge where she is a doctoral student in Education, is investigating the impact of learning spaces upon student learning in higher education. She is exploring this topic with a comparative (mixed methods) case study in China. Summer grew up in Zixi, a town in Jiangxi Province, China. Her undergraduate degree in Beijing was in civil engineering in and her Masters studies in Shanghai centred on a comparative study of learning spaces in Chinese primary schools with several Scottish primary schools. I spoke with Summer on 11th May 2015 in a central London cafe, just before she flew back to China to continue her research in the field.
Tell me about the first school you went to when you were a child. What did it look like and feel like to you?
Well, the first school I attended was the kindergarten but I couldn’t really remember it, so I think …. the one I remember is my primary school and it is very Chinese and a very traditional one. Continue reading “Interview with Ji Yu (Summer)”
Dr Catherine Burke is a well-known historian of childhood, education and school design whose books include School (2008) and The School I’d Like (2003), both co-authored with Ian Grosvenor. Her latest book, A Life in Education and Architecture, is a study of architect Mary Beaumont Medd (2013). She reflected on her own experience of the materiality of school as a child growing up in Birmingham in an interview with Emma Dyer on 21st April 2015 in Cambridge, where she is Reader in History of Childhood and Education.