Category Spaces for Learning

Conference: Architecture, Citizenship, Space: British Architecture from the 1920s to the 1970s

PROGRAMME AND ABSTRACTS 15th – 16th June 2017 Oxford Brookes University, Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane, Oxford How did individuals and groups concerned with architecture and the built environment respond to, and seek to shape, the challenges and opportunities of twentieth-century life? Engaging with themes such as democracy, citizenship, leisure, culture and new subjectivities, and showcasing […]

What Are We Building Schools For Again?

For OECD and UNICEF, the well-being of UK young people is not good. Is it time to rethink the aim of school architecture?

Schools of Tomorrow, a free “kick-off conference” Berlin, May 4-6 2017

One hundred years ago, educational reformers across the globe strove to create the foundation for new methods of learning and teaching. Industrialization, worldwide migration and urbanization led to profound upheavals, to which progressive educational reformers responded with new school concepts. In his groundbreaking 1915 publication “Schools of To-Morrow” the philosopher und educator John Dewey and […]

Transitions: Inhabiting Innovative Learning Environments

Transitions: Inhabiting Innovative Learning Environments – Graduate research symposia. While the provision of innovative learning environments in many countries around the world is an exciting and overdue development, they are also presenting new challenges for teachers. How well are teachers making the transition from traditional to innovative spaces? Are these innovative spaces facilitating any improvment […]

An Interview with Jill Blackmore on space, learning, feminism and the politics of education

Professor Jill Blackmore discusses learning spaces, teachers’ work, feminism and the complexity of education.

Flexibility and Time

Flexibility, Time and Learning Spaces

If teachers don’t have time to make flexibility happen, a learning environment isn’t flexible. This post proposes a breakdown into 4 types of flexibility based on the temporal (& other) resources users need.

INSPIRE: A celebration of the RIBA’s National Schools Programme, London, UK.

INSPIRE is a celebration of the RIBA National Schools Programme to be held at the Royal Institute of British Architects, 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD on Friday 1 July at 2pm.  The event will feature Baroness Doreen Lawrence as a special guest. The programme of events for the afternoon is as follows: 2pm Welcome […]

Hertzberger’s ‘cupboardness’

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 […]

An educational paradox: where beginner readers learn in school

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 […]

Architecture and Education seminar: two-footed stories of exploration. May 11th 2016, University of Cambridge

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 […]

Image of Adrian Leaman

Post-Occupancy Evaluation and Schools – an interview with Adrian Leaman

Adrian Leaman on what makes school buildings special, PoE and managing complexity.

Improving access in schools: an interview with Jane Simpson

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 […]

Image of Ola Uduku

Schools and School Design in Africa: An Interview with Ola Uduku

Ola Uduku (Edinburgh University) speaks about the historical influence of Western pedagogies and architectural traditions and their local adaptation in school design.

The importance of acoustics in learning: an interview with Shane Cryer, Ecophon

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 […]

Futures for English School Design

The following is a list of things we learned during the Education Estates conference, held in Manchester on 10-11th November 2015. We’re not promising they’re all news to you and we’re still unsure what they might mean either now or in the future. We are not experts in building construction; we do have some knowledge […]

Why are people so fixated on area in schools and not on cost?

I returned home from the Education Estates* conference in Manchester earlier this week with one question lodged firmly in my head: why are people so fixated on area in schools and not on cost? The question was asked at the very end of the conference in the final session just as the conference organisers began to […]

A less modern but more hi-tech primary: more from the DfE’s PSBP

Following yesterday’s cheaper, faster … and better?  post, I must apologise for a lack of thoroughness in my research of the school building and maintenance section of the Gov.UK website.  At the time of writing I had only read one of the DfE’s latest press releases, dated 21st September 2015, about their Priority School’s Building […]

PBSP school buildings in the UK: cheaper, faster… better?

A Victorian-era community primary has been rebuilt as a modern replacement primary academy in the West Midlands of England and the DfE puts out a press release to celebrate its opening. As a promotional puff for a new school, some of the language used initially strikes me as rather odd. The building is modern, boasting […]

Interview preview: with special school deputy head Pamela Murphy

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 special school in London. Pupils at the school […]

AR’s School Awards: will the interiors count? That’s where students spend their 13,585 school hours…

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 […]

What is a class?

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. It […]

Wiping the slate clean: one way to declutter a primary school

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 […]

The phantom cloakroom

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 […]

Interview with Ruth Benn and Rebecca Skelton, teachers at Sparrow Farm Infants & Nursery school, Feltham.

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 […]

Interview with Georgie Hughes, Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, Tower Hamlets

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 […]

Interview with Rima Tarar, architecture student

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 […]

Open Space Good, Closed Space Bad? Problems with Architecture and Language

In which Marie, a 12-year-old student, explains how large, open-plan spaces feel claustrophobic.

School design podcast

Five minute sound montage featuring descriptions of school architecture