After 1968, James Ackerman, Giancarlo De Carlo and others questioned school design: why? why like this? This post revisits their questions.
“In the Middle Ages, colleges like those at Oxford looked like monasteries because the Establishment was theocratic; today , our high schools look like factories and regiment students like the labor force because the Establishment is commercial and industrial.” (James S. Ackerman)
Ackerman is generalising and knows it. He wants to skip past instances of particular schools in particular places and think about why they tend to look as they do: it’s a question that’s often ignored.
Adrian Leaman on what makes school buildings special, PoE and managing complexity.
Adrian Leaman runs Building Use Studies and leads the educational and dissemination activities of the Usable Buildings Trust, a UK educational charity with the aim of promoting information about buildings in use from technical and human perspectives. He has had a long interest in built space and its organisation and is keen that future design can benefit from lessons learned in existing buildings. Hence our discussion here focuses on post-occupancy evaluation (PoE) and the feedback loops that can lead to better school buildings.
Ola Uduku (Edinburgh University) speaks about the historical influence of Western pedagogies and architectural traditions and their local adaptation in school design.
Ola Uduku is Reader in Architecture and Dean International for Africa at Edinburgh University’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA). Her research specialisms are the history of educational architecture in Africa and contemporary issues related to social infrastructure provision for minority communities in cities in the ‘West’ and ‘South’. She is also involved in research into environmental analysis, and measurement tools and apps for educational and third sector uses.Continue reading “Schools and School Design in Africa: An Interview with Ola Uduku”
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.
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.
To move beyond traditional measures of research impact, this post on the LSE Impact blog proposes a range of alternative indicators. So alongside H-Index, number of citations etc there are many more provocative and interesting suggestions eg: angry letters from powerful people; town hall meetings; place of publication. They’re problematic for sure, but each reveals something that meaningfully broadens ways to think about impact.
For a book that says almost nothing about Education – no classrooms, no students or teachers, no school architecture – James C. Scott’s Seeing Like a State is one of the best I’ve read on school design, being in schools and education.
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.
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!
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.
Recently I’ve been learning about Post-Occupancy Evaluation, mostly from the tons of great resources at the Usable Buildings Trust. It’s got me thinking why there’s nothing in place for systematically asking the young people and adults who spend lots of time in school buildings what they think of those school buildings nor means to share that information in order to inform future designs.
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?”
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.
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.