DesignShare - Designing for the Future of Learning MARCH 2010 E-NEWSLETTER

Letter from the Editor

Dear DesignSharers,

As students and practitioners of Gestalt principles in architecture, we are trained to keep the idea that “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” at the forefront of our designs. Not all architects are that successful at integrating Gestalt psychology into their work, and certainly most architects fall short in inspiring their admirers, apprentices or students, and clients to apply this principle to daily life.

Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller was one architect who succeeded, and who was recently featured in Maine’s “Bangor Metro.” Author, friend and colleague Leslie Bowman asked Randy Fielding to contribute a few words about the significance of Fuller’s life and work. Randy’s letter of thanks was compelling enough to be published as an Editor’s note, and is a reminder that together, we really can change the world. With his words of wisdom floating through your mind, enjoy some of the other mesmerizing and inspiring designs and literature featured in this issue of DesignShare’s enewsletter.

Clare Friedrich, Editor

> On Tap

Life Between Classrooms: Applying Public Space Theory to Learning Environments
Prakash Nair and Annalise Gehling
The authors contributed to a collection of provocation papers entitled “Reshaping Our Learning Landscape”, part of the ‘Building Schools for the Future’ (BSF), British Council for School Environments. Nair and Gehling discuss Jan Gehl’s theory of public space and how it might apply to learning environments today, using the examples of school and university campuses, and exploring the emerging role of informal learning in the 21st Century. Read full article here....

Madonna Builds Solar-Powered Eco-Academy For Girls in Malawi
by Bridgette Meinhold
Madonna is giving back to the country that gave her David, her son, in a big way by building an eco-friendly academy for girls in Malawi’s capital city, Lilongwe. StudioMDA, out of New York, designed the school and hopes it can become the standard for education and new sustainable construction in the region. Read more...

Image Credit: Hollis Duncan
New York Times Op-Ed: Playing to Learn
February 02, 2010
By Susan Engel
If the Obama administration wants to reform education, it should overhaul the current curriculum, which is completely at odds with the way a child’s mind develops. Read full article....

Case Study: Dalian Preschool, Dalian, China
Drawing from the most successful examples of kindergartens worldwide, this unique project benefits from the collaborative expertise and design criteria from two early childcare professionals: the International Child Resource Institute (ICRI) based in the United States and Kinderland based in Singapore. Read more here....

> Newsflash

Randy Fielding Speaking at CEFPI 2010 Midwest Great Lakes Regional Conference:
Improving Learning Outcomes through Educational Commissioning
Billions of dollars are spent on building and renovating school facilities each year, but how do we ensure that facilities are used optimally to improve learning outcomes? Educational Commissioning™ addresses the question with a process that engages educators and architects during design and also after construction. The process drives a more efficient building, as well as an optimal alignment between the facility design and agreed upon teaching and learning strategies.
Attendees will learn about two key tools used in Educational Commissioning™: a) creating a baseline evaluation for a facility’s effectiveness, and b) curriculum mapping during the design process. Using real case studies in an interactive presentation and workshop, participants will model different learning scenarios over time and see the impact on the environment. Attendees will come away with an understanding of two new tools to improve teaching and learning while improving buildings efficiency up to 15%.

> DesignShare’s Bookshelf

Book cover
Curriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World
Edited by Heidi Hayes Jacobs
Stimulating and inspiring, Curriculum 21 is inarguably a must-read for teachers, principals, school architects, and curriculum designers. The new book is chock full of palatable critiques of modern day schools. Jacobs and her army of nine other educators and authors offer clear, salient knowledge supported by statistics, diagrams and curriculum reforms. Read a full DesignShare review here.

> Event Calendar

Interdisciplinary Seminar Series: School Design Futures - Exploring the Limits (Nottingham, UK)
Designing low carbon and sustainable schools presents a significant interdisciplinary problem for architects and designers. In the series as a whole we look beyond concern only with technological solutions to low carbon school design and consider what we can learn from the field of educational history and philosophy in reducing energy consumption and encouraging pro-environmental behaviours. Four seminars are planned:
SEMINAR ONE: 22 January 2010, School Design Futures: The role of schools in building sustainable communities. National College for School Leadership, Nottingham.
SEMINAR TWO: February 2010, Is Well-Being Key to Sustainable Schools? Exploring the more radical histories of design for health and well-being. To be held at the Planned Environment Therapy Trust Conference Centre in Cheltenham in collaboration with the Institute for the History and Work of Therapeutic Environments.
SEMINAR THREE: May 2010, Education for Sustainability, new educational philosophies and designing sustainable schools – what can we learn? The Meeting Place, Oxford (tbc).
SEMINAR FOUR: September 2010, Exploring the limits of school transformation: Can schools foster notions of consuming less, aspiring differently and changing the social norms which present a barrier to lifestyle change? The Meeting Place, Oxford (tbc).

“Education Beyond Borders” (Sofia, Bulgaria)
March 26-28, 2010
Contact: Zornitsa Andreeva, Marketing Manager
Bery Group Bulgaria
74, Gen. Gurko Str., fl. 1, 1000, Sofia, Bulgaria
Phone: +359 2 9888 604, Fax: +359 2 950 25 11

2010 School Building Expo (Navy Pier, Chicago, IL)
May 10-13, 2010
Click here to submit

2010 Midwest Great Lakes Regional Conference (Grand Rapids, MI)
May 12-13, 2010
Relearning Learning = Relearning2
Steelcase University
Click here to read more

> E-Newsletter Sponsors


FNI logo
Fielding Nair International designs school facilities for today and tomorrow with one primary goal in mind — to improve learning. With consultations in 27 countries on 5 continents, dozens of important publications, and numerous industry awards for excellence, FNI is the global leader for innovative school architecture. Underlying all the architectural design, planning and educational change management work they do is a strong belief in diversity, high performance, technology infusion, global connections and personalization. Web:

School Building Expo
The School Building Expo is the industry event for people responsible for the construction and renovation of K-12 and Higher Education school facilities. More info:

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