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Book Review: “Schools for the Future: Design Proposals from Architectural Psychology”

Book Review: “Schools for the Future: Design Proposals from Architectural Psychology”

Rotraut Walden (Ed.)

“Contributions from international experts discuss how school buildings can work together with users’ own creative responses and result in educational environments that are ‘alive.’” DesignShare has long maintained friendships with several of the contributing authors as part of our Design Awards program.

Henry Sanoff:
Kaname Yanagisawa served as a jurist in 2000.

The book provides a brief overview of the historical development of school buildings in different countries (Germany, United States, Japan), serving as a preview for what we might see in “schools of the future”. Discussions take readers from the most extreme scenarios – schools as we know them virtually disappearing – to more likely possibilities – that virtual schools will expand and serve an entirely new population demographic. Trends in learning modalities have shifted exponentially and 21st century schools must be prepared to both study and embrace such trends.

23 descriptions of global innovative schools are included in the book’s appendix, yet it is the numerous case studies and school design language interwoven into the chapters that enrich and color the pages of this manual of education design standards. Amongst these is the Davidson School in North Carolina, winner of a DesignShare Honor Award in 2000. Expect to see many of these up on DesignShare in coming months!

Ms. Walden’s architectural psychology perspective establishes an eloquent set of performance standards for future schools. She concludes this comprehensive resource tool with a wonderful quote: “The ‘third teacher’ besides the educator and the follow student is the school building.” This book may just serve as a fourth teacher.

April 15th, 2009

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