|Designing a High School for Collaborative,
By Randall Fielding, AIA
Collaboration and project-based learning are often listed as key objectives in the planning of a learning environment; these methods foster creative connections and synthesis, skills that students need to succeed. Research by Susan Wolff, Ed.D., on design features for project-based learning include 32 design features that support collaborative, project-based learning.* Included among those are:
Variable sized spaces
Spaces with access to food
Process galleries, studios
Get away spaces or niches
Access to technology
The furnishing plan for Harbor City International School (HCIS), shown below,
illustrates these features.
||Each student has a homebase comprised of a lockable drawer, coat hook, and an individual workstation shared with another student. Depending on the time of day and adjacent activities, the workstation can serve as either "cave space" or a collaboration incubator. Many of the workstations have round conference ends, serving as an informal meeting area. Workstations also include an acoustically absorptive tack board and partial height enclosure.|
| HCIS will utilize a wireless network for general communications, word processing, spread sheets, and Web research. White boards with a medium textured surface double as projection screens.
An Ethernet connection with category 5 wiring supports projection of large graphic, video or music files. Ethernet connections are also located in the media lab, offices, teacher's room, and library.
A cafe serves as a social team area, with an adjacent sink, refrigerator, microwave, and juice vending machine. Two couches and comfortable chair clusters near large, arched-top windows with a view of Lake Superior, are located within the cafe area, allowing for informal learning and "get away" space. Rectangular tables along a wall, with display space, provide for informal study and eating. Round tables in the center accommodate up to six students for eating or project work. An enclosed warming kitchen is available for catered hot meals.
In contrast to the lively, high volume character of the cafe, a quiet team area is located a the center of the school. Student workstations, bookcases and couch/comfy chair clusters support individual work and small group meetings.
The library includes a private conference room, study carrels and two over stuffed armchairs in a niche created by a unique brick archway.
A presentation forum includes a raised platform and a 12-foot dedicated projection screen. The chairs are movable, so that the space can be used in various ways; for example, following a presentation, students can rearrange into breakout groups.
A media lab, art room and science lab provide for both hi-tech and messy functions. The media lab has a sound control wall enclosure and both theater-type and direct/indirect lighting, allowing it to serve as a recording studio. A double-glazed interior window provides a view from the central cafe and workstation area into the media lab. Interior windows are used throughout the school to bring light into the interior, as well as to foster connections between adjacent spaces.
Randall Fielding, AIA, is the editor of Design Share, and a practicing architect specializing in educational facility planning and design. Fielding takes a collaborative approach, working with other architects to offer a full range of services. Contact information for Randy, as well as a description of his approach to services is available at www.designshare.com/fielding.
* See "Design Features for Project-Based Learning," by Susan J. Wolff, Ed.D., 69 pages,
February 2002, DesignShare.com
This article was first published in a similar format in the March/April edition of School Construction News. www.schoolconstructionnews.com
The design for HCIS was a collaborative effort involving educational planner and principal designer Randall Fielding, AIA, in association with Scalzo architects and project designer Peter Krieps. Randall Fielding also is the editor and publisher of Design Share. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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June 2002 | designshare.com