There is no doubt that education has an unfortunate legacy as far as built spaces for learning are concerned. For most of history, school buildings were designed to effect discipline and control rather than encourage adventure and discovery. The Co-design of Educational Spaces event held last week in Edmiston Jones GBB’s Wollongong studio was an opportunity to share experiences from recent projects we have designed for teaching, exploring, learning and well-being.
Presenters at the event were Ian Brown, Head of the School of Education at UTS; Adam Selinger from the Children’s Discovery Museum; Anthony Body and Anna Lay from the Department of Premier & Cabinet and David Fuller, CEO of WEA Illawarra, part of the community college network. The projects presented were:
The speakers highlighted the importance of clear communication and the importance of collaboration with end users in the design of education spaces. Anna, pictured above, spoke about her experience working with EJgbb at East Nowra Public School where simple diagrams captured the essential spaces required and made the information accessible to the teachers and community service providers who would be using the proposed well-being hub. EJgbb’s Sam Jones, our energetic architectural student, showcased the WEA project where students were engaged in the design of their learning spaces using ‘hex-a-maps’ to convey the ‘what, where and why’ of a day in their life at the Alesco non-highschool. In both projects, the co-design process ensured that we fully understood the day-to-day activities, how they interrelate, and the overarching vision for the project.
The final presentation was from our collaborator, Danish urban designer and architect, Rasmus Frisk of arki_lab. Rasmus spoke from his extensive experience in ‘citizen design’ of urban spaces and his talk broadened the discussion to the involvement of the community, and particularly youth, in the design of the public realm.