School of Locality: Learning within location and place

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The environment we grow up within, is likely to colour our early lives and personalities. Going to school in an imaginative and inclusive, open environment, is surely the ideal. This essay looks at examples of environmentally designed spaces for learning. The word ‘institution’ does no longer fit well with the way that contemporary educational spaces are designed or function. The word sounds sterile, contaminated and restrictive. Instead, the spaces designed for education today, are more than just schools or indeed ‘educational institutions. They function, for many, as a home away from home, sometimes even as a respite from the norm, becoming a community in itself. School activities challenge and enhance understanding of the outside world, through viewpoints (mental and visual) and encourage vistas out into the landscape beyond, that important connection, of community, of place.

Much later in life we may still see, feel and sense the school we went to – the sounds from the playground, the echoes in the corridors, the classrooms, the laughter, the tears, the footsteps, even the materials, colours and textures and.. that light. It is clear from the projects here, that local history, materials, surrounding landscape and stories are a big part of design decisions. Today’s design brief and pedagogy is about inclusion, everyone matters, letting children and young people have a voice and even take part in some decision making about the spaces that are, ultimately, designed for them.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2021


  • Learning spaces
  • school design
  • C3
  • Korea
  • Architecture


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