Wednesday, 3 November 2010

A Space for Learning

Here's a Design Week event that's so cool it needs its own post. A Space for Learning is an exhibition marking the end of a design competition run by the Irish Architecture Foundation, and the beginning of a much-needed discussion on how we design our schools and learning spaces. Last winter the IAF placed 120 architects in 90 schools around the country to begin a collaborative design process regarding the spaces we learn in, and now ten winners display their work in NCAD Gallery from Thursday 4th November until January 2011 before beginning a national tour.

The exhibited projects explore a number of ideas such as learning outdoors, finding new uses for in-between or underutilised spaces, improving social and recreational spaces, tracing movements through school buildings, and creating variety in how you accomodate for the individual as well as the class/community. One of the designs, an intervention in a courtyard in Mercy College, Coolock, has actually been realised (a model of which is pictured below), but just as important as a tangible result like that is the impact it can have on its participants and the way they view and experience their environments. It must also have been a wonderful opportunity for the architects involved to gain a better understanding of the needs of their end-users - the students. An inspiring project like this is certain to leave an impact long after the exhibition gets taken down from its last venue.