At Tangram Interiors, we often find ourselves running around school corridors. Why? Not because we are trying to get to our next class, but we are avidly seeking out how space affects pedagogy. Space matters. Coupled with great teachers, awesome students, and a space that inspires learning, amazing things can happen in a classroom. By looking at how students interact with space in a school setting, we can creatively formulate new creative solutions to dynamically impact educational design in practice.
Recent research in educational Architecture design theory suggests that space and pedagogy are intimately related, and this relationship is actively evolving. We believe everything is space and everything in education revolves around space — from the way water fountains are distributed in a traditional school building, the materials used in teachers’ desks, to how school libraries store and provide access to their learning resources.
The popular misconception about architecture is that an architect’s job is to make sure the building does not fall down once it is completed. While we agree that the integrity of the building to stay in place is crucial, we realize that we only get one opportunity to build a building just right. That’s right. While we want an educational building to not only look good, achieve its function, but also it must promote learning. Once it’s up and running, we cannot go back and tweak it.
Good design starts at the beginning of the process. It needs the following”
1. Flexible to Meet the Needs of the School
- The space has to conform to the needs of students (not the other way around. For example, instead of having a library space with fixed shelves, in multimodal space, librarians can modify the learning environment to address students’ needs.
2. Adaptable to Different Learning Styles
- Current trends in education theory suggest that students learn better when they feel they are in control of their own learning process. Student-centered learning, when mapped onto a space that encourages collaboration, is a way in which educational spaces can adapt to innovations in understanding how students reach academic success.
3. Multimodal Learning Spaces
- Education does not just happen on a chalkboard or letters written on butcher paper. Today’s classrooms are multimodal. This means they must be equipped to not only handle the teachers’ desk and student learning spaces, but also educational technology, play spaces, and personalized centers of learning. In terms of how we design a classroom, we’ve come a long way since the invention of the chalkboard.
If you are interested in learning how to couple your school’s educational needs with good design practice, feel free to contact us to discuss the relationship between architecture and pedagogy.