UK architects' approach to designing schools

Sandra Christine Horne
1998, Vol. 3, No. 2,


What do architects think when designing schools? How do they approach the problem of designing a learning environment? What understanding do they have of the educational process? There are many questions concerning school design and what approaches best identify the important elements when designing a school. This study explores the ways in which designers understand and influence learning environments. Architects providing specialist design services in educational settings were interviewed using a serni-structured forrnat. Project files were analysed as case studies to illustrate the reality of designing a school. This study recognises and explores the critical role of the designer as a rnediator of the requirements of regulators (government- Department of Education) and users (teachers). It emerges that procedural elernents of design are influenced by the values and educational understanding of the participants as well as by the regulations and approvals process. It is a role of great responsibility and can be a deciding factor in the success of the educational setting. Knowledge of what happens and how the school design systern is organised gives both designers and anyone related to designing a classroom a greater awareness of learning spaces.

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