Designing Classrooms for our New Junior School
As part of our Engineering Programme, over 40 students took part in an architecture workshop last Friday afternoon with Hawkins\Brown, architects for our new Junior School Building.
The students had already made a site visit to the new Junior School building earlier in March to see the space. In the weeks leading up to Friday students were tasked with planning their ideas for a classroom for a form of up to 20 students. They shared their ideas and put together a written and visual brief in response to the school’s requirements, which could be a mixture of text, pictures and diagrams.
Things they had to consider for their classroom designs included:
Vision statement – short description of the school’s aspiration and aims
Rooms and spaces – type of room required; what are you doing in the classroom?
Functional requirements – practical elements of a building or space that allow the desired activity to take place.
Occupancy and sizes – users and how much space they need to do the desired activity
What sits next to what? – important connections between uses
Atmosphere / feeling of building
The groups then created mini models of their designs out of paper and card, from a music classroom (including clever instrument storage and an adaptable stage for performances), general classroom and an art room.
Thank you to Hawkins\Brown for giving us a valuable insight into the life of an architect and design planning.
Here’s what Year 10 Journalist Leader Anika S took from the day:
On March 24th, a range of students from the senior school were given the fantastic chance to work with architects and engineers to design classrooms for the upcoming junior school building.
The workshop started with a brainstorming session, in which we were given a grid to plan out our designs. We were placed into tables of around six people and were encouraged to work together to share and form ideas of what we wanted to make. We discussed various aspects of the classroom, ranging from the general shape, to storage, number of windows and seating arrangements. This was a crucial part of the session, as collaborating with others plays a major role in the design process. We were then asked to draw the layout of our classrooms onto the grid. This would form the base of our 3D models. The drawing was surprisingly time consuming, as it had to be accurate, and we had to figure out the correct proportions and scale of the tables, doors, windows, walls and everything else. Thankfully, we were provided with cardboard cut-outs of people on wheelchairs (to gauge the size of the tables) and people who were standing (to gauge the size of the doors and walls). This was especially helpful after lunch, when we were starting to form our 3D models.
The process of building the models was a little bit chaotic. We were not quite aware of the huge task ahead of us and most teams ended up falling short of time, as none of us predicted the sheer difficulty of making card models. Cutting out and making objects balanced, was very time consuming, and led to many teams handing in half completed rooms. However, this experience taught us a lot about the importance of planning and not immediately jumping into a project, even if it was just a 3D model. I think it was a very beneficial experience, one that challenged us to be creative and use our problem-solving skills.
Although it was sad to see a building with so many memories demolished, the rebuilding of the junior school gives us a great opportunity to learn and explore the different aspects of both engineering and architecture. The excitement, freedom and creativity that the new building allows us is undoubtedly worth it!