In an unpredictable and constantly changing reality where adaptability becomes a super-power in order to thrive, the classroom renovation aimed to offer a flexible and friendly environment for the little ones. Our goal as architects was to create a student-centered space able to encourage personal development and collaboration.
In order to achieve this, there were 3 fundamental principles on which the classroom renovation was developed.
1. Rethinking the furniture
The traditional desks have been given a twist, by considering the need to move around, adapt and interact with each other while feeling at ease. On the one hand, the student desks have been replaced with flexible working stations that can be easily configured in multiple geometries that encourage working individually, in pairs or small groups. On the other hand, the teacher’s desk has been turned into a smart sitting/ standing station which can seamlessly blend in within the classroom in a friendly way as a facilitator rather than a patronizing figure. All furniture has been carefully designed to be accessible to children in a comfortable way, paying careful consideration to the age-size ratio.
2. Student-centered classroom
The focus has been shifted from the teacher-centered learning environment – where learning happens one way (from teacher to student only) – towards a student-centered one by allowing the learning process to be an immersive one with multiple ways of learning. In the end learning is most efficient when everyone can learn from everyone. This has been mainly achieved by the furniture layouts and ability to create different zonings according to the type of activities going on.
3. 360-degree interaction
We considered the 360-interaction as a fundamental feature that every 21st century classrooms should provide. In other words, there is no more “front of the class” or “back of the class”, but a global space where learning can happen. Therefore, two main full-height walls have been turned into writing surfaces, while another wall, turned into an indoor stand (seating steps) provided with soft cushions and mobile writing tablets, can accommodate a story-telling area in an informal seating layout. The freestanding magnetic whiteboard can be moved around and flipped over anywhere is needed. As part of the learning process, a full metal mesh surface has been designed for pinning up quotes, ideas, schedules, student work or anything worth sharing.
The interior design of education spaces carries a great responsibility for actively contributing to the learning process. Having this in mind, the “A classroom like home” project avoided excessive decorations and contrasting chromatics just for the sake of a “cheerful” space. Instead, we chose to be the promoters of educational spaces that offer students the freedom of expression and growth. The classroom design tends to be one of the main supporters of student self-confidence by providing a variety of learning environments adapted to each type of personality. The superpower of the classroom enters the scene when each student can build upon their own topics of interest and grow harmoniously as part of a community.
This classroom’s project is aimed for a class zero from Apostolache School, Prahova and is part of “A classroom like home” project developed by Procter & Gamble in collaboration this year with our design studio. For the fourth consecutive year, we can see that transforming education in Romania is within our reach.