[RE]LEARN 2020 - The Learning Innovation Festival has ended
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Monday, November 9 • 15:45 - 16:00
Architecture for Education: Progressive Pedagogy in the Built Environment

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The topic of space and environment is often neglected in discussions of pedagogy and alternative models of education. Across the world our understanding of education is developing rapidly, yet predominant school architecture has experienced only superficial changes in aesthetic and technology; the fundamental spatial elements of classroom, playground and corridor have remained widely unchanged for two hundred years. Education necessitates a culture of critical reflection and dynamic self-improvement, this attitude is reflected in festivals such as [RE]LEARN 2020, but this same culture is not reflected in the production of our schools. Having worked in an architecture practice which specialises in schools, I have been able to glimpse behind the curtain and understand how our schools are designed. The truth is that the majority of the process is an exercise in cutting costs in order to fulfil building regulations which often play little role in improving the quality of education for students.

The talk I’m proposing aims to highlight the rigidity of our policies on school design and how they limit the ability of architects and educators to collaborate and create new, inspiring spaces for students to learn within. There are a number of examples which show what might be achieved if architects and educators are allowed the freedom to collaborate and imagine new school typologies, Fuji Kindergarten in Tokyo, High Tech High in the US and a number of other schools have incorporated school design as a key component of the curriculum and a significant contributor to students’ education. My hope is that attendees of this talk will come away with an improved understanding of how architecture and space influences education and challenge their own assumptions on how a school or classroom should work and function. The school should be an active catalyst for learning, not just a passive container.

avatar for Charlie Edmonds

Charlie Edmonds

Design Researcher at the University of Cambridge, University of Cambridge
Charlie is a design researcher from the University of Cambridge. His master's thesis, Void Pedagogy, explores the intersection of progressive pedagogy and urban design in Tokyo. His work on architecture for progressive education has been featured by The Charette, Dezeen, and the Cambridge... Read More →

Monday November 9, 2020 15:45 - 16:00 CET