What is in this article?:
- 21st-Century Learning Q&A
- Freese and Nichols, Inc.
- HMFH Architects, Inc.
- Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood
- The Estopinal Group
- SHW Group LLP
- MKC Associates, Inc.
- Selser Schaefer Architects
- DLR Group
- Fred Quinn & Associates
- Rowland Design
- Bond Wolfe Architects
- College of Business Administration, University of Nebraska at Omaha
- Dober Lidsky Mathey
- HHSDR Architects/Engineers
- Dougherty + Dougherty Architects LLP
- Earl Swensson
- TMP Architecture, Inc.
- Clark Nexsen Architecture & Engineering
- The Collaborative Inc.
- Perkins Eastman
Architects comment on the latest innovations in designing for future learning, as well as how design can support these trends.
Bond Wolfe Architects
Susan Pruchnicki, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, Principal
What are the latest ideas/innovations in designing to support 21st-century learning?
The latest ideas in design to support 21st-century learning include the creation of spaces that foster creativity, innovation and self-expression. Understanding the importance of these skills in the workplace is a guiding factor for designing spaces that foster learning. The new learning environments are exciting and inviting, but service as a blank canvas to the creativity of the users. From informal performance spaces throughout the building, to areas for impromptu presentations and gatherings, the creation of a variety of settings for students to use in a variety of manners is essential in supporting 21st-century learning.
How can the built environment support emerging trends in education?
The built environment needs to be agile in order to allow for emerging trends in education. As educational delivery continues to change, the building needs to be flexible and agile to change with it. The inclusion of a variety of settings is paramount in allowing agility. From large spaces to small spaces to formal areas and informal nooks, the ability to create and change these needs to reside in the hands of the students and teachers.
Other attributes, such as daylighting, acoustics and flexible furniture need to be in sync with this mantra of agility. In the end, the whole needs to be greater than the sum of its parts.
What are some design trends in specialized classrooms or programs to support future learning styles/methods?
Design trends that support learning styles embrace the need for a variety of settings as well. The ability to control light and sound, the ability to meet in spaces that are not considered a traditional classroom and the ability to work alone, without supervision are essential to the correct design with learning style in mind. The use of movable walls and screens is becoming much more prevalent in schools, as they allow rooms to change without much effort. New technologies in lighting systems allow for areas of the rooms to be dimmed, while others remain brightly lighted, allowing for light to become the defining tool for a variety of settings.
How is technology for today's learning affecting school design?
Technology is being used as a tool, not a crutch, and as such it is integrated and transparent. Mobility in technology means no need for computer labs or computer areas in classrooms, but it does mean the need for charging areas throughout the building. School design can build on this need, by creating gathering areas that provide power as needed, and that enable collaboration and discussion.
Any other thoughts on designing for 21st-century schools?
21st-century schools should be exciting, sustainable facilities where walls are blurred, both in reality and digitally. 21st-century schools should elicit creativity with wide, open areas for discovery, small quiet spaces for personal exploration and understanding, and filled with activities/items/views/systems/materials that inspire and motivate. They should also be a safe, homeaway from home, where threats are minimized and a collaborative society is encouraged.