Several months ago, Architecture for Humanity, in partnership with Orient Global, put designers all around the world to the test in their 2009 Open Architecture Challenge for the Classroom of the Future. The mission? Address the unique issues that schools everywhere are facing in order to provide innovative, cost-effective and sustainable learning spaces for students. Over 400 entries were submitted and the winners were just announced this week. Read on for our overview of the top 5 winning designs!
Challenge Winner: Teton Valley Community School
Designed by Section Eight [design], Victor, Idaho, USA
The Teton Valley Community School in Idaho is a unique collaborative school that needs additional and adaptable space. The design for the new school done by Section Eight incorporates sustainable construction, interactive outdoor space, gardens, recycled and eco-friendly materials, and efficient heating and cooling systems. This winning design will receive $50,000 towards the construction of the new buildings, and the designers will receive $5,000 to help implement the design. Upon completion, the Teton Valley Community School will not only serve as a place of education, but will teach students about sustainability as well.
Founders’ Award: The Corporacion Educativa y Social Waldorf
Designed by Arquitectura Justa, Bogota, Colombia
The Corporación Educativa y Social Waldorf (Waldorf Educational and Social Corporation) is a local NGO that provides educational opportunities to 200 children and youth free of charge. In designing a school to accommodate ever increasing enrollments, the space is unwalled with a central terrace to act as an open-air classroom, and in each room a bench surrounds the classroom to seat overflow. The building itself is infused with natural daylight and constructed from natural materials with a strong focus on sustainable design.
Best Urban Classroom Upgrade Design: Rumi School of Excellence
Designed by IDEO, San Francisco, CA, USA
This New Jiya Community School is a place of education that teaches students the basics as well as how to be a successful member of society. The innovative classroom model and internet cafe, innovation lab and community rooms for adult education encourage entrepreneurial ideas. The classroom setup is airy and makes use of multi-tiered desks, reconfigurable walls, and open doors to the hallway to give students more space.
Best Rural Classroom Design: Building Tomorrow Academy
Designed by Gifford LLP, London, UK
This rural classroom design can be used for various community needs and provides flexible learning spaces, including a teacher’s annex and folding doors that allow the room to adapt to the needs of the class. The building will be constructed from local materials using local labor and can serve as a building block for future expansions into a school campus. Passive solar design, natural ventilation and rainwater collection are the major sustainable design elements.
Best Re-locatable Classroom Design: Druid Hills High School
Designed by Perkins and Will, Georgia, USA
Temporary classrooms have become a norm in most US schools to accommodate increased enrollment, but most of these classrooms are not energy efficient and constructed of poor materials. The PeaPoD is a portable and modular building constructed from affordable materials, offering daylight, natural ventilation, solar energy, rainwater collection and sustainable materials. Inside slideable walls provide breakout learning space, storage, teaching surfaces and more to adapt to the changing needs of teachers and students.