Students and design/consulting company Ecosistema Urbano worked together to design this futuristic, outdoor, sustainable classroom created in Columbus, Indiana. The project, called CLOUDROOM, is a bioclimatic design for an outdoor classroom. It’s an installation that aims to inspire a rethink of educational spaces and raise awareness about today’s climate crisis.

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A teacher and students sitting on red yoga balls under the cloud-like structure.

CLOUDROOM is an inflatable space that floats over a wood foundation. The classroom offers a shady and breezy outdoor learning area for students. Blowers inflate the canopy and generate a natural breeze to ventilate the space and push hot air upward on warm days. Filters purify the air that enters CLOUDROOM.

Related: These bioclimatic student dorms use low-cost, sustainable materials

A tunnel of words leading up to an open skyhole during the day.

“The architectural qualities of the CLOUDROOM evoke elements of classical architecture such as the dome and oculus, becoming a spatial experience from a minimal material structure,” wrote Ecosistema Urbano

The cloud-like structure lit up white at night.

The internal walls of the CLOUDROOM are covered by words from the 1992 U.N. Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and a survey of the school’s students about their concerns, hopes and dreams for the future. The exterior face features a pattern of native, endangered maple trees.

The cloud-like structure lit up blue and purple at night.

CLOUDROOM is more than a classroom. Even its lighting systems raise awareness of climate challenges. The lighting scheme represents Earth’s climate change over the past century, coded by color to reflect rising temperatures, deforestation and rising CO2 levels. This information on the last 120 years is transformed into color codes that feed the three LED light levels.

The cloud-like structure lit up red at night.

As a press release about CLOUDROOM states, “The lighting raises awareness among the space’s users about climate change and our shared responsibility in affecting its course.”

A tunnel of words lit up purple at night.

The structure is made of printed fabric and wood that will be reused and recycled once the installation is dismantled. The canopy has yoga balls placed beneath the stilt foundation, which serve as furniture that allows users to interact with the space in various ways. CLOUDROOM can be used not only for learning but also for recreation and community programs.

+ Ecosistema Urbano

Photography by Hadley Fruits