Finland is well known for its innovative, personalized education system that is regarded among the best in the world. Now the country is also giving attention to the school buildings themselves, and how they could better engage young learners. Of note is the Saunalahti school in the city of Espoo. The fluid space designed by Verstas Architects looks more like a contemporary art space than a basic, if not dreary, brick and mortar public school building. All of the elements are purposefully designed in order to create a more positive learning experience for both children and the community.
The school’s atmosphere, both inside and outside, is one of a warm welcome and connection with nature. The large windows mean that students need not feel disconnected or far from the outdoors. The brickwork was intentionally arranged in different building methods and in random patterns to help encourage the children’s learning. Each hallway is a distinct color, to help avoid getting lost. Notably absent are any fences.The unconventional learning space lends itself toward the inclusive, collaborative approach Finland’s education system is well known for.
Across this 10,500 square meters of the school, students are invited to have open discussions, and sit comfortably as they choose. The cafeteria, shared by both teachers and students, doubles as a theater. The school’s open spaces are intentional-to inspire students to walk around and engage with one another. The school also plays a role in the wider community, and is open to all citizens of the community after school hours.
The overall affect is one of learning without walls. The school, thanks to its design, sets a tone for students to thrive.
Via Arch Daily