In a bid to support creative and independent learning in the outdoors, Glasgow-based architectural practice O’DonnellBrown has designed and built a prototype for a Community Classroom that can be assembled, adapted and dismounted in a cinch. Completed for just £10,000 (roughly $11,278), the entirely self-initiated project is based on a kit of parts that was developed using standard structural timber section sizes that make up the skeletal frame. The use of plywood modules empowers the classroom’s users to easily reconfigure the space to suit a diverse range of activities.

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a green outdoor space with a wooden, box-like structure set up

Stripped down to a simple plywood skeletal frame, the minimalist Community Classroom combines function with beautiful architectural expression. The prototype, which was completed in September 2019 in Glasgow, measures 24 square meters of gross internal space but can be easily expanded thanks to its modular system. The Community Classroom kit comes with an easy-to-follow construction manual and can also be equipped with modules for seating, shelving, worktops and presentation surfaces.

two images: to the left, a rectangular side of the Community Classroom, surrounded by trees. to the right, a partially obscured view of the Community Classroom, surrounded by greenery.

“The classroom is intended to promote and support creative and independent learning in a healthy, versatile and fun environment,” a Community Classroom press release stated. “It has been designed in line with the Curriculum for Excellence and the National Improvement Framework, to facilitate inclusive learning and mental wellbeing.” Sponsors and stakeholders, including the RIAS and Saint-Gobain, have provided material and technical support for the project. 

Related: A modular classroom for environmental education pops up in a Barcelona park

the outdoor Community Classroom lit up from the inside, with a shadowy human figure walking in front of it

True to its name, the Community Classroom was developed alongside the community, including the national children’s charity Barnado’s Works, which helped connect young volunteers to the project. The Community Classroom has hosted community-based workshops and events, including a craft workshop by local community center Nan McKay Hall. This project will continue to host events by a diverse range of users in the future as part of its mission to raise the bar for outdoor learning opportunities.

+ O’DonnellBrown

Images © Ross Campbell