Process of thinking for making a space in architecture of educational buildings, is mostly impacted by collective thinking around scale, density and program. Breaking down large scale things to smaller pieces is probably one of the most and oldest living techniques use by human being. Scale in the cities is not an exemption. As a basic rule, usually, the cities are divided to towns, to counties, to districts and to blocks so that management becomes feasible in human scale of city life. Based on density of cities, the infrastructure is distributed to blocks in forms of utilities, sewerage, transport, health and education. So, the policy makers can decide, how many schools are needed in cities for what age group of citizens. And based on specific needs of a nation, school courses and programs are designed to be thought in schools. Yet, the reality is that the educational buildings in different specifics and numbers become home for students, teachers and admins for a period of life where knowledge and training are preparing kids for their future lives. Our focus is on what the specifics of architecture for educational buildings are and how they can help to satisfy current and future needs?
For us schools are some smaller forms of societies that will form in coming decades. Kids in schools, as part of the future public, will live and learn their lives to help their nations to grow. We are not in a position to distinguish a prototype. In fact, the spread of impact of schools may become so vast, that trying to make it an example to be applied universally will seem to be waste of time and effort. Instead, in our practice, we focus on what specifics are needed to a particular site with its people in an educational program. The reason for this is the evolving nature of education itself and its local relation to culture of living in societies. With no doubt, the quality and form of education in years 1920, 1940, 1980, 2000 and even 2010 has been significantly different to what we have in 2020 in any city or town or district that you think. This is what makes education a unique operation. It changes based on need of human being to its location, time and needs. The complexity adds on, if we consider the fact that schools provide the basic knowledge for so many fields of science, art, agriculture, healthcare, finance, engineering and so many other sections where the countries and the world are being operated. So, besides scale and density, program is the other challenge.
Connection and continuity in educational program as a whole in a city are two key factors in enhancing educational system. It is important that the teacher finds enough time to work with all of his or her students. So, the classes are better not to be overwhelmingly packed with students to establish proper connections in educational system. Understanding this fact will help us in addressing challenges for architecture of educational building. It characterizes the specificities of the space in architecture and increases the speed and the quality in learning. In order to have a connective and continuous environment, the building needs to have dualities at the same time to create adoptable, flexible and dubious spaces. Open areas besides closed spaces, temporary rooms besides permanent classes, fixed structures besides portable parts in addition to so many other paradigms in architecture of educational spaces will help to answer the needs of students in more appropriate terms. Besides adoptability, flexibility and wondering nature of architectural specifics in educational buildings, schools require to have some spaces in need of natural lights while, in contrary, some other spaces in need of not having natural light. Teaching classes and chemistry labs are perfect examples for the former and the latter, respectively. Indeed, flow of access in addition to scale of the building for density of students is key factors in designing educational buildings. For instance, schools with students of various age groups may need a different structure in building than a school that is hosting students with only one certain group of age. Our practice thinks about current and future needs of educational buildings. Nobody came back from future yet, however, we can learn from our experiences in the past to current. We can choose strategies that will help in future to the growth and success of schools. Expandability and physical growth of educational building in size is the factor that helps to improve learning standards during the time for coming years. This is very essential for schools and universities who do well in terms of supplying educational demands for local students and plan to accept applicants from other cities or countries, which will help to grow their economic impact for the institute in smaller scale and for the city in broader look. This expansion happens in vertical direction, allowing zoning ordinances of course, for institutes within crowded cities surrounded by buildings, and in horizontal direction for institutes outside dense structure of cities within their campus with available buildable surface on ground. Buying neighboring buildings and connecting them to current institutes with conversion is another form of horizontal growth in less dense growing sections of cities.
The architectural characteristics of spaces in educational projects are as complex as the schools’ characteristics for programmatic, scale and density parameters related to culture, economy, society, history, environment, climate, politics and management of a city. The architectural complexities in educational projects are not only dealing with responding to a function and a program, but also require particular design techniques to accommodate flexibility, adoptability and experimentation while operating well at presence of a crowd.
We at Tabe Shouri, are interested in dynamics of teaching and learning qualities and the growth opportunities of educational institutes that can be achieved by simple, result oriented and functioning architectural solutions. We believe that educational buildings have to be healthy, strong and appealing to comfort of their occupants. Our vision is that schools’ designs are critical as they can shape success or failure of future adults in their lives. They are the most important of public spaces where human being is getting skills and expertise to have a life in future. Based on culture, economy, society, environment and climate of a specific site, the building design for an educational organization will differ. Learning from our schooling experiences in three different continents with differences in culture, economy, social values, environmental and climate types, we are able to identify the needs and propose appropriate solutions for better lives of educational buildings for their occupants and their current and future operations.