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The School and its Architecture in this new Epoch

By Alexandre Marques Pereira, Senior Partner and Architect

“The coronavirus has shown us in a painful way that humanity is a single organism” Arvo Pärt (1)

The teaching and learning process, methodology, structures, and architectures have, in the last century changed in all stages of education from kindergarten to high-school. It has endured many crises, global and local and with each it has gone through many advances, setbacks and diverse transformations.

The school, its modern pedagogies and its materialization have, like with other aspects of society been shaped by previous global crises and, it was during these times that the primary advances in practical pedagogy happened. During these global crises, most notably with the great war and the second world war, there was time, space and opportunity to build upon theoretical thinking that had been developed by educators, architects, sociologists and by many others, adapting what had already been through to the new circumstances.

Once again the schools will be forced to re-adapt, still thinking aslearning spaces, now even more fixable, but also as a “house and a city”, to this new Epoch, that has dramatically taken over the whole world. With this, we must think of how these spaces can harbor the new and old teaching methods but also how it can incorporate collaborative and creative thinking with new technologies, in the aftermath of the situation that teachers and students find themselves in all over the world.

Just like how the dwelling has transformed and adapted for better or for worse for the short term use, or not, to workspaces that encourage sharing and learning, schools will also need to transform and adapt to the “house” which is healthier, more comfortable, has abundant natural light, has natural ventilation and is versatile for different times and activities including spaces to learn, to play, to create bonds, to eat, to rest, to run, to read, to interact, in the sun or the shade, inside, outside or in-between spaces.

In summary, schools and their architecture, just like other spaces, buildings and the citys where we all live, need to take this opportunity to rethink, re-program and re-adapt giving continuity to good practices, now adapted, and above all, leaving behind the numerous existing formalistic and normative corsets, that many times have blocked the realization of new practices, in the making of new spaces, more flexibly and thought to hold new possibilities, innovative, creative, assertive, admittedly contemporary and adapted to the new Times and this new Epoch.

(1) By Estonian World / April 13, 2020 / 4 minutes of reading

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