Traditional, one-note educational environments just don’t have the same impact as they used to, not when architects and designers are upping the ante with inspiring classrooms like these.
For the Forest School in Pune, India, a city three hours outside of Mumbai that has seen rapid growth over the last decade (and an inevitable rise in pollution),Mumbai-based architecture firm Nudes has responded to the city’s poor air quality by centering the design on five wellness pillars: Grow, Learn, Reuse, Plant, and Play.
Nudes won a competition for the project because of such thoughtful elements as a plant-laden vertical forest facade that helps purify the surrounding, contaminated air as well as a basement that houses a swimming pool and tennis courts. On the rooftop, students revel in the outdoors on an infinity-shaped cycling track that links the school’s two towers.
In Fujian, China, the Poan Education Center, designed by local firm Panda Office, reinforces the idea of independent learning and reflects Dutch educator Jef Van Kuyk’s Piramide Approach to Learning, which promotes the natural development of self-management in children.
A once-cramped commercial space, the single-story kindergarten is comprised of 10 cylinders of different sizes that encourage exploration, free play, and the strengthening of spatial cognition. Some of these strewn cylinders are outfitted with acrylic glass, allowing students to observe the space from different angles.
The classrooms, including a flexible two-way room that emphasizes interactions with teachers, are just as unconventional and are separated by large arc-shaped glass lighting areas that increase transparency.
“There [are] no fixed teaching materials or a single teaching method, so educators can communicate with children more openly,” says Panda Office’s chief designer JC Lin. “What we could do is influence the educational industry and expand the influence. This speed might be slow, but it will eventually [move] toward brightness.”
A version of this article was originally published by Hospitality Design.