A junior high could activate a child’s learning experience?
Education in the 21st century requires flexible space, allowing teachers to vary their instruction methods to develop a variety of life skills in each of their students. In one day a student may work in a lab group in science class, participate in a discussion of the relationship between their social studies and English lesson, join a school-wide assembly and be taught a math lesson in a small group; a school must be able to facilitate these types of learning activities.
Garage doors allow each classroom to spill into the common space when open, while facilitating full visual supervision of the commons when the doors are closed.
“The glass garage door allows me to differentiate my instruction in a way that a room with four concrete walls does not allow. I lift the garage door and meet just outside it with small groups of students; meanwhile, within the classroom, the rest of the class is engaged in individual work. The open garage door means I can hear what's going on in the room and easily turn and see the students as well.”
—Kelly A. Hart, Language Arts/Reading and Geography Teacher
“Students in classrooms with the most daylight did 20 percent better on math tests and 26 percent better on reading tests than students at the same school in classrooms with the least amount of natural light.”*
original South JH, a windowless building
*Cooper, Kenneth. "Study Says Natural Classroom Lighting Can Aid Achievement." Washington Post 26 Nov 1999, A14. Print
The design process began with a charrette to explore the interaction between built form and light on the site.
The concept of building as vertebrae emerged. A series of loosely connected boxes, similar to vertebrae, contain all programmatic functions, while the interstitial spaces create light-filled commons.