Alan Ford talks exclusively to WAN about the challenges facing school design in the 21st century.
Architecture and the K-12 learning experience
There was a period in architecture some 80 years ago when the K-12 school had an architectural richness that commanded a presence within its community. The architecture was consistent with the importance of the activity it housed. Today countless K-12 school facilities are built merely for basic functional accommodation with little in the way of architectural merit, enhanced learning capability or environmental responsibility.
There are many inherent challenges in designing a K-12 school today that may contribute to this underperformance. The life expectancy of a new school facility is anywhere from 50 to 100 years while educational teaching strategies are changing with much more regularity. Architects are often faced with trying to satisfy the immediate programmatic requirements while still attempting to design a facility that will stand the test of time. Compounding this process is what are often very limited budgets. In the United States most K-12 public school projects are funded through the sell of bonds voted on by the general public. In order to ......
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Main image: Aspen Middle School (Studio B & Hutton Ford Architects)
Thumbnails from left to right: Dawson Lower School (Hutton Ford Architects), Aspen Middle School (Studio B & Hutton Ford), Kent Denver School (Astro-metric Lab), East High School (George Williamson Architect) & images 5-6 Willow Barn School (Farewell Mills Gatsch Architects).