How do you teach children to grow flowers in the desert?

James
Friday 17 Feb 2012

Perkins+Will design new school in Kuwait as a 'learning laboratory'

The 21st century school understands that learning extends beyond class-based instruction and includes a robust program of direct hands-on engagement. The Kuwait Teaching School functions as both a K-12 school and a teaching environment for the University students at the nearby School of Education.

The client wished for an innovative educational environment that encouraged experimentation in teaching. In response, Perkins+Will intensively programmed the outdoor spaces both at grade and atop the school’s landscaped roofs for use by both students and teachers in a non-classroom setting: laboratories, gardens, observatories and play spaces – a series of active learning environments meant to supplement ‘abstract’ class-based learning in ways that cannot be duplicated in conventional educational settings.

Kuwait sits at one end of the historic Fertile Crescent – the so-called 'Cradle of Civilisation' that gave rise to settled agricultural societies. Today, as over the last two millennia, soil fertility risks continued decline owing to a combination of neglect and unsustainable practices.

Through guided action – led by education in sustainable stewardship practices, many of which we have programmed into both the buildings’ roofs and the schools’ curricula – it is possible for the Kuwaitis to learn viable strategies that could ultimately help to recapture some of the agricultural potency that their ancestors enjoyed – the very same strategies that allow such a rich educational landscape to thrive in the desert.

Key Facts:

Architecture
Kuwait
Education

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