The proposed school within the University of Newcastle occupies vacant buildings on campus historically known as Arts & special education buildings. The selection of the site is a response to both urban planning and social planning. Having a primary school at the university allows more women to access education or work at the university. And as response to the Universities decision to close the arts faculty, the school will have an intensive arts program embedded in.
In my proposal I focus on the school’s external and internal play areas, such as playgrounds and rooftops, to create playful spaces for children to prompt their learning experience and create a fun journey.
The fundamental idea relies on learning by discovery and children’s innocent curiosity. My school design philosophy focuses on the victim of the pedagogical system THE ARTS & SPORTS, two essential subjects to children education that encourages children to use both their creativity and activity by using all parts of their bodies, learning by playing, discovering as they interact with friends, buildings and the landscape.
My architecture intends to challenge the pedagogical system and teaching style to insight and promote change in the schooling system enlightened by a series of questions such as grouping children in patches based on age and not their interest or ability and the use of materials or colours in schools.
In my design approach, I challenge the pedagogical system by considering the little things that matter to create a creative space for children that are artistic, mindful, and focus on children needs using elements such as light, materials, colour, play areas, adaptable open spaces, and noise to waken up the children to what they have inside them.
Allowing external noise to flow through the building is a method to reduce children distractions and increase children’ interaction with their learning material; I use architectural elements to do that by having large openings and
connecting spaces directly to the outside.
I blur the boundaries between the inside and outside using circulation spaces, materiality and landscape. One method was breaking the circulation space into multiple wider platforms and shifting them indoors and the garden beds inside to create an easy on the eye transition between indoor and outdoor.
Opening spaces and allow for a seamless transition between enclosed and open space’s using lightweight wall partitions and other forms of spaces such as curved or bumpy walls rather than flat walls. The arrangement of spaces challenges the current grouping of children process and make it harder for the pedagogical system to operate in its traditional method. Classrooms are no longer viewed as classrooms; instead, they are large study areas divided into smaller spaces or open to the outdoor courtyards allowing the spaces to transform from an internal quite space to an open space connected to the landscape dependent on the user and the user’s requirement.
The interior form does not have to be the consequence of the exterior. For example, the ceiling reflects the roof, or the inner wall face must reflect the external wall face. As one approaches the building from the outside, the building will have the same architectural language as the university though a little more playful and exciting; however, the space unfolds and presents its beauty as one enters the building. Simple and strategic architectural elements are used to enhance children’s school journey. Learning from nature the celling is a set of panels treated acoustically and create a freeform sculpture that will hover above while the walls will have materials reflecting their purpose. For example, timber treated wall is used in spaces to reduce active energy and indicate to the user of the space change and approaching a study area, and earthy material walls are used on the edge of the building to blur the boundaries.