JACK IN THE BOX
Open Architecture Competition | 2009
When we opted to design a Modular Relocatable Classroom we had in mind a mobile and flexible module that could be used worldwide. Therefore, we conducted our surveys in different schools so we can get a more broad idea of the end users.
Conducting students’ surveys was a lot of fun and very inspiring in defining our brief. Their collaboration emphasized to us their interest in creating and taking ownership of their teaching and learning environment.
The linear arrangement of the desks in the classroom was not appreciated as it created a rigid environment for them. Most of the students preferred flexible desk arrangements.
When we asked the students to describe their dream classroom, there was a desire to create a more fun and imaginary world. For example, some students imagined the classroom could be like a little garden, having fish in bowls or tanks, birds flying….
The discussion with the teachers and the principals as well was very beneficial.
Experimentation through workshops
Teachers and principals were as of the opinion that students learned better with experimentation. One example was of a teacher using all the senses as actually tasting, smelling, hearing and feeling different elements in a series of workshops was more conducive of creative writing. As an example one of the first workshop was to blind fold the students and place in their mouth food so they can describe the taste. All the students loved these workshops. They found them a lot of fun.
Natural sunlight and ventilation
Most teachers felt the same in regard of the openness, the fresh air and natural light of the built environment as it is more supportive of creating exciting learning experiences.
We were surprised to find that many schools had to rely on using relocatable classrooms while renovating existing classrooms or when the numbers of students increased in some year levels. Some of the relocatable classrooms becomes permanent (if purchased not hired) due to the increase in population or were cheaper to keep than to build new.