Architecture and its relationship to its users have a significant influence on life and activities within the built environment. This poses a particular challenge with regard to public buildings such as schools, which have to accommodate the needs of many different people in order to provide them with the best possible environment to support their performance.
In this book, following a brief overview of the historical development of school buildings in different countries, contributions from international experts discuss how school buildings can work together with users' own creative responses and result in educational environments that are "alive." The give-and-take relationship between architecture and its users (students, teachers, parents, and the community at large) is emphasised from the point of view of architectural psychology and emerging considerations such as information technology. The "schools for the future" vision is to create spaces that people are pleased to return to, time and again, and that allow options for future modification in line with changing user requirements.
Criteria for the assessment of schools are derived from a dual approach. The first is the call for a common language to be used by designers and educators, exemplified by a number of patterns that have been found to be salient in school design. Their common underlying premise is that learning environments should be learner-centered, appropriate to age and developmental stage, safe, comfortable, accessible, flexible, and equitable, in addition to being cost effective. The second approach presents instruments for the systematic assessment of school buildings according to facet theory, a tool that helps to structure the large number of possible influences and subjective indicators such as learning performance, expressions of well-being, and social behavior. Based on descriptions of 23 innovative schools in eleven countries on five continents, a system is developed that enables judgment of school quality. It applies the criteria of functional, esthetic, social-physical, ecological, organisational, and economical aspects to various parts of the overall school complex: exterior, school building proper, entrance, classrooms, specialty rooms, interior and corridors, court-yards/open spaces and special areas.
This book provides an essential resource for educators, architects, and policy makers involved in the planning and running of educational facilities.