We worked to define a learning environment that teachers could adapt to their own working schemes, and where students could find flexible spots enabling peer to peer confrontation. We designed an integrated environment involving classroom setting, school common spaces, visual identity and technologies layout.
The opportunity was a newly founded foreign language school in Ankara, Turkey. The founders-and-staffers of the school, which also provides post high-school orientation services, seeked for a neat and effective treatment of the school place that could communicate their up-to-date approach while implementing the look and feel of their new location, as well as establishing a precise image for their enterprise in the competing local market. All of it with a tight time frame.
“We’d like to tranform this place into a welcoming environment, inspiring openness and exchange while communicating thorough reliability for our service.”
We focused on the vision of defining a flexible, effective and professional looking learning environment, and we set up a team scaled for the various tasks. From their part, the clients agreed to stick to the timeline we proposed and provided in-time feedback and the needed information, smoothing the collaboration.
We used Human Centered Design tools such as personas and user scenarios, to analyze and test our assumptions on users behaviours, and ultimately to validate spatial and integration strategy of the various elements. Also these tools helped us motivate our choices and engage our clients in the process.
The architectural concept is based on the idea of openness and transparency. By replacing the non structural walls of the corridor with a glass wall, the oppressed corridor space is overcome and we obtain a space open to exploration and where non mediated communication is encouraged. Customers and students have the possibility to be inspired by the activities going on in the diverse learning spaces.
By describing scenarios of the spaces usage we could uncover the attitude to more/less flexibility of some spaces against some others. This validated the choice to define one of the classes as a mixed learning/leisure-time space, and clarified potential conflicts between activities being held in adiacent spaces.
Classrooms layout involved quite a bit of our own learning about the teaching methods and needs of the school’s staff. Their practice involves some use of lecture-style instruction, a lot of students active involvement, frequent use of the whiteboards, group activities, films and other media run from teachers’ computers or mobile devices, heavy use of projectors and audio.
We agreed that a flexibility in class furniture’s setup should allow for different space uses: teacher centered, group work, and learner centered. Also some informal learning spaces should be provided. We elaborated a number of working layouts, that proved that different class uses were possible and that oriented the furniture selection.
Technical elements are integral to the classes layout and to the school environment, by expressed client’s request, and because of already established students’ habits.
These elements include in-classroom audio/video devices, projectable whiteboards, a strategy for students’ access to the network and for the coherent use of their own devices, lighting and shading requirements. We translated the vision of a fully integrated classroom blending tech elements experience and space usage, into guidelines that detailed technical appliances and their spatial layout, to assist the clients in the products supply and installation.
“We want to inspire them to be curious and search for personal schemes, be able to communicate and building on their ideas, and be prepared to achieve their goals. That’s the idea behind Idea!”
Concept: Too Design Consultancy
Design team: Francesco Bagni, Ivan Pecorari, Jean Jacques Rossouw
Architectural design / User research: Francesco Bagni
Lighting consultant: Giovanni Giacomelli
Tech integration design: Ivan Pecorari
Visual Identity: Jean Jacques Rossouw
Project manager: Ivan Pecorari
Jean Jacques Rossouw