School Work: Innovative Designs for Education

Shouldn’t the time we spend in the classroom be the most engaging and productive we experience? As we renovate, add to and build new schools, how can we make spaces that assist in developing creative and healthy individuals for future success? How can architecture support innovations and changes in teaching and learning methods for the next 50 years?

The standard classroom – with students sitting at a desk, facing a teacher, in a nondescript rectangular room, in a nondescript rectangular building – is a model that emerged from the industrial era. For some of us, it hasn’t been the best environment for learning, with a lot of time spent looking out of the window waiting for the bell to ring. As most of our country’s school buildings are 50 years old, they reflect an era that needed to produce workers who would listen and conform.

Running until December 29, 2013, this exhibition at York Quay Centre at Toronto’s Harbourfront features the work of BORTOLOTTO, CS&P Architects, Workshop Architecture Inc. and contributions from visual artists Tara Cooper and Terry O’Neill. These practices seek creative design alternatives for the enrichment of the learning experience through new designs for responsive learning spaces; design ideas that look beyond the traditional classroom model and create new paradigms for how we gather and share knowledge. These new design proposals will take into consideration advancements in teaching practices and educational technologies to create an enriched learning environment that will be responsive to the needs of individual communities. School Work looks at how students and teachers use classrooms and schools now, and how to design spaces that can become educational tools for the future through inspired design.

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