Preshil Library

Apr 28, 2009
  • Article by Online Editor
  • Architect Minifie Nixon Architects

When looking at what children actually do whilst learning it is clear that the building categories of ‘Classroom’, ‘Library’, ‘Technology Building’ and so on are very poor at capturing and describing what happens within. Often it is in unnamed spaces – staircases, porches, that bit in-between – where the most fruitful interactions and events take place between people.
The building is no longer saying ‘Only these activities may occur here’.
When approaching the design of learning spaces, it is important to start by understanding particular events and activities, to understand their potentials and interactions, and then design a space where they may most fruitfully take place. It is not about specifying a generic space, but understanding how scale, gradients of privacy and enclosure, connections to other spaces, interactions with information sources, kinds of physical movement and conversation can work together. Getting these things right fosters exploration, experimentation, and critical thinking.

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