3 of the most inspiring education spaces

A recent article written by biophilic design expert Oliver Heath showcased three thought-provoking examples of how the natural world can inform and shape educational architecture.

3 of the most inspiring education spaces

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Biophilic design

Biophilic design is more than just a trendy buzzword. It is a pioneering yet common sense movement in architectural practice which aims to reconnect us to the natural world. This is accomplished by integrating nature and natural forms into the built environment in every way possible. In terms of education, statistics have shown that plants in the classroom, and increased exposure to natural light, improves student attendance, test scores and speed of learning. In other words, we need nature in order to thrive.

Paul Chevalier School

This natural design inspired school in Lyon, France, incorporates natural elements at every turn. Like many designers of bespoke education buildings, the architects responsible for this tranquil space have used natural materials wherever possible. Exposed wooden cladding is used inside and out to promote tactile sensory stimulation which both energizes and relaxes students.

The buildings are situated around a central green space. Floor to ceiling windows allow lots of natural light to enter the school, and there are views over a woodland and a vegetable garden. Green roofs extend the reach of nature into the human environment even further. See http://humanspaces.com/2015/09/25/3-top-educational-spaces/ for images.

Benenden School

This school in Kent has incorporated an eco-classroom. It is based on a treehouse and is constructed of sustainably harvested timber. Children can enjoy learning whilst remaining steeped in nature, as all children love to be. The natural textures inside the classroom are further enhanced by an insulating sedum roof and views over the former Victorian water gardens. For more English educational buildings design inspiration visit http://www.educationspaces.co.uk/.

Nanyang Technological University School of Art, Design and Media

A truly impressive and ground-breaking feat of architecture, this building has in fact been termed a ‘non-building’, as its aim is to bridge the gap between nature and built form. Situated in a wooded valley which was to be preserved as a green lung, the building has become one with its surroundings. Probably the most large-scale example of biophilic principles in action, it incorporates sweeping green roofs, water features and glass edifices which blur the distinction between classrooms, and help to disintegrate artificial hierarchies between teachers and students, nature and artifice.

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