Tuesday, 21 October 2014

#protectshcoolgrounds

We are delighted that our ArtBox project was displayed tonight at the  Crane Building foyer as part of the innovative solutions for the #protectshcoolgrounds campaign, launched by Learning Through Landscapes (LTL).  The event included a film by narrated by their patron Sir David Attenborough.

#protectschoolgrounds launch at the Crane Building, London

The ArtBox is also featured as one of the innovative design solutions on the LTL website.

Here are extracts of our work submitted for this event:

The ArtBox

The ArtBox

Furzedown Primary School had been gradually expanding in to a two-form school.  As the school grew, the original art room became a class room and a new home for art was required.  Not wanting to loose valuable playground space to a Portakabin style solution, a flat roofed area over the existing school was identified as the site for a new art studio, which became the ArtBox.  

The school’s playgrounds are small but rich with variety.  As well as general and creative play areas it has vegetable gardens, flower beds, a grassed courtyard area and a small nature pond.  Each area has a specific learning function and vegetables are grown by the children.  An annexe solution to an Art studio would have resulted in the loss of some of these valuable resources.  

It was also felt that an annexe would have left the Art block isolated from the main school and an ‘off the shelf’ solution would not have provided the best spaces for teaching Art.  This would have been a missed opportunity to create something special.

The built solution allowed the new development to integrate fully with the existing school.  The bespoke design approach enabled the ArtBox to purposefully meet all the creative requirements of the school.  With a very tight budget, the design emphasis was on the quality of light and space.   The resultant new addition to the school is a space tailored for creativity and imagination, which has brought enjoyment to teachers and pupils alike.  The project is identified on the outside with ‘artbox’ signage, which is a playful Bauhaus reference: A small building for small people but with big aspirations and big ideas!

Related articles:


Architecture for Kids

Architecture for Kids

Children are possibly the best conceptual thinkers because of their naive understanding of the world and their innocent questioning. So why not teach Architectural Design in schools? It’s a novel subject to most children, which they approach without stylistic or structural preconceptions. The results of their fresh-minded application to the subject are often inspired. 

We have been running a set of workshops on this subject Architecture for Kids at Furzedown Primary School which has involved a sequence of workshops looking at structure, drawing, design, modeling and making.  During this process, sites were identified in the school playground to make temporary architectural installations and they were assembled for the enjoyment of all the children in the Summer term.  

The Random Funky Festival Pavilion was the creation of a budding Year 5 Architect called Katie.  The corner of the school courtyard was identified as the site.  Old estate agent boards, card tubes and material make a playful space with shade and colour.  It became a place to meet friends, have lunch and chat about what’s important.

With some old estate agent boards, we also experimented with different ways to make structural enclosures.  One set of boards slot together, and another set fix together with bolts and wing-nuts.  They can be assembled and taken apart very quickly by the children and they reside in the corner of the courtyard playground, until break and lunch times when they are enthusiastically taken to make the den of the day.

We believe that learning exercises such as these help to reinforce the importance of the playground environment.

Related articles:
Team Building with Boards 


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