Open Architecture Challenge 2009

Project description:


Our exploration into the classroom of the future takes place in Ghana, where for 5 weeks beginning in February 2009, we will be running two 2 hour lessons a week in a school in Pokuase, a town in the North West region of Ghana’s Capital City, Accra. Working alongside the teachers from the school, we hope to challenge and inspire a class of twenty pupils, ranging in age from 11-16, into considering the design of their learning surroundings and to give them the opportunity to come up with ideas and designs for a classroom of the future.


Following carefully structured lesson plans (which take into consideration the current Pre Tech curriculum currently being used by the school), we want to encourage the pupils to take a critical view of the environment in which they learn and consider the way in which it is used, where its strengths and weaknesses are, and how they would improve it. As two young architects, we hope to put forward some the key ideas and principles which we consider to be most relevant in the modern world, with an emphasis on sustainability, and the importance of climatic conditions upon design.


Our early work will focus on getting the pupils to think about the built environment, and teaching them methods for representing it. We will then develop these ideas to begin thinking about sustainable design, with an emphasis on materials, construction methods and alternative energies. Throughout this process we want the sessions to be very interactive, to encourage the pupils to ask questions, and to demonstrate the ideas we are presenting in an informative, and more importantly, fun manner.


Using the skills and ideas they have learnt, we will then split the class into groups, and ask them to create designs for a new classroom, culminating in presentations of there designs. We want to encourage the pupils to be as imaginative as possible, and to express their ideas in as creative a way as they can. There will be no criteria that they have to meet, except that they try and have fun with their design, and can explain why they have made their decisions.


Crucial to the process will be involvement of the teachers from the school. As well as asking them to complete a questionnaire considering the classroom environment from their perspective, we hope to form a strong rapport with them, and to get them involved, as far as possible, in the design process to ensure that the proposals consider the needs of the entire school.

Following on from our work in the school, we will use the work and ideas generated to develop a design to be entered into the classroom of the future completion.


Project Coordinators: Benjamin Powell and Sophie Morley from England.


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