The rebirth of the school starts from the construction: the 10 guidelines

The school must be rebuilt, based on the foundation: and it is not a play on words, but a concrete project, because education and construction are closely linked, and the “school of the future” must be built or renovated according to pedagogical criteria as well. That’s why Cenci House-Laboratory has published ten guidelines for the construction of innovative schools, “which we hope will pave the way – explains Franco Lorenzoni, founder of Cenci – for a much more important and comprehensive revision of the Building Code. is incredibly dated 1975. It is insane – he comments – that money is invested in school buildings without changing the law that governs the criteria. “The guidelines were drawn up by” a committee composed mainly of architects of great value, as I had the opportunity to participate in “, Lorenzoni explains and relaunches the document on the new blog on the website of the House Laboratory.” Everything has changed in almost half a century, not the law on criteria for building schools! “, Lorenzoni states again.

Quality, low consumption, sustainable schools

Firstly, “a quality school. Good architecture as a condition for better learning and a recognizable sign for the community”: this is the first point of the document. “A well-calibrated distribution structure, sufficient space dimensions, good light and a favorable visual interaction with the exterior are elements must characterize a quality building so that it can survive over time and evolve and accommodate features that were not present at the time of design. These aspects give the spaces a “civil” character and can convey the “implicit” pedagogical content, openly and non-prescriptively, which we believe should be the basis of its connection with the reference community “.

Secondly, “a low-consumption school”, which means that “the criterion of environmental sustainability must always take into account the medium / long-term management of a school building through the design (including civil engineering) of long-term low-tech solutions and easy and cheap to Great emphasis must be placed on the issue of the envelope and its fundamental role in protecting against solar radiation “.

Thirdly, “a sustainable school”, which means “choosing environmentally compatible materials, with low environmental impact and of natural origin, locally sourced or recycled”.

Open and “inside-out” school

Fourth, “an open school”. This is a fundamental and much-discussed point: “The age-old idea that the school is a civic center must be resumed in new ways, both in the urban contexts where there is no room for aggregation, as well as in the many small Italian where the school is often located, it can represent – if not the only one – certainly the most suitable space to host cultural and societal activities. degree lives in our cities, thus making the school’s spaces dedicated to the community to places for meetings and experiments. and moments of realization.

Fifth point, also this basic and crucial above all since the beginning of the pandemic, is that school takes place between inside and outside: “School outdoors, outside, not only from the classrooms, but from all covered environments, is still a way. little explored by the Italian school.Farms and courtyards of many schools are today underused, although they constitute a great resource for educational efforts.The pandemic, with the search for larger spaces – also external – for school activities, has made their inclusion in learning environments even more The external environment is the preferred place to gain experience, not only linked to the natural context (contact with the earth, observation of weather phenomena, cultivation), but also as an extension of the internal environments.

A school designed to learn and work

Sixth, “a school to learn better”. And to learn better, you need training strategies and appropriate spaces. “Teaching in a more active and less transmissive way requires didactic strategies that find spatial declination in articulated environments, diversified from each other and reconfigurable internally thanks to the design. Many experiments emphasize the need to establish school activities by integrating individual work, group work, frontal activities, discussions and moments of plenary confrontation. This articulation pushes us to imagine a learning landscape that leaves no one out, with spaces – inside and out – that can be adapted to different and personal teaching models. ”This means that the school space must be redesigned, from the corridors, to the classrooms, to the courtyards, to the laboratories. In particular, “the classroom has been transformed from a rigid and stereotypical space into a focal point of a system capable of hosting different configurations and expanding into the adjacent spaces. Groups of classrooms can be aggregated and communicated with a central space, which can be used as an extension of the classroom itself or for activities that are common to several classes. Inside the classroom, “light” furniture and equipment make it possible to easily reconfigure the room several times within the same didactic module and the school day “.

At the same time, the school must be designed for those who work there: it is the seventh guideline. “Today, the space for the staff working in the school – especially, but not only, the teachers’ – is thought of as service environments, but must be rethought as resources for pedagogical action. Especially with a view to extending school time to the afternoon, it is useful to devise environments where teachers can work peacefully and comfortably, prepare lessons, do research, design with colleagues or even just have a moment break and fun. Sharing a work area is a necessary condition for creating a community of teachers and their full cooperation. “

A school for the five senses, equipped and connected

The integration of the senses as a tool for scholastic integration: here is another characteristic – the eighth – that the school of the future must have, also in consideration and protection of the differences that inhabit it. “Architectural planning should know how to value the centrality of the body as a key dimension of learning, especially in the first cycle. In fact, even in school, knowledge can grow thanks to spaces, environments and didactic strategies designed to promote learning that consciously involves the body. and movement. A multisensory approach especially facilitates students with learning difficulties, or who encounter greater difficulties with the visual-verbal channel, based on reading and writing. It is therefore necessary to imagine spaces that take care of and reinforce all aspects of perception. “.

And tomorrow’s school must necessarily be “equipped” and “connected”: these are the last two characteristics indicated by the experts. “The equipment” because “it is important to diversify the equipment in the different learning environments in relation to both the classrooms and the laboratory rooms”. Connected because “the new technologies must constitute one of the widespread learning infrastructures that reach out to all school environments to support teaching and administrative activities”.

There is a lot of work to be done, but the effort is high: “That these guidelines can really effectively manage the reconstruction of almost 200 schools is to be seen and requires great vigilance and commitment at local and central level – concludes Lorenzoni – but it seems to me to be an important starting point in the perspective of a radical revision of the 1975 law on school buildings. “And here are summarized the ten characteristics of the 200 schools of the future”.

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