The architecture of a building is its soul. It is what defines the building and makes it what it is. A school of the future has to be a building that stands out from what we have today, both in its looks and functionality. It should free its occupants from worrying about anything but their work. Students and teachers can focus on what they do, without worrying about the rain or shine, or whether it is freezing of boiling outside of the compound. Here we will look at architecture in terms of Interior space and Exterior appearance.
Interior space is where people work and live and can be improved through clever design and innovation. Firstly, an interior space has to be comfortable so that its occupants can focus on their work. To achieve this, there has to be a stable climate not affected by the changes outside. The current solution to the climate control is using air conditioning, by pumping cool or warm air in a building. This method uses a lot of energy, which leaves a larger carbon footprint and results in unnecessary spending. A building built in Zimbabwe the Eastgate Centre made use of the concept of biomimicry, and copied how a termite mound regulates its internal temperature, without the use of conventional air conditioning. The Eastgate's owners saved $3.5 million on a $36 million building because an air-conditioning plant didn't have to be imported. The building also uses less than 10 percent of the energy of a conventional building its size.
Biomimicry is something that we feel that should be adopted into the infrastructure of future schools. It searches for indigenous solutions to solve problems specific to a region by examining nature. The Eastgate example shows how designers use designs that came about from millions of years of evolution and adopt it into modern buildings, achieving greater energy efficiency, cutting down on energy spending. The extra money saved could be spent on other aspects of the school, to provide better education for the students.
The Eastgate Centre, Harare, Zimbabwe
Another example of clever design that we would want to have in our future school is the idea of manipulation of interior space. Picture a huge room the size of a soccer pitch. Inside the room are partitions that can create separate rooms. These rooms can be use for classrooms. But when there is a need for a larger space, the partitions can be moved and shifted accordingly to create a larger room. This brings flexibility to the use of space, allowing teachers and students to customize their space to suite their learning.
What about it?
The exterior appearance has to be both functional and visually appealing at the same time. Functional in the sense where the external design contributes to the workings of the building, like climate control and lighting. The aesthetics of a building can be rather subjective. For example, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao France is to many a work of art. Yet for some it is a bizzare combination of weird shapes and lines that leads to nowhere. We will present our idea on the next section, and hope that you will like it.
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao