Back in June we covered the selection of finalists in the Open Architecture Challenge to design the classroom of the future. Cameron Sinclair writes:
This morning, an hour before the President takes the stage, a small independent non-profit school in Victor, Idaho (pop. 1200) will be holding their own special 'back to school' assembly to celebrate winning this international competition. The school, the Teton Valley Community School, receives $50,000 to help fund their new classroom and the winning design team, Section Eight [Design], is awarded $5,000 to help implement the scheme.
From the press release issued this morning:
More than 1,000 design teams from 65 countries registered for the competition. The winning design was selected from more than 400 qualified entries by a team of interdisciplinary online jurors. (See Jury Bios ) Each design was rated on feasibility, sustainability, and innovation in the learning environment.
Many schools around the world share the facilities constraints faced by the Teton Valley Community School. Operating out of makeshift classrooms converted from residential use, a lack of space and an environment ill-suited for learning impedes students' opportunities. The winning classroom design developed by Section Eight [design] provides cost-effective and sustainable teaching spaces and extends the learning environment beyond the four walls of the classroom. Movable panels allow students to reconfigure their space as needed. The building itself is designed to be a learning tool. The mechanical room, a building component normally closed from view, can be seen from the science lab allowing students to learn how heating and cooling systems function first hand.
It is always a thrill to watch Cameron Sinclair in action. He and Kate Stohr have built Architecture for Humanity into a formidable and effective organization that gets things done in a hurry. As he notes:
We can either wait for the stars to align and for strong leadership to right the ship OR allow agile non-profits, progressive school boards and social ventures to collaborate and push the system in the right direction.