After final review from winter quarter and the visit to Chicago, most of our ideas on education have vastly changed. Whether it was hearing various firms concepts, what students wanted or how teachers used spaces, there was a lot to look forward to when returning to studio and our projects.
Since becoming partners, we have had a very similar approach to what we wanted our new project to incorporate. After writing our own manifesto of what we think 21st century learning should be, we decided to focus on the ideas of safety, passion, community and fun. The spaces in the school also needed a balance of flexibility and agility, along with a focus.
The both of us really enjoyed Taylor’s concept of the hearts of the school and wanted to carry the idea over into our own project, which also appeared in our manifesto with the ideas of the heart of our school. After traveling to Chicago, the both of us also enjoyed the idea of me, we and us that would incorporate more into education rather than just student involvement and use. The idea of ME, WE and US, allows for individual exploration, team and group work, and display and expression to the community and involvement.
We took both of these ideas to form our project. The discussion of the “heart” of the school changed from the center of the school to IDENTITY, TEAM, and COMMUNITY, our type of me, we, and us, which would are a huge form driver in our project.
IDENTITY relates to the design focuses of the school-culinary, media, industrial and organizational. These spaces of our school would be where a student could really explore what they are interested in. A student, regardless of their year level, would follow a design focus throughout their time at Hearts.
TEAM relates to the cluster/classroom space. Since the design focuses only relate to a specific topic, a space is needed in our high school for non-specific, general education spaces like a science lab and algebra class. The breakdown of this space was influenced by Intrinsic in high school with individual focused work spaces, team spaces and classroom spaces in both lab and group form. This space is able to incorporate a number of learners and maximize your opportunity for learning. These spaces would be based on skill level- beginner, intermediate and advanced.
COMMUNITY relates to the space at the top of the stairs, a transition space between the outside world and the education and school. This space could be used for pin-ups, along with discussions and meetings. This space would flow into the open and communicating stair throughout the middle of the building which would also connect the identity and team spaces on opposite sides of the building. Community is an important aspect to education, to bring in outsiders and show off what is going on inside of the school rather than keeping what is done inside the school and closed off.
The hearts of the school also influenced the desire for a HOMEROOM space in Hearts. This homeroom would allow for students to have a home base of students at the same age level as them, for when they started at Hearts. This space would allow for students to always have similar faces regardless of the design focus they choose, and the skill level they are at. This space would involve a variety of students, with only the similarity that they started attending Hearts together, and will continue their years together.
Hearts allows for students to find their identity with a specific design focus, explore their learning and work types in clusters, create a home base in home rooms, explore skill levels in various class types and involve the community in both class work and display of.