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RE-imagine

The most challenging part of this two quarter study on educational spaces for me was to find a strong enough concept to weave into a spatial experience and how to balance this with the site conditions. The concept of open source in which I see it is a system that is constantly evolving through given inputs as did my own concept of how to tackle this design problem.  My first attempt focused on the exchange of information through a forced intersection of circulation, a collision of ideas. My second concept focused on a process of information gathering, a period of a synthesis of these ideas, and lastly spaces provided to activate the learning system by sharing finished products. The second touched on the idea that transparency of work where students can see what the others are doing and this then transferred into the final concept. In the final concept, Cole and I put more focus on the difference of learning styles and whether the spaces focused on individual identity or group identity or both. We decided to splice these two together with a commons that provided that that horizontal and vertical transparency where students can see the others at work and peak curiosity.  We also provided places where groups of students can express their identity through the designing of walls with the intention of sharing will the other students or visitors. So to sum it all up, in the first quarter where I was working by myself I focused on two possibilities, a student sharing with a student, and a student sharing with a group. For the second quarter, working with another person, we began to think of more interactions where it can be a small group sharing with another group or the whole school sharing with the outside community. I believe by just having that other person to work with helped me think outside of the individual scale…

Another difficult and nagging topic was determining what space should be user defined and what space should be architecturally defined.  We both agreed that the spaces should want to be used in the first place, that is making them pleasant to be in with natural light and natural ventilation except we let the given program determine sizes of spaces instead of imparting our own spaces on the program. We thought it important for the student to feel ownership of the space so we created a vertical separation of work spaces and study spaces and hang out spaces and spaces that they can impart their own identity onto.  I believe that ownership of space is what creates that vibrancy, that life in a school.  Is this an institution that I must conform to, or a place of learning that we are all apart of? I believe that all the schools we visited fell into these two categories…

OSL: A study on space and education

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Who’s in control of our education? John Dewey speaks of a dichotomy in education philosophy where one view focuses on the INDIVIDUAL  reaching their potential while the other side is a STATE educating a CITIZEN to fit into a given society. How then does one address both? This is where open source learning takes its cue. It is imperative that students have the feeling of owning their education. In my analysis of this issue I’ve tried to address both the individual and the community through a process of information GATHERING, SYNTHESIS, and ACTIVATION.

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For my academy, I chose a valley site nestled in between the hills and farmland of Avila Valley near San Luis Obispo.

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Taking into the natural forces acting on the site, my building began to take form. With the slender bar, I tried to address daylighting. By breaking up the masses I meant to address air circulation. By utilizing the pins and solids technique, I wanted to formally call attention to my concept.

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Open Source Learning academy then becomes a space where students gather information, create a reaction to this information and then activate the community by sharing this reaction.  Whether its an art show, a coursed dinner, a performance is up to the student but there is an emphasis of sharing gained knowledge. The point of the pins, is to act as that fix point where information is gathered and shared at once.

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The eroded voids become the main circulation routes as well as the student commons where information is free to flow and sharing is encouraged. I then wanted to program the resulting solids with emphasis on a central courtyard for the work/study areas.programplans The learning cluster is the heart of the Osl system. Each contains 150 students and offers a variety of learning situations to work with a diversity of learning styles. The typical cluster has three fixed spaces with a flexible fourth in the “round” room. The fixed spaces contain a lab, a group focus, and an individual focus. Its important to recognize the difference in learning styles when thinking of furniture as well. Provided are spaces for group work, group social, individual work and social. The heights and exposure of furniture are also considered.

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OPEN SOURCE IS SYSTEMS THINKING. ABOVE AND BEYOND THE INDIVIDUAL THINKING FOR THEMSELVES, IT’S HOW DO WE AS A COMMUNITY EDUCATE OURSELVES AND EACH OTHER SO THAT THE FUTURE GENERATIONS CAN GIVE BACK INTO AND PROGRESSIVELY BETTER THE SYSTEM.

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I used the farm to table idea to illustrate this system. Knowledge is obtained and applied in the field, in the kitchen, and in the dining room. The dinner table then acts as this culmination of all this knowledge as well as a forum for information exchange.

A starting point for my design focused on the students as a band of HUNTER/GATHERS OF INFORMATION…

Hunter/Gatherers:

HUNTER/ GATHERER GROUPS TENDED TO BE SMALL INTIMATE GROUPS OF 30 OR SO PEOLPLE. BEING EGALITARIAN IN PRACTICE, THEY SHARED ALL THINGS FOR THE SURVIVAL OF THE GROUP. THE HEARTH WAS AN IMPORTANT CENTER FOR SHARING OF INFORMATION AND NURISHMENT.

Information:

WE ARE CONSTANTLY SURROUNDED BY A FLOW OF INFORMATION. It is up for the individual or gathering group to figure out what info is important for their “success.”

The question then is how do we design a space where there is information exchange, synthesis, and activation?

DIAGRAM [Converted]

I broke this into the learning cluster as the information exchange (Formal), the synthesis as the intersection of spaces where students exchange ideas, and the activation where people produce a “thing” to put back into the system.

The “Formal” bands I oriented for daylighting and solar gains for a more comfortable learning environment.

SITE

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WITH THE FOOD SYSTEM, I WANTED TO PULL THE GARDENS INTO THE COURTYARDS AND ONTO THE ROOFS SO THAT THEY ARE ALWAYS IN SIGHT.

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THE IMPORTANT FACTOR OF OPEN SOURCE LEARNING IS THE SHARING OF KNOWLEDGE, WHILE REASSESSING THE ROLE OF THE TEACHER. IN THE DESIGN, I WANTED TO FASCILITATE THIS PEER TO PEER SHARING OF KNOWLEDGE BY CREATING AN INTERSECTION WHERE STUDENTS WILL HAVE THAT CHANCE ENCOUNTER. THROUGH THE INTERSECTIONS OF SPACE, THE INCREASED INTERACTIONS WILL LEAD TO MORE INFORMATION EXCHANGED.

Section:

Looking west.

SECTion

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Looking forward:

I highlighted a few subjects from the LPN office talk that I found important to my project.  The most important I felt was Sarah’s? break down of a functional school/space. First, is it FLEXIBLE? Do the inhabitants have the opportunity to change their immediate surroundings.  I need to work on this aspect through furniture and also blended indoor outdoor areas. The second was to offer a VARIETY OF SPACES. This is important because different people need different environments to function well. An example that I got from the firm was the splitting of the thought of collaboration space into short term and long term.  Each has its own design constraints. The third was to give people the CHOICE on which space to use so they can find that space that makes them productive.

A couple highlights from both critiques

  • focus on entry…if learning is focus, make more visible
  • make the gym a flex performance space that accepts outdoor seating
  • think of building as a vehicle
  • use atmosphere to determine spacial choices
  • use circulation to confuse people so that they need to focus on surroundings (mine was too streamlined class-exit)
  • sectional interactions between spaces
  • do more research on crop integrated design “go further”
  • more detail in spaces

Design reactions:

  • I like the center stair but I can’t lean on it for causing interaction. I need to do this with more spatial definition of flex/collab spaces
  • I’m trying to figure out a way of centralizing the farm to table aspect by relocating the kitchen and food labs as well as the adjacent eating spaces.
  • Stacy mentioned a green wall of food.  I was already thinking about how to implement a hanging garden into shading or structural pieces as a more building integrated use of greenery.  This also came from the quilt idea I posted earlier where maybe each student gets to plant and take care of a certain part of the garden wall then when it blooms there becomes a mosaic of color that transforms the building experience (another metaphor for the open source system)
  • I also want to break up the long bars that serve as the clusters and focus them on creating more/ smaller courtyards
  • more detail, furnishings, cluster details, inside outside space

open source music?

When I think of opensource, I imagine a quilt that peoples are constantly adding to.  I ran across this music based on the polyrhythms of african music.  Alone, each rhythm would be rather boring, but when they are collaged together with some collabing and some clashing, theres a heightened “mesh” of sound produced.  It kind of follows that idea of pluralism mentioned in one of our past readings…check it out!

treiley

Africa Express Presents: Terry Riley’s In C Mali

trying to catch the wind

For this diagram I tried to convey the network of information as a fluid substance almost like a river.  I believe this describes the interconnectedness between the information flow more acurately especially is this age where everything is just a finger click away.   As knowledge seekers we simply put our hand in the passing water, and see what information we find useful at that time.  I believe this is where the Dunbar number comes to play.  A small group can concentrate a certain portion of information flow to question a certain idea. The fluid will circle around these fixed objects and since there is a greater mass, they can address greater ideas than just a single person.  As the Dunbar number increases, the reach of the group expands yet the ability of concentration decreases.  There is too much surface area for the fluid to enter and exit.

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Information is not created or destroyed. Its the synthesis of this information that we create and the way we network this that follows.  It takes a person or group asking a certain question in order seek out desired information.

For the diagram, the smaller nails in close proximity represent a small group like our studio.  When close, they create more of a disturbance in the flow of information(cheese cloth) than do the individual nails that are spread out.  The larger nails represent the more knowledgeable so they are beginning to direct greater amounts of information.

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own your education?

This is a little bit of a rant but something that freaks me out a bit about our current state.

David talked about us being in an age of an “overflow of information” which is empowering thought yet scary at the same time, and went on to mention how the internet has the ability to cater to our likes and dislikes.  I think that it is  very important to educate kids how to navigate this surplus of information as to decide what is really important.

In the Dewey reading, Democracy of education, Dewey touched on the idea that once education became funded by the state (country) that preservation of the state became a priority with the personal potential of the individual coming second.  A persons personality is then determined on how they benefit the preservation of state.  So then there’s the question on whats more important, an individual reaching their potential or the preservation of state?

The third party that has a stake in our education is Corporate America and this is where that “overflow of information” begins to be detrimental.  It might not be in our schools but its always on our screens. Using media, commercials, ads, etc. we are constantly being “educated” about what our desires are, what we need to own, who we need to be. Its a powerful entity educating for self interest without the individual in mind.

Then there’s the idea of whats getting the attention of the kids first, formal schooling or tv?

and we keep getting reminded about how our generation is great at doing what we are told and not so good at thinking freely…

So my question is how do we teach kids to take back their education? How do we teach ownership of education?

Dinner

Eating a meal with friends and families has always been an opportunity to share ideas. Food is grown, harvested, prepared, and served all for this social gathering to exist; a point in ones day where the biological needs of ones survival can be temporarily set aside and a celebration of life can occur.  Bigger questions can be posed, connections can be made, networks expanded.

 

In order for any network to grow, biological needs must first be met. Babies learn how to express these needs for food and sleep and it is clearly seen.  Yet what drives humanity are the needs that surface after survival has become a sure thing. What are these needs? These are what are discussed around the dinner table.


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