Designing Schools for the Coldest City on Earth

Today I am in Yakutsk, in the Republic of Sakha, Russia. I am here talking about the design of schools and kindergartens, and more generally learning environments with state ministers and to a conference. 

Fellow juror Jure Kotnik surveys exhibition of kindergarten designs in Yakutsk, my

Fellow juror Jure Kotnik (left) surveys exhibition of kindergarten competition designs in Yakutsk.

The World Bank is funding the development of kindergartens in Yakutia and has just run a design competition to encourage innovative solutions. I was fortunate in being asked to be on the panel of judges. Having identified the winning designs the next stage will be to invite the architects and builders to develop technical designs in readiness for construction. There is no doubt that in this part of Russia they see education as a key issue. Continue reading

Environments that Care

Children need a safe and secure environment, but one that allows them to explore

One of three Zelkova trees growing through the roof

Finding the balance between safety and well being. Exploring the trees growing through the roof of the Fuji Kindergarten, Tokyo. Click image for more on this school.

That children are influenced by their physical environment should be no surprise. It can have a significant effect on the way that they perceive the world as well as their behaviour. Whether we realise it or not we all consciously or sub-consciously react to the physical environment around us. Put a small table in the middle of a large, and otherwise empty, room and people will congregate near it. Provide a very small cosy space, tucked away to the side of a room and young children will gather in it.

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