Linking Architecture and Education
Sustainable Design of Learning Environments
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: University of New Mexico Press
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The book is not merely a design primer. It provides readers with a logical— almost inevitable—framework for an inclusive programming and design process that has a strong philosophical underpinning. Moreover, Taylor suggests ways to translate philosophy and curriculum to an architectural program and then to actual physical design. Herein lies the brilliance of the book: Ideas about learning are given life in the buildings, furniture, and landscape ...
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For the past forty years my mind has been on the topic of learning environments and how schools, classrooms, playgrounds, homes, museums, and parks affect children and their learning. As I look back, I see that each year of experience is layered one upon the next, much as an architect uses tracing paper during early planning to explore iterations and suggest solutions to design problems. Similar to architects, those of us trying to build new ideas move from the first quick sketch of thought to increasingly careful renderings, ...
A Note on the Book’s Structure
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Though it appears to meander randomly, a stream has a logical proportional flow based on topography and mathematics. The natural geometry of a meandering river is a response to volume and silt load resulting in alternating shallows, deep pools, and cleansing currents. Tampering with these graceful bends can result in more frequent and extreme flooding. ...
Part One:The Philosophical Framework Behind the Knowing Eye
Chapter One: The Need for New Thinking
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Architecture and education intersect when it comes time to plan, design, build, and use new learning environments. How can educators, architects, administrators, school boards, parents, and other interested community members make the most of this interaction? What can architects do to support education, and how can educators contribute to the design process? How can we create interactive environments that serve as ...
Chapter Two: The Learning Environment
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It is hard not to view our world as chaotic and random, especially because we often find ourselves removed from natural settings, surrounded by material proliferation, and living in discord with other people and our deepest personal wishes. It should be possible to establish a sense of harmony within ourselves and with the world, as there exists an order to the universe that we can capture and enjoy. Philosophers, mathematicians, physicists, ecologists, religious leaders, musicians, and Native people who have ...
Chapter Three: Philosophy 101
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Entrenched beliefs do influence current practice. The study of philosophy helps us understand that there are multiple ways of viewing the world and that our long-held assumptions may not always define what we want for the future. The discussion here is designed to help all participants in the design and education process think deeply about the meaning behind educational facilities, their purpose, and how they can be better ...
Chapter Four: Philosophy Applied to the Physical Learning Environment
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In Foundations of Education, a textbook for educators, Ornstein and Levine (2003) examine the philosophical roots of education by examining the educational implications of different philosophies (pp. 95–129). The authors ask education students to identify and respond personally to elements of each philosophy by relating philosophies to their own classroom experiences. I am borrowing this general approach, but unlike Ornstein and ...
Stewardship Forum One
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Years ago while walking along a beach in Mexico with a group of children, I received a gift or insight that helped set the course for my professional life. The children were collecting shells, discarding some and stuffing others in their T-shirts. I asked them why they kept some of the shells. They said, “Because they are beautiful and different.” The children demonstrated an intuitive sense of beauty, an innate ability to read and respond to the environment. ...
Part Two:Using an Organizing System
Chapter Five:Using a Curricular Organizing System for School Facility Planning
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The early stages of school facility planning require returning to ground zero and asking, “What is best for the learner?” When I visit schools, I see in the children’s eyes that they are desperate for an active role in their own learning. When they encounter opportunities for problem solving and creativity their eyes light up. Learning facilities must be designed to bring out this enthusiasm. ...
Chapter Six: Habitability of Learning Environments
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Moving from philosophy toward design of built facilities begins with programming. Programming is the architectural planning process that precedes design. Methods of programming vary widely in format, approach, and degree of participant involvement, but the key point to remember is that qualitative thinking and planning must come before design begins. Many school district planners are under pressure ...
Stewardship Forum Two
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This section of articles and case studies is dedicated to the individual learner and to lifelong learning, organized from early childhood to the university level and beyond. To summarize, the architectural programming and design process that truly respects learners is informed by the physical, developmental, and curricular needs of children throughout their education and into adult life. An understanding of the learner and learning styles grows into an ...
Part Three: Reading the Three-Dimensional Textbook with the Knowing Eye
Chapter Seven: Manifestations for Learning
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Educational concepts can be woven into the structure of a school, making it an active rather than a passive space for learning. The “informed” learning environment is a three-dimensional textbook or teaching tool intentionally filled with rich cues or prompts for learning. A cue is defined in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary as a “feature indicating the nature of ...
Chapter Eight: Connecting Manifestations to Learning through Curriculum and Post-occupancy Evaluation
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Architects become educators when they design potent learning environments. They expand their role when they compile and write guidelines for occupants of buildings, just as manufacturers produce manuals and DVDs explaining how to use the products and appliances we buy. This can be done in many ways. David Macaulay’s The Way Things Work (1988) is an excellent ...
Stewardship Forum Three
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It is time to dissolve the literal and figurative walls that isolate schools from their communities. The total community is an interdisciplinary environment that can be seen as a treasure chest of learning manifestations and educational resources. Parks and rural areas teach about nature, ecology, stewardship, and science; businesses teach skills and varied content through internships, apprenticeships, and work programs; systems thinking is manifested in local ...
Part Four: Seeing the Future of the Learning Environment with the Knowing Eye
Chapter Nine: Beyond the Existing Classroom
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I hesitate to use the word classroom because it conjures an old picture that I would like to see replaced with a new multifaceted and flexible image. In The Language of School Design (2005), architects Prakash Nair and Randall Fielding ask, “Is the classroom obsolete?” Their answer is yes, but with the caveat that thousands of new classrooms are being added each year, joining the millions that already exist. ...
Chapter Ten: Learning Landscapes
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The school of the future is designed as a whole, with equal design emphasis placed on the geological site as well as the school facility. School grounds as we know them today, however, rarely reflect the importance of place in our lives. Travel across our incredibly varied nation through several life zones and you will see virtually identical playgrounds surrounded by ...
Stewardship Forum Four
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Biophilia means “love of nature.” Edward O. Wilson describes biophilia as the instinctive bond between humans and other living systems. Our affiliations with nature are rooted in our biology. According to a 2006 online article on the Building Green Web site, we should care about biophilia in building design for two main reasons: ...
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To paraphrase an old saying, the architectural “skins” we create—the new learning environments—must be filled with new “wine” or models of learning. New facilities are not enough without new ideas and strategies for learning. The core narrative of this book presents a model or process for thinking deeply about the future of education, the rights and delights of children, and the qualities of environments that support learning. It is intended to be ...
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As I near the end of the writing process, I have felt a moral imperative to articulate the implications of my work in broader terms. Linking architecture and education is a microcosm for thinking in a more integrated, interdisciplinary, cooperative way in all the ventures we undertake. There is a greater message behind the spaces that we inhabit and use. Our behavior is modulated by our environment, and the places we create say something about our humanity. ...
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No person works alone on this planet. This book includes not only my ideas and experiences but is closely woven into the larger efforts of professionals who have spent their lives working for the betterment of architecture, education, and mankind, especially children. I am indeed indebted to many people for their support and help in my life work and in particular, this book. I am especially grateful to Katie Enggass ...
Appendix A: Design Education Portfolio Rubric
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Appendix B: Ideas for Future Research
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Appendix C: Sample User’s Manual from Edward Mazria
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Glossary of Key Terms and Phrases
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References and Resources
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Page Count: 471
Illustrations: 475 color photographs
Publication Year: 2009