A prototype for innovative approaches to education: Koç Model School
...Let’s take a closer look at Koç Model School... It’s a four-story building; on the lower two floors are spaces dedicated to community. The dining space has the ability to turn into a space where the community can gather, and it can also turn into a place of performance. It has a really nice gymnasium that also serves as a shelter in earthquakes. As you move upward there are clusters of different disciplines on each floor, and each hall has a shared center space. That was done consciously because we believe that this center space will help advocate interdisciplinary learning. Just the design of the space allows for serendipitous connections, running into other disciplines on that floor. We call these learning clusters “learning hubs”. There are three learning hubs dedicated to each of the disciplines and at the center of these is a project studio that they open out to and share. The project studio is meant to have the agility to really curate a project over a long period of time, it is a shared space.
Learning hubs for the arts and sciences are located on the same floor and are linked by a community space in the center which connects not only horizontally but also vertically. There is a mathematics hub, a science and technology hub, there is an art learning hub, there are studios dedicated to artwork, including 3-D artwork, there is a design and technology hub, learning hubs dedicated to languages, to music, a dance studio. The school is filled with this sense of twenty-first century skills, allowing a collision of the arts and the sciences that is really critical. We are also advocating for very agile furniture that allows the changing of these learning spaces from instruction to collaboration without much effort. We are also advocating for technology to become completely embedded, so to take away the need to plug and unplug in the environment. We have also brought some green space into the building itself.
Everything we build now has to be regenerative, has to use less energy, has to celebrate the core values and essence of us as human beings, meaning having access to daylight, access to view, access to green space, access to fresh air, access to our ability to adjust our own environment. This is why we need to understand properly who we are designing for and how they would like to interact with each other. That is the core of learning: interaction, how we treat each other, how we want to be treated. In fact, insight we have today about how the brain works is telling us that learning is most effective when we do things, make things, when we actually have the ability to create something physical. Learning is no longer just thinking about facts and theories, about acquiring knowledge, but about how we activate this knowledge.
“Conversation with Trung Le, Head Designer at Cannon Design Educational Group”, VKV 2012 Activity Report, pp. 9-11