Designing classrooms for children is one of life's pleasures for us at M2architecture. As with so many school design projects in Tasmania, classroom design is driven by a combination of economy, practicality, sustainability and energy efficiency, but there is also the fun factor that is often missing in the corporate or residential sector.
Young children especially approach life with a sense of fun and wonder, and often in a creative way, so for M2architecture it is important to encourage that in our building – we pay attention to scale and detail, ensuring that it will work for the children that will occupy the spaces. Often our response will be to incorporate some architectural building features that will allow the children to adapt their play, and to allow them to see out and through the spaces.
Higher Needs Classroom Design
Some higher needs children respond to carefully chosen colours (generally more muted tones) and feel safe in more contained spaces. In one of our recent Windermere Primary school design projects the playground design elements provided some safe play spaces that are partly enclosed and of more intimate scale, and our windows have also been positioned, shaped and scaled to allow smaller children to enjoy a more special experience.
Classroom Design Requirements
Tasmanian classroom requirements will vary for every age group, but some requirements are common for all age groups - some of the most requested classroom features that we are asked to design into spaces are:
· Light– lots of natural light
· Good air flow
· Lots of display area
· Storage– nearly every teacher will tell you that there is never enough storage
· Design for flexibility of usage
Designing for early education
Many of the Early Years class rooms around Hobart have a focus on enquiry based learning and nature based play so when we are designing we aim to create good physical and visual connections to outdoor areas – helping with natural light and ventilation, but it will also facilitate outdoor learning opportunities. Building in generous and well organized storage areas allows the teachers to keep their teaching resources at their fingertips.
Classrooms can be very active spaces and therefore it is important to consider what surfaces will provide the correct solutions. Things to consider include:
· Acoustic performance
· Colour impact