Saturday, February 27, 2010

Week 6: Design Development: Social Spaces for Learning

During the rest of Week 5 and this week, the students developed their Design Proposals using various techniques such as sketching, model-making, time-lapse video and 3D computer modelling. Sean W has proposed making the Canteen the hub of the school by expanding the existing canteen and connecting it to the North Courtyard and Yard on either side. He has been working on a 1:50 model of this space and, with Andrew's assistance, has been experimenting with how sunlight enters its new perforated roof using a desk lamp and a digital camera:

Meanwhile, James has been thinking of a suitable layout for a free-standing Common Room for 5th and 6th years, combining study, relaxation, internet and kitchen area. This will replace an existing prefab in the South Courtyard and will provide passive surveillance of the bike lock-up, a regular target for bike thieves.

The time lapse video of the Yard, organised by Chris and Patrick, has been used to investigate the use of this space over the course of a day. They observed that students either congregate in the Shelter at the edge of this large, blank space or cross it to go from one area to another - they rarely stand in the middle. This valuable insight is helping the students to think of ways to make better use of this space, also bearing in mind that the Yard is used as a car park in the evenings by members of the public who rent the sports pitches - an important source of income for the school. Thanks to James for suggesting the music!

The Building Analysis also highlighted a need to enliven the many, long, monotonous corridors of the school. As an example of a small scale social space, the students were also asked to design a Bench for the foyer of the North Entrance. Here is a video of Andrew explaining his idea for a bench:

Michael has been using a free download of Google Sketchup to construct a 3D digital model of the school campus. He is learning how to create a virtual 'walk through' and will soon add the designs proposed by the other students. Here is an example of his work to date: