School architecture is a culmination of design and education. This typology is one of the most challenging typologies to design as it has to cater to the children of growing age, and at the same time, it has to help them learn as well.
When we look at worldwide examples, we can see many interesting attempts made which formulate better learning conditions and act as a community centre, and sometimes even as an answer to critical conditions of providing a learning centre in states that lack basic amenities. We can also see the school design as a typology that is more grounded, flexible, playful yet as a foundation to formal education.
So, here are 25 noteworthy schools across the globe that deserve your special attention:
1. Rajkumari Ratnavati Girls’ School
Location: Salkha, Rajasthan, India
Architect: Diana Kellog Architects
Special Feature(s): Fort-like, Sandstone
Located on the sand dunes of the Thar desert, this school is designed by the New York-based Diana Kellog Architects. The school blends with the landscape around yet stands out like a fort. This school caters to about 400 students of the age group between 5 years to 16 years. The design is an oval-shaped fort-like structure built out of locally available Jaisalmer sandstone crafted by local artisans.
2. The ARC At Green School
Architect: IBUKU Architects
Special Feature(s): Bamboo
Although the ARC was a new addition to the existing Green school, which was 12 years old, this structure is one of its kind and is an extraordinary example of bamboo architecture. This structure takes its shape from the ribcage in the human body, which takes the compression and the muscles and skin take the tension. Here, in this case, the arches take compression, and the anticlastic grid shells bear the tension load.
3. School in Laterite stone
Location: Niamey, Niger
Architect: Article 25
Special Feature(s): Laterite
About 44.5% of people of Niamey, Niger, are below the poverty line, and about 6.6% have only received secondary education. Building a school for this city was a challenge to the Architects of Article 25 team. As a response to these conditions and the harsh temperature of Niamey that rises to about 40 degrees easily, they have made use of passive design technologies to reduce the temperatures. Here, laterite was a locally available material that was used for construction. This design emphasizes change.
4. School of Alfa Omega
Location: Kosambi, Indonesia
Architect: Realrich Architecture Workshop
Special Feature(s): Metal and Bamboo
This project was built to uphold the spirit of Locality. Here the building is raised 2.1 m above ground to deal with the unstable soil conditions. The idea was to make children feel close to nature and emphasize outdoor learning; hence, the site was chosen accordingly. We can see that local craftsmanship is made use of effectively here. The metal structure at the ground level withstands the load of the superstructure efficiently, and the bamboo roof on top is a parabolic element that allows flexibility.
5. Jojutla school
Architect: Taller De Arquitectura
Special Feature(s): Arches
This school was a prototype that was tried after Mexico’s schools were affected by earthquakes in 2017. This prototype was developed to be earthquake-resistant structures so that such events of an earthquake would not affect the schools. The structure comprises 2 directional arches and coffered flat slabs at the top. The arches ensure rigidity, and concrete is used as the primary materials, which is complemented by the wood used for doors, lattices, pergolas, and so on.
6. Community canvas school
Location: Sawarpada, India
Special Feature(s): Canvas
The community school, Sawarpada, was initially a small school of 2 rooms for 40 students and 2 teachers. Due to lack of resources, the teachers effectively made use of floors, walls, etc., for teaching. The current design concept aimed to build a low height curved wall instead of several small ones that could bridge interaction between the community and school.
The school has a circular courtyard in the centre, enveloped by the circular plinth area, encompassing the amphitheatre further wrapped by the circular wall. The circular wall has inverted arches, which help the village link with the school and also act as a play element to the children. This circular wall acts as a canvas that can take various forms during various events.
7. Farming Kindergarten
Architect: Vo Trong Nghia Architects
Special Feature(s): Rooftop Farming
Built for the children of the factory workers of Vietnam, the Farming Kindergarten is a magnificent three-ringed continuous green roof that contains all the functions under one roof. Vietnam’s increasing dependence on a manufacturing-based economy is taking it away from being primarily an agriculture-based economy. And, Hence, mostly the children remain disconnected from the green spaces and agricultural lands.
But, here, VTN architects have attempted to convert the roof as a green roof that connects back to agriculture, allowing students to get in touch with farming.
8. Valladolid Space Agora
Location: Valladolid, Spain
Architect: Julián Zapata Jiménez, Pablo Moreno Mansilla
Special Feature(s): Rising Ramp
The design comprises a ramp that gradually rises with a constant slope giving rise to terraces and new spaces. These multiplying spaces signify growth. The open spaces aim to increase interaction both visually and physically, which help build a bond among pupils.
9. Bomma’s Halte Primary School
Location: Worcester, South Africa
Architect: Meyer & Associates Architects
Special Feature(s): Towers
Built to replace a dilapidated old farm school, the school caters to the farmworker community and serves about 250 children. The building has incorporated sustainability principles and sits harmoniously on the site. The towers derive their form from traditional corbelled huts, ant heaps and are set beautifully into the landscape.
10. Inside Out School
Location: Abetenim, Ghana
Architect: Andrea Tabocchini & Francesca Vittorini
Special Feature(s): Earth and Wood
Built as a prototype as the only school in the town was destroyed by harsh winds. The school was built by hand due to lack of electricity in 60 days, with a tight budget of 12000€. The design follows sustainable principles. The walls are built of compact local earth, and the wooden structure sits lightly over the walls allowing the roof above to float lightly.
The design subsides the partition between the indoor areas to the outdoor area, allowing the classrooms to connect outside rather than being just indoor units.