dima
  • [concept] The Peripatetic School

    [May 2010 - University of Plymouth - Year 3 Design Project] Briefed to work within or be reflective of the (now defunct) Building Schools for the Future initiative in order to completely redevelop this ‘hodge-podge’ of a school. I elected for a blur of modernised Aristotlean ‘peripatetic’ pedagogy with participatory [an]architectural theory to design a scheme that adopted a pragmatic and objective approach to salient problems within the school. The proposal appears superficially conservative, perhaps almost reverential with regard to the existing architecture: a variety of system-built units and earlier school archetypes from the past 100 years. I took this approach in consideration partially around ideas of sustainability and reuse, but also with regard to the extremely weak state of the economy in late 2009 and early 2010 (the B.S.F. programme would be entirely revoked as soon as the conservative government took power in June of that year). 'Peripatetic' pedagogy invokes literal walking and talking teachers with small groups of students in tow. The process is a natural flow and stopping through spaces potentially related to the subject being tought, coupling learning within a particular spatial experience and exercise. Building upon the prerequisite for much reduced teacher-student ratios by redirecting funding from top-down development to bottom-up wages, the project instigates a series of simple 'peripatoi' covered walkways and nodal forum spaces for informal teaching both within the school and extending out into the community. Every aspect of the design is intended to encourage the disassembly or manifestation of the existing buildings by the user. The building evokes Jonathan Hill’s ‘Creative User’ in the occupants by agglomerating classroom space, employing more liberal teaching methods and encouraging the autonomous creation and responsibility over space.