Whether it’s a kindergarten or a university campus, the spaces in which we learn directly influence how knowledge is absorbed. as we continue our TOP 10 round up of the year’s most talked about projects, we take a look at 10 schools and educational buildings from 2021 that demonstrated how educational architecture can enhance concentration, stimulate creativity, and spark imagination.
THE ARC AT GREEN SCHOOL BALI BY IBUKU
Design firm IBUKU collaborated with jörg stamm and atelier one to form ‘the arc’, an intricate bamboo structure emerging as the latest addition to the campus of the world-renowned green school in bali, indonesia. the design employs one of nature’s greatest strategies, achieving geometric strength through curving surfaces while generating a massive volume that still manages to appear delicate and lightweight. the project emphasizes IBUKU’s devotion to bamboo as a construction material, highlighting its durability, malleability, as well as its beauty.
RAJKUMARI RATNAVATI GIRL’S SCHOOL IN INDIA BY DIANA KELLOGG ARCHITECTS
With the goal of promoting gender parity and empowering women, non-profit organization CITTA foundation partnered with diana kellogg architects to realize an all-girls school in the heart of rajasthan’s arid desert landscape in india. the monumental building forms the first part of the GYAAN center, CITTA’s three-phase project to provide a girl’s school, women’s cooperative and a performance and art exhibition space. the oval-shaped school is the first structure to be completed and it’s designed to host 400 students from kindergarten to 10th grade, who will learn literacy skills as well as traditional artisan techniques unique to the region.
TIANJIN JUILLIARD SCHOOL IN CHINA BY DILLER SCOFIDIO + RENFRO
In 2015, the juilliard school, new york’s premier performing arts conservatory, announced plans to build a campus in the chinese city of tianjin — 45 minutes from downtown beijing by high-speed train. two years later, the school broke ground and, despite the pandemic, the building opened to students in late 2020. located in binhai’s yujiapu financial district, the building was designed by diller scofidio + renfro (DS+R), the same firm responsible for the 2009 expansion of juilliard’s new york home as part of its lincoln center masterplan. ‘we were really cognizant of wanting to make the juilliard project not just an educational facility, but also a community facility,’ explains charles renfro, partner at DS+R, speaking at a virtual tour of the project attended by designboom. ‘we wanted to make it become part of the daily lives of those people that work, play, and live in the binhai district.’
KINDERGARTEN ENGELBACH IN AUSTRIA BY INNAUER MATT ARCHITEKTEN
With the new engelbach kindergarten, innauer matt architekten introduced a unique and design-minded space for children. sited in lustenau, austria, the project is expressed with a warm timber material palette and delicate, perforated facade — combining the spirit of its context with a contemporary architectural language. the exterior space plays an important role. a large yard, together with its playground, is thoughtfully landscaped to encourage children and families to spent time outdoors. facing the grindel canal, the kindergarten offers children and residents of the area a place which echoes the atmosphere of the countryside.
KINDERGARTEN ENGELBACH IN AUSTRIA BY INNAUER MATT ARCHITEKTEN
OPEN architecture‘s ‘new school’ campus in shanghai featured an organic constellation of thirteen unique buildings. given the brief of a new school for 2,000 students aged from 3 to 15, the design team sought to avoid the dreariness of a single building in which children will spend twelve years at once. the project thus redefines what modern educational institutions should look like. with this in mind, the project marks a break from the prevailing model of the school as a megastructure. instead, the program is deconstructed and regrouped into a village of small and unique buildings. together with the landscape in between, these clustered structures form a diverse and vibrant educational campus.
STARTUP LIONS CAMPUS IN KENYA BY KÉRÉ ARCHITECTURE
Located on the banks of lake turkana, kenya, the ‘startup lions campus’ by kéré architecture took its cues from the towering mounds built by termite colonies in the region. the education building is topped with tall ventilation towers that naturally cool its interiors while creating a landmark in the surroundings. set over two levels that follow the site’s natural slope, the campus is built out of locally sourced quarry stone with a plaster finish.
DEAKIN UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL IN AUSTRALIA BY WOODS BAGOT
A triumphant and sculptural form, woods bagot completed a university building for deakin law school in melbourne. the new law building introduces an iconic new landmark for the area, creating a point of orientation for students and visitors to the elevated campus. the structure is expressed as two distinct pieces — a softly spiraling zinc-clad volume, and a tower of fluted concrete and vertical strip windows.
ZILING CHANGXING KINDERGARTEN IN CHINA BY X+LIVING
x+living unveiled a new kindergarten in huzhou, china, referencing the idea of a museum that interprets the concept of knowing by seeing. encompassing 12,800 sqm (around 137,000 square feet), the kindergarten aims to return education to its essence and strives to build a platform for children to grow up naturally, independently and freely.
LIANGZHU CAMPUS AT CHINA ACADEMY OF ART IN CHINA BY ATELIER FCJZ
For the china academy of art (CAA), atelier FCJZ designed the liangzhu campus in hangzhou. at liangzhu, this art-based comprehensive university plans to have four academic divisions, which are college of innovative design, college of art management, college of foundational education, and college of continuing education and will house 3,000 full-time students and 1,000 continuing education students.
TERAKOYA PRIMARY SCHOOL IN UGANDA BY TERRAIN ARCHITECTS
A human scale and a sense of openness are two of the key features of terakoya primary school in nansana, uganda, designed by terrain architects. located on a gently sloping site on the outskirts of the ugandan capital, the educational building was commissioned by ashinaga uganda, an NGO that supports students who have lost one or both parents.