Three steps forward.
client10 School "Teodor Trayanov"
usersPre-schoolers, students 7-18 y/o, teachers
We were invited to offer a fresh new perspective to the school’s spaces and overall layout. The progressive school principal wanted to set a new standard in the reconstruction of school buildings in Bulgaria. After a detailed research through conversations, observations and interviews with the principal, teachers and students, the challenge focused further in the following directions:
- Rethinking the school canteen as a desirable place for eating, communicating and learning .
- Integrating experiential learning spaces: STEM center and makerspace in the heart of the first floor.
- More space for movement, especially for younger children inside or close to their classrooms. More gym space.
- Reorganization of the entrances and flows of parents and children, which are currently intersected and create congestions in the lobby area.
- Not enough space for pre-grade school.
Our design strategy consisted of three major transformations a.k.a “Three steps forward”, which the school can execute in stages.
First, we proposed to move the school canteen to the ground floor by building an additional space directly connected to the entrance and school lobby. Nicknamed the “heart”, it is a multifunctional space where children not only eat, but also communicate, collaborate on different projects, play games, perform and organize exhibitions. The stage and amphitheater act as a centerpiece and turn the whole space into a presentation or theater stage.
We also placed the new STEM center right next to the “heart” zone, so that they are in direct communication and remain visible and enticing for visitors and the learning community as a whole. The STEM houses new technologies and experiments with robots and consists of 4 learning spaces:
- Virtual zSpace Lab
- Practical laboratory
- The student accelerator: a place for movement and rest
- Makerspace, equipped with 3d printers, sewing machines and all sorts of tools for prototyping projects
As the second step, we designed a new wing for the little ones (preschool and first grade) with a unique design and organization around a “school living room” that creates the feeling of home with its soft furnishings; it serves both as a core and as an extension of the learning process in the rooms. A key benefit for children is the “move-it” playroom, a direct result of our research. It is not just a small room, but a place where children can spend their excess energy at any time and move their bodies for better concentration.
The third step we proposed is an expansion and improvement of the Sports zone: in addition to increasing the gym with another sports field and grandstands, the space can be partitioned or divided around a new stage for theater and school concerts. In this way the school will be able to host not only sports competitions and celebrations, but also lease the hall and stage to the neighborhood community in the evenings, weekends or holidays.
arch. Krassimir Krumov