Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Is the Education Revolution Boring?

It was interesting to see a recent news article in the Australian titled "
School designs 'outdated' as rushed Kevin Rudd rebuild a missed opportunity
". In this article "the global head of architecture giant Woods Bagot's educational division has called for a move away from outdated school design templates and towards modern, collaborative learning classrooms, while warning that the Rudd government's schools rebuild is being rushed." Also quoted in the article "is head of the Australian Institute of Architects, David Parken, [who] urged the government to consider environmental sustainability during the primary school rebuilding rollout. Mr Parken said the plan was relying on 10-year-old templates "pulled out of the bottom drawer" and said a vital chance to reduce CO2 emissions was being missed."

I'm a librarian (and I don't work in a school and I don't work for the Victorian Government) so have no agenda or axe to grind in this dispute; and where I recognise that Woods Bagot is indeed one of Australia's leading and most innovative architectural firms, I wonder whether they have seen the Victorian Government school templates. These templates are designed by the architectural firm of Gray Puksand and they appear to be anything but boring. They also seem to support and promote environmental sustainability.

Back to Woods Bagot for a minute, this firm designed the University of South Australia's Future Learning Space. While this space is very corporate looking, and as a result probably not suitable for a school, it did win an interior design award in 2009 and so is worth the look.

You can view a fly through of the Victorian Government design templates at the following URL.

http://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/public/video/esp-primary-flythrough.mov

The Victorian Department of Education has not posted them on YouTube because that would make too much sense. Like derr, why would you want to make them readily available to everyone when you can bury them in www.eduweb.vic.gov.au.

Speaking of good library design, the Brisbane City Library by the firm of Denton Corcker Marshall ticks lots of boxes. While this is not a school library there is lots of things you could apply in a school library. They have done some some very interesting with their use of space, their dedicated sports and gaming areas has been very popular, they have a great kids area, and technology is interwoven throughout the design. Check out the following images, or see more at the always popular Free Range Librarian's Flickr album.

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