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.
take a look at the TOP 10 schools and educational stories featured on designboom over the past 12 months, from an oval-shaped girl’s school in rural india to a timber wrapped kindergarten in austria. see the list in full below.
image by tommaso riva
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.
image by vinay panjwani
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.
image by zhang chao
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.’
image © adolf bereuter
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.
image © wu qingshan
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.