Curl la Tourelle Head Architecture (CLTH) has imagined a new design approach for classrooms when schools reopen as the lockdown eases in the UK. The architecture practice based in London has released an innovative concept “to help mitigate restricted circulation routes within schools and maintain the necessary social distancing among pupils and staff”.
As the UK government announces its plans to reopen primary schools starting June, CLTH has addressed the challenges of social distancing and safety in these establishments. In fact, the proposal presented is a temporary vision aiming to “help liberate existing internal school space taking the pupil load off circulation areas, but also enhance air-flow contributing to individuals’ wellbeing”.
In contemplating with our children on how schools might return to normal after the lockdown, my partner Marianne Christiansen inspired me to consider outdoor learning, something that schools in Denmark have already adopted for their classes using tent-like structures. — Wayne Head, Director, CLTH
In order to suggest an architectural response, CLTH has based its concept on initial research and analysis carried out by its team, and generated a “series of pop-up, tent-like structures, each of which is arranged to follow the two-meter social distancing rules with the adaptability to host different classroom setups”.
Our education design team, led by my colleague Simon Bumstead, then carried out a series of studies and came up with the idea of transferring a proportion of teaching provision into temporary structures, using large-scale tents typically seen at festivals. […] This is by no means our answer to what classrooms should look like in the future. We wanted to use this as a catalyst for further discussions, to rethink how schools can be designed and used beyond COVID-19. -- Wayne Head, Director, CLTH
Using marquees and portable bathroom facilities, with renewable energy sources like PV arrays and solar evacuated tubes for hot water heating, the project aims to utilize existing resources, not used during this pandemic. Moreover, staff and students will be encouraged to establish clockwise movements within and outside the structures, to avoid crossings. The simple and adaptable concept can be applied to different outdoor settings, encouraging new public spaces practices. In fact, the concept suggests opening up the streets to people, maximizing the use of residential areas, and encouraging safe community integration.
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