Text description provided by the architects. The value of aesthetic education courses is gradually becoming acknowledged in education circles. New Taipei Municipal Xintai Junior High School leads the way in advocating the transformation of classroom spaces for the purposes of aesthetic education.
After deliberating that the classroom spaces used by students would also become an aspect of aesthetics education, the design team came up with the concept of Aesthetic Lab. The hope is that the classroom will become a place for student’s to seek and explore aesthetics knowledge, turning it into a receptacle for the chemical reaction between rational knowledge and perceptual imagination.
The first step of the transformation process was making the space a blank canvas. Encompassed by white interior walls and ceilings, children’s rich and diverse imaginations are able to run freely. The entire front wall of the classroom is a whiteboard, freeing teachers from the constraints of traditional blackboards, while the back wall gradually graduates from a white color to a mirrored surface, expanding sense of space while marking the transition between fantasy and reality. Furthermore, in order to give students a more complete and pure visual experience, the colors of the space were strictly controlled, with all of the facilities and equipment inside the classroom rendered white.
The only colors that were left to flow throughout the space were the four primary colors.
The colors flowing down from the ceiling are the visual focal point of the entire space. The central island integrates water faucets, outlets, storage space, and other functions in the center of the classroom. The purpose of centralized storage is to return the space to the users by maximizing the usage area and accommodating the moving of student desks and folding chairs used for meeting the needs of different course requirements. For example, the space appearance can be rearranged freely for the usages of small group creation, lectures, and exhibitions. During the modification of storage spaces, teachers were also advised to cooperate in using storage boxes to classify teaching materials and equipment.
The placement of the storage boxes can be adjusted according to size and frequency of use in order to more effectively utilize teaching materials and avoid unnecessary clutter. Students can also use the top of the central island’s storage cupboard as a tabletop for project operations such as editing projects. Additionally, it can be used as a platform for the display of projects at semester-end exhibitions, wherein upon students’ replacing of the ceiling’s rail-mounted lights with projection lights to illuminate their projects, the classroom is transformed into an exhibition space. It is hoped that through the presentation of works in the exhibitions, students can achieve a new level of experience in aesthetics learning, and even connect it with life experiences.
Learning from experience is another one of this space’s design strategies.
The space adheres to the visual composition techniques of equal balance, centering, and symmetry, and applies the golden ratio to the dimensions of the items inside the classroom. While intangible concepts are conveyed to students, the flowing lines on the floor are a manifestation of the knowledge applied within the space. The four colors draw out the central axis of the space and the golden ratio, doubling as teaching materials for aesthetics exploration in the classroom. And since this classroom has already been imbued with rich knowledge, it is up to the students to come in and make discoveries.
“Aesthetic Lab” is an educational space where rationality is used to narrate aesthetics, as well as a place where creative sensibilities flow freely and a laboratory for the reactions produced by the blending of imaginations."