Life Lessons

Aug. 5, 2003
Let the learning begin.
Whenever summer draws to an end, my thoughts always turn to school. Backpacks, new notebooks, freshly sharpened No. 2 pencils: I grow nostalgic for St. Raymond’s, a modest brick school building in a corner of Philadelphia. I can distinctly remember the classrooms of my youth. However, looking over the classrooms featured in this month’s BI, I scarcely recognize them. Computer-focused design has dramatically changed the way educational facilities function. From floor to ceiling, technology has morphed every aspect of how these facilities are created. For example, the Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning, located on the Stanford University campus in California, is a showcase facility. Each classroom is fully equipped to support collaboration technology and features a front porch area for informal meetings. Classrooms also link to a theater space for lectures and events. In addition to being transformed by technology needs, educators are updating classrooms to improve the educational environment. A rising trend is that school officials, parents, and design professionals are examining issues that impact the education process. Acoustics, lighting, mechanical systems, and ergonomics are changing the way schools and training facilities look. Looking back on my days at St. Ray’s, I remember that along with good penmanship and the multiplication tables I was taught the importance of always striving for excellence and that learning is a lifelong process. This important lesson can be seen in different ways in well-designed classrooms across the country — innovative design to promote creativity and communication. By focusing on the sweeping changes within the educational market, Buildings Interiors is hoping to show how these lessons can be duplicated and interpreted in a variety of applications.Let the learning begin.– Regina Raiford Babcock, Senior Editor ([email protected])

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