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Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools
D e s i g n S h a r e
I n answer i ng these questi ons author s Pr akash Nai r and Randal l Fi el di ng expl ai n how the bui l t
envi r onment i s not onl y the pl ace of l ear ni ng, but al so the psyche of l ear ni ng. They expl ai n
how to shape the bui l di ngs i n whi ch we l ear n so that they ar e tr ul y the most vi si bl e
mani f estati on of our f utur e aspi r ati ons as a soci ety.
The Language of School Desi gn i s a semi nal wor k because i t def i nes a new gr aphi c vocabul ar y
that synthesi zes l ear ni ng r esear ch wi th best pr acti ce i n school pl anni ng and desi gn. But i t i s
mor e than a book about i deas. I t i s al so a pr acti cal tool and a must- have r esour ce f or al l
school stakehol der s i nvol ved i n pl anni ng, desi gni ng and constr ucti ng new and r enovated
school s and eval uati ng the educati onal adequacy of exi sti ng school f aci l i ti es.
"Why do school s l ook t he way t hey do? Why i s t her e a chasm bet ween wi del y
acknowl edged best pr act i ce pr i nci pl es and t he act ual desi gn of a maj or i t y of school
f aci l i t i es? Why has t he di sconnect bet ween l ear ni ng r esear ch and l ear ni ng pl aces been
so di f f i cul t t o r epai r ?"
Pr akash Nai r i s a par tner wi th Fi el di ng Nai r I nter nati onal , an
awar d- wi nni ng school pl anni ng f i r m and Managi ng Edi tor of
Desi gnShar e. com. Pr i or to that, he ser ved f or 10 year s as Di r ector
of Oper ati ons f or New Yor k Ci ty' s mul ti bi l l i on- dol l ar school
constr ucti on pr ogr am. Nai r i s wi del y publ i shed, has keynoted
conf er ences and consul ted i n 19 states i n the U. S. and 10
countr i es on f our conti nents.
Randal l Fi el di ng i s a par tner wi th Fi el di ng Nai r I nter nati onal and
the Founder /Edi tor i al Di r ector of Desi gnShar e. com, bui l di ng i t
f r om the gr ai n of an i dea i n 1998 i nto the wor l d' s l ar gest and
most pr esti gi ous f or um f or i nnovati ve school s. Bef or e star ti ng
Desi gnShar e, Fi el di ng r an hi s own ar chi tectur al consul ti ng f i r m f or
17 year s i n Chi cago. Fi el di ng i s r ecogni zed as one of the wor l d' s
f or emost cr eati ve and i nnovati ve school ar chi tects, and i s the
r eci pi ent of numer ous desi gn awar ds.
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Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools
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Endorsed by the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities
and KnowledgeWorks Foundation
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Design Patterns for
21st Century Schools
Prakash Nair & Randall Fielding
De s i g n S h a r e
DESIGNSHARE.COM
THE LANGUAGE OF SCHOOL DESIGN: Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools
$35/Architecture/Education/School Reform
Copyright © 2005
DesignShare.com, Prakash Nair and Randall Fielding
ISBN 0-9762670-0-4
Endorsed by:
National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities
The KnowledgeWorks Foundation
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Cover Photos: Canning Vale Community College, Perth, Western Australia by Keith Lightbody
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viii
Language of School Design
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi
Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiii
Foreword. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xvii
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1
Enriching the Four Realms of Human Experience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
The 25 Patterns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
The Pattern Language Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
Classrooms, Learning Studios, Advisories and Small Learning Communities . . . . . .17
Welcoming Entry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31
Student Display Space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33
Home Base and Individual Storage. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35
Science Labs, Arts Labs and Life Skills Areas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37
Art, Music and Performance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41
Physical Fitness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43
Casual Eating Areas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45
Transparency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47
Interior and Exterior Vistas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49
Dispersed Technology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51
Indoor-Outdoor Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53
Furniture: Soft Seating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57
Flexible Spaces. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59
Campfire Space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61
Watering Hole Space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63
Cave Space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67
Designing for Multiple Intelligences. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69
Daylight and Solar Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73
Natural Ventilation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75
Full Spectrum Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .77
Sustainable Elements and Building as 3-D Textbook. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79
Local Signature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .83
Connected to the Community . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .87
Bringing It All Together. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89
Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .93
The Great Learning Street Debate. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .97
The Future: Should We Stop Building Schools? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .103
Developing Patterns. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .109
About the Authors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .112
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .114
Pattern Submission Form. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .117
Endorsements & Sponsors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .118
ix
Introduction
1
Inspired by Alexander
When Christopher Alexander wrote A
Pattern Language more than 25 years
ago, he approached architecture
from a unique perspective. He looked
at the real world of people plus the
buildings and spaces they inhabited
in order to understand the connec-
tions between the built environment
and the human psyche. Focusing on
architectural and landscape attributes
that worked, on places that felt pleas-
ant or were spiritually uplifting and to
which people were attracted rather
than turned off, Alexander was able
to identify many spatial "patterns" that
nourish the human communities they
support.
Interestingly, the larger body of
architectural work, in the period
immediately following the publication
of Alexander's ground-breaking book,
does not appear to have affected
the way we build our homes, our
towns and cities. However, over time,
Alexander's work has gained credibility
as the ideas he presented have
begun to enter the scientific realm of
complexity theory, fractals and neural
networks—disciplines on the cutting
edge of science. The "connections"
between the built environment and
healthy communities that Alexander
was pointing out are now more
readily apparent. Today, we know
that human brains are actually hard-
wired to understand and respond to
patterns in all spheres of our life and,
particularly, to those that exist within
our built environments.
Our book, The Language of School
Design, does not claim to be
scientifically based. The book draws
upon our own experience as school
planners and the best practice of
school design from over 20 countries,
represented by hundreds of innovative
school designs that we have published
at DesignShare.com.
Why a Pattern Language for Schools?
We felt the need to develop a pattern
language for schools for the simple
reason that while Alexander's book
is now beginning to influence the
planning and design of healthy
communi ti es, transformation is
painstakingly slow in the world of
school design. Despite the fact that
the educational establishment itself has
embraced a number of innovative
approaches over the years, architects
often hear educators speak with a
vocabulary reminiscent of their own
Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools
childhood experiences in school
buildings designed for a different time.
Why do schools look the way they
do? Why is there a chasm between
widely acknowledged best practice
principles and the actual design of
a majority of school facilities? Why
has the connection between learning
research and educational structures
been so difficult to repair? These are the
questions that we have been grappling
with over the past decade as school
planners.
A Common Design Vocabulary
From our own experience and from
the research, we have begun to
understand that one of the biggest
roadblocks to innovation is the lack of
a common design vocabulary that all
school stakeholders can share. In other
words, there is no quick and elegant
fashion in which design ideas can be
developed and tested in a way that
truly involves all stakeholders.
Most of the larger school systems (and
many of the smaller ones as well) rely
on their own internal "quality control"
methods to develop schools. But the
inadvertent result of all this quality
control is a lot of sameness and little
innovation.
The climate in which schools are
developed today, with heavy reliance
on educational specifications, design
guidelines, exemplars and prototypes,
leaves little room for real creativity and
innovation. Educational specifications
create a school before it is created—
design guidelines are too prescriptive
(so that architects are often relegated
to the role of assembling pieces instead
of doing real design). Exemplars look
good on paper or may have worked
in certain specific circumstances,
2
but have little to do with the needs
of particular communities; and most
prototypes are about cookie-cutter
schools that don't even pretend to be
community specific. We firmly believe
that schools need to grow from a
shared vision. But we know that much
can be lost in the translation of a
written vision into built form. And so,
we need a graphic pattern language
to supplement the written words—a
pattern language that is so simple that
every participant in the planning process
can not only understand it, but actually
create their own patterns or easily
amend ones developed by their design
professionals. In this sense, our pattern
language differs from Alexander's in
that we wanted to create an actual,
usable design vocabulary for schools
as a living, changing thing—similar
to the spoken and written language
that changes as cultures grow and
change—but one that everybody can
use.
25 Patterns Are Only A Beginning
We want to emphasize that we are not
presenting these design patterns as a
comprehensive vocabulary for school
design. The 25 patterns contained
here only begin to define the graphic
language for the design of healthy and
functional learning environments. To
the extent possible, we have selected
patterns that represent certain universal
principles, though they are not to be
used as a template or prototype of
how any given element in a particular
school should be designed.
School designers should look at
these patterns as a starting point
for developing their own patterns or
modifying the ones provided here. Of
course, in certain circumstances, some
of these patterns will be usable without
modification.
The Language of School Design
Some Pattern Ideas That Need to Be
Further Developed
The professionals who reviewed this
book submitted many useful suggestions
that have already been incorporated
into this first edition. Some of these ideas
need to be explored further, and to do
this we are recruiting the book's future
"authors"—the readers—to create new
patterns that best represent these ideas.
Here is a small sampling of the areas that
will be developed in the next edition of
The Language of School Design:
• To what extent do state standards
and required curriculums dictate
the manner in which school
buildings are planned and
designed?
• Do the facilities created as a result of
such external educational forces
help or hurt learning goals?
• How does the physical design of a
school affect the social dynamics
of the school community?
The last issue has been partially
addressed via the various patterns in this
book that encourage social learning.
Some of the areas need to be looked
at further, such as the way in which
toilets can be designed and located
to mitigate the problem of bullying.
Other issues deal with the conditions
that seem to attract particular groups
of students to "territorialize" parts of the
school campus and how these areas
move back and forth between various
age groups as they progress through
school.
Diagrammatic and Illustrative Patterns
Each of the 25 patterns (and their
sub-patterns) in this book can be cat-
egorized as either diagrammatic or
illustrative.

Diagrammatic Patterns: A diagram-
matic pattern is a rough sketch of a
"big idea." In this sense, a diagram-
matic pattern is somewhat generic and
universal in scope. That doesn't mean
a diagrammatic pattern will represent
a spatial relationship that works in all
cases, but it is intended to represent a
particular philosophy of planning and
design, more than the actual design of
a particular school. See Figure I-1.
Diagrammatic patterns are useful early
in the planning process as a graphic
sounding board to gauge a client's
general educational philosophy and
design preferences. A diagrammatic
pattern can also be created very quickly
and "on-the-fly" to capture specific
ideas during planning and community
meetings. These kinds of early sketches
often influence the final design.
Illustrative Patterns: Illustrative patterns
are different from diagrammatic
patterns in one important respect—
they are more detailed. It is not unusual
for an illustrative pattern to also be
somewhat universal in scope. In general,
the more detailed the illustration is, the
Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools
Figure I-1. Diagrammatic pattern for cafés
at Goa International School, India. Planner:
Fielding Nair International (FNI); Architect: FNI
with Dennis Coelho and Suhasini Ayer.
less universal its scope. If this is so, why
bother with an illustrative pattern and
can it even qualify as a pattern? The
answer is yes. We believe that any
illustration can be a "pattern" as long
as it documents spatial relationships in
a way that communicates the big idea.
That is why diagrammatic patterns
intended to first introduce a big idea
often turn into illustrative patterns to
flesh out that big idea. In Figure I-
2 the illustrative pattern shows how
the design pattern fits into the overall
design process.
How to Use the Pattern Language
Method
Let us take a moment to introduce
how exactly our Pattern Language

Method can help in the design process
by looking at a specific example of its
use. Figure I-2 shows the stages in the
development of a cafeteria design for
a school that was aided by the use
of design patterns. This client originally
started with the idea of building a
typical large school "cafeteria." During
the course of the discussion utilizing the
Pattern Language Method, we were
able to understand how the cafeteria
should not only reinforce the school's
desire to create "community," but
also give a special identity to each of
its Small Learning Communities. We
understood that this could not be done
without somehow breaking down the
scale of the large cafeteria into smaller
cafés. However, because of financial
The Language of School Design
Figure I-2. Illustrative pattern for Goa International School shows how the Design Pattern fits into the
overall design process.
constraints, we needed to service all
the cafés utilizing one central kitchen.
These discussions led to a very rough
penciled pattern showing how three
separate cafés might be developed
that could be serviced by one central
kitchen (Figure I-1). Once the team
agreed with this direction, a more
illustrative pattern was developed
by the planning team that allowed
the architects to produce a scaled
schematic design drawing (Figure I-
2). Utilizing this system, we can break
down the communication barriers to
good design that often beset school
architecture.
In Pattern #25: Bringing It All Together
(Figures 25-1, 25-2, and 25-3), we look
at another example—this time for a
whole school. This is to demonstrate
how the Pattern Language Method
we are proposing is not only about the
elements that make up a school, but
also about effectively setting up the
design for a whole campus.
Knowing its value as an important aid
in the school planner's toolbox, we are
interested in continuously expanding
our graphic "vocabulary" and sharing
the information with all those involved
in the creation of schools and school
facilities. We have created a special
online interface at our website
(http://designshare.com/patterns) to
collect more graphic patterns from
the school planning community based
on their own experiences. Periodically,
we will review and edit the patterns
submitted and reissue this book in
electronic and print form.
The Numbering System for Design
Patterns
Our Language of School Design starts
with a look at 25 distinct "patterns," each
5
representing a distinct area of school
planning and design. The patterns are
numbered from 1 to 25. Within each
identified area, there are potentially
many different patterns or sub-patterns.
These become associated with the
original pattern. For example, we have
many patterns under the primary learning
area umbrella, the classroom in its many
iterations, which is Pattern #1.
As we move forward and new patterns
are added, we will determine first if the
pattern belongs in one of the original
25 "categories" already established. If it
does, we will add it to that category and
give it its appropriate number from 1 to
25 plus an alphabetical suffix a, b, c, etc.
On the other hand, if the pattern brings
a new idea to the table, it will get its own
number such as 26, 27 and so on.
The advantage to this system is that
Pattern #1 will always be the place
to go to for information about the
primary learning area: classrooms,
studios, Advisories and the like. Similarly,
entrance features will always be part
of Pattern #2, so people can quickly
refer to Pattern #2 for information about
entrances, or for example, to Pattern
#23 for sustainable design, no matter
which edition of the book they have.
With far less investment of money and
effort than the traditional system, where
designers and school stakeholders do
not share a common language of school
design, the Pattern Language Method
can help build consensus quickly, and
create superior designs.
Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools
Introduction
Enriching the Four Realms of Human Experience

It is clear that most school architecture
tends to look at spaces in a linear
way—that means we first decide what
a space would be used for and then we
design the space for that activity. This
kind of thinking ignores the complexity
and research about the human brain
and human experience, resulting in
the design of static spaces that inhibit
learning.
The reality is that the design of learning
environments is a complex assignment.
While the solutions may be simple or
elegant, they can almost never be
"simplistic." We need to understand the
complexity of the human experience
as noted above in order to understand
what "learning" is about. We also
need to recognize that it is almost
impossible to solve a design problem
unidimensionally. Everything we do
as designers impacts the users of the
space at many different levels.

What exactly in the whole range of
human experiences does The Pattern
Language Method encompass? In
response, we can say that it deals
with four major and simultaneous
realms of human experience—spatial,
psychological, physiological and
behavioral. Each of these realms is
characterized by multiple "attributes."
See Table I-1.
What is fascinating about this list is
the obvious interconnectedness of the
attributes across the four realms and the
fact that the interconnectedness is non-
linear. That means it is nearly impossible
to identify simple cause-and-effect
relationships between specific attributes
that would hold true always. These
relationships are always contextual, but
they are far from being outside our
ability to control. For example, research
tells us that as humans our sense of
sight (physiological realm) is a major
emotional (psychological realm) trigger.
We also know that our emotions can
elicit a physical response (behavioral
realm) such as laughter when we are
happy, facilitated to a lesser or greater
degree by the environment (spatial
realm).

Let us look, for example, at "Light on
Two Sides" in the original A Pattern
Language by Christopher Alexander,
which advocates having daylight
penetrate a room from more than one
direction. The purpose is to reduce
stark contrasts that characterize rooms
with only one window. Of course, if the
problem were simply one of lighting a
Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools
given space, it could be accomplished
with one window or even with adequate
artificial light but that would miss
Alexander's point, which goes to the
heart of how we as humans experience
our environment.
Going beyond individual patterns and
focusing on how they work together,
Alexander likes to refer to a building's
functional complexity using such words
as "dense" and "profound." He compares
a well-designed building to poetry as
opposed to prose, because the former
can be understood at many different
levels that go beyond the meaning of
the individual words. In the same way, a
good building can either "string together
patterns" without any real coherence
or assemble them to create poetry in
design form.
This is the fundamental thesis behind the
Pattern Language Method advocated
by Alexander and by us in this book;

that there are certain recognizable
"patterns" that define healthy spatial
relationships both at a micro and
macro level. Unlike Alexander's
ambitious work which encompasses
human environments at every scale,
we have limited our focus to the design
of learning environments. However,
we acknowledge that the learning
environment is actually nothing more
than one piece of a larger pattern
and that good planning requires that
each piece be respectful of the overall
patterns for communities and towns
that the original A Pattern Language
identifies. In this sense at least, it is
really impossible to ignore the larger
context in which a learning community
is situated. We have addressed this in a
limited way in Pattern #22, Connected
to the Community, but we strongly urge
our readers to read Alexander's A Pattern
Language for a treatise on the larger
spatial patterns in our communities,
towns and cities.
The Language of School Design
Table I-1. The four realms of human experience and their corresponding attributes.
Realms of Human
Experience Within
the Purview of School
Planning and Design
Spatial
Psychological
Physiological
Behavioral
Attributes
Intimate, Open, Bright, Closed, Active, Quiet, Connected to
Nature, Monumental, Technological
Soothing, Safe, Awe-Inspiring, Joyful, Playful, Stimulating,
Creative, Encouraging Reflection, Spiritually Uplifting,
Creating a Sense of Community
Warm, Cool, Cozy, Breezy, Healthy, Aromatic, Textured,
Visually Pleasing
Independent Study, Collaborative Work, Team Work, Physical
Fitness Activity, Research, Writing, Reading, Computer Work,
Singing, Dancing, Performing, Presenting, Large Group Work,
Communing With Nature, Designing, Building, Teaching,
Relaxing, Reflecting, Playing
To pass the test and qualify as a "pattern,"
there has to be a certain universality to its
application. A good example is Pattern
#12, Local Signature, which cites three
extremely diverse examples from Perth,
Western Australia, from Goa, India and
from Bridgehampton New York. Even
though the examples themselves would
seem to have nothing in common, the
common human experience they seek
to evoke ties them together within one
"pattern."

The Pattern Language Method is a
sensible way to provide room for these
various facets of our essential natures to
be stimulated, while at the same time
allowing for the wide range of human
interests and behavioral tendencies to
co-exist peacefully. An example of how
the four realms can be made to work in
practice is the placement of an art room
with natural lighting and a landscape
view (physiological and spatial realms)
intended to evoke a desired creative
response (behavioral realm) by ensuring
a suitable peaceful and reflective frame
of mind (psychological realm). The ability
to rearrange the room so that different
persons can organize themselves at
different times of the day for different
artistic activities makes the design more
robust. Our desire for flexibility must
not supercede our primary intent, which
is to positively manage the complex
relationship within the four realms in order
to create an environment conducive to
artistic endeavors.
It is also clear from the above discussion
that there is a certain synergy within the
patterns themselves—a point we touched
upon earlier. The above example for the
design of an art room borrows ideas from
various patterns in the book entitled:
Daylighting, Indoor–Outdoor Connection,
Student Display Space, Indoor–Outdoor
Vistas and Art, Music and Performance.

A school, or any learning environment
for that matter, in its totality, represents a
very complex organization, but one that
can usually also be represented in the
form of a "pattern." An example of this is
the "Bringing It All Together", Pattern #25.
The larger pattern will only make sense,
however, when its sub-groupings are
also recognized as complete "systems,"
themselves deserving to be represented
as patterns.
While we are only listing the positive
attributes of the four major realms of
human experience, many attributes
have a paired negative attribute as
well, that we as school designers don't
want to trigger via the design we
create. Examples of negative attributes
would be claustrophobic, stale, gloomy,
drafty, dysfunctional, depressing, scary,
inflexible, uncomfortable, banal, and
so on.
Obviously, the permutations and
combinations by which the various
positive attributes can come together
are almost infinite and that is why healthy
"patterns" are important to identify. The
patterns included in this book have
been developed over time and are
based upon our experience with spatial
relationships that are functional at a
very fundamental human level. These
patterns respect the great complexity
of human needs that vary not only with
time and the context in which people
operate, but also from person to person.
Beyond the curriculums and tests that
define so much of what school is all
about, it is ultimately our ability to enrich
the four realms of human experience
noted above that will determine how
well we have done our work as school
planners, designers and as members of
a learning community.
Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools
Introduction
The 25 Patterns
11
We have selected the following 25
school design patterns because they
represent a fairly complete range of the
various design principles that define best
practice. It is important to stress that
dozens of variations of each diagram we
have provided are possible. The number
of diagrams that can be done is only
limited by the school planning team's
imagination. And yet, each diagram
included in this book embodies certain
universal principles—and the principles
themselves are less likely to change from
site to site.

1. Classrooms, Learning Studios,
Advisories and Small Learning
Communities
2. Welcoming Entry
3. Student Display Space
4. Home Base and Individual
Storage
5. Science Labs, Arts Labs and Life
Skills Areas
6. Art, Music and Performance
7. Physical Fitness
8. Casual Eating Areas
9. Transparency
10. Interior and Exterior Vistas
11. Dispersed Technology
12. Indoor–Outdoor Connection
13. Soft Seating
14. Flexible Spaces
15. Campfire Space
16. Watering Hole Space
17. Cave Space
18. Design for Multiple Intelligences
19. Daylighting
20. Natural Ventilation
21. Full Spectrum Lighting
22. Sustainable Elements and School
as 3D Textbook
23. Local Signature
24. Connected to the Community
25. Bringing It All Together
Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools
Introduction
The Pattern Language Method
1
The 25 "starter" patterns in this book
have been ordered into six categories
as follows:
1. Parts of the Whole
2. Spatial Quality
3. Brain-Based
4. High Performance
5. Community Connected
6. Higher Order
We talked earlier about interconnect-
edness of the four realms of human
experience that healthy patterns try to
balance. A great deal of interconnect-
edness of patterns also occurs across
the six areas listed above as shown in
Table I-2.

Individual patterns may themselves
have qualities that qualify them for
consideration under more than one
category; however, we have tried to
identify each pattern under the one
category that describes its purpose
most clearly. In only two cases have
we placed a pattern under more than
one category; and in these cases, we
have identified the primary category
under which each one belongs. (Pattern
#1, dealing with classrooms and Small
Learning Communities, is primarily
classified as category one, Parts of the
Whole, but also fits the description of
category six, Higher Order. Pattern #2,
Welcoming Entry, is primarily classified
as category one, Parts of the Whole, but
also fits the description of category # 5,
Community Connected.)
We expect that all future patterns will
fall into one of the above six categories
though we are open to considering the
inclusion of additional categories should
we discover a school design pattern
that does not fit the description of the
above categories as follows:
Parts of the Whole: These are patterns
that describe specific functional areas
of a school. The first 8 patterns presented
in this book starting with classrooms and
Learning Studios and ending with Casual
Eating Areas look individually at several
key parts of the whole school—thus the
term "parts of the whole." However, not
every school will contain all the parts we
have discussed under Pattern Numbers
1 through 8. By the same token, it is
possible that we have not listed every
functional area that a school might
contain. Many specialty academies
contain highly customized spaces
designed to meet particular functional
needs. For example, the Center for
Advanced Research and Technology
Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools
(CART) in Clovis, California contains a
Forensics Lab whose requirements may
only be partially captured by the patterns
in this book.
Spatial Quality: These are patterns that
describe the quality of a given space or
spaces and cut across functional areas.
Transparency and flexibility, for example,
are spatial qualities that apply to several
of the other patterns.
Brain-Based: The primary facet of a
brain-based pattern is that it responds to
some particular aspect of brain-based
research. Patterns in this category
deal with the design of spaces that
stimulate the brain in ways that are
beneficial to learning and overall human
development. The four patterns listed
under this category are important to
consider in the design of any and all
parts of the school and relate again to
the concept of interconnectedness.
High Performance: High Performance
is a term that applies to the efficient
operation of the building, as well as the
way in which it is designed to get the
best "performance" from its occupants
by providing a healthy, safe and cheerful
environment. These are patterns that
highlight a building's connection with
nature, its sustainable qualities, and
the opportunities that are available to
translate the way it is put together into
self-evident learning tools—thus the
term, "3D textbook."
Community Connected: There is ample
evidence that schools that are integral
parts of their communities work better.
Not only are students of community
schools more likely to get a better
education, but community schools also
serve to strengthen social ties and build
economic value for the neighborhood as
a whole. But Community Connections as
1
a pattern goes beyond making schools
into community icons; it involves locating
the school in a place that allows the
students to get at least a part of their
education by participating in activities
within the community and outside the
school building. A school can thus
be "connected" to the community by
having students take part in community
service assignments, by working at local
businesses, corporations and institutions,
and by utilizing the resources of existing
community facilities such as the local
YMCA or library.
Higher Order: We define a Higher Order
pattern as one which encompasses
other patterns within it. The most obvious
example is Pattern #25—Bringing It All
Together. This is a pattern that shows how
an entire school might be arranged and,
therefore, includes various components
that can themselves be represented as
patterns. At a smaller scale, Pattern #1
also qualifies as a Higher Order Pattern
because its sub-patterns are actually
combinations of simpler concepts that
are put together using stand-alone
elements like the Learning Studio and
the Advisory.
The Language of School Design
15 Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools
Table I-2. Classification of patterns.
Pattern
#
Description Pattern Type
Parts of the
Whole
Spatial
Quality
Brain-
Based
High
Performance
Community
Connected
Higher
Order
1
Classrooms, Learning
Studios, Advisories
and Small Learning
Communities
X X
2 Welcoming Entry X X
3
Student Display Space
X
4
Home Base and
Individual Storage
X
5
Science Labs, Arts
Labs and Life Skills
Areas
X
6
Art, Music and
Performance
X
7 Physical Fitness X
8 Casual Eating Areas X
9 Transparency X
10
Interior and Exterior
Vistas
X
11 Dispersed Technology X
12
Indoor/Outdoor
Connection
X
13 Soft Seating X
14 Flexible Spaces X
15 Campfire Space X
16 Watering Hole Space X
17 Cave Space X
18
Design for Multiple
Intelligences
X
19 Daylighting X
20 Natural Ventilation X
21 Full Spectrum Lighting X
22
Sustainable Elements
and School as 3D
Textbook
X
23 Local Signature X
24
Connected to the
Community
X
25 Bringing It All Together X
* Where a Pattern is listed under more than one category, then the bold-faced "X" indicates that
pattern's primary classification.
indeed, what learning is all about. And
how are those four computers sitting in
the back of the room being used? They
become additional learning resources,
like textbooks, but do not change the
essential model of the teacher firmly
in command of the students under her
"supervision" and active tutelage.
Under the original classroom-based
model of a school, it made sense to
regiment several classrooms next to
each other and place them on long
corridors that could be easily supervised.
This was efficient from the standpoint of
space and provided the adults with the
most "control," since students leaving
classrooms had nowhere to go but
into the easily-supervised corridors from
where they could move to the "other"
learning spaces like science labs and art
Figure 1-1. Design Patterns #1 and #1a :
Traditional Plan and Ford Model Evolution.
1
No book about school design would be
complete without a discussion of the
"classroom" and what this space might
look like in tomorrow's school. In fact, it is
legitimate to ask if the classroom should
continue to reign as the primary building
block of a school as it undoubtedly does
today.
Before we can talk about design, it
is valuable to take another look at
what the classroom represents. The
classroom is the most visible symbol of an
educational philosophy. It is a philosophy
that starts with the assumption that a
pre-determined number of students will
all learn the same thing at the same
time from the same person in the same
way in the same place for several hours
each day.
Cells-and-Bells (Ford) Model
A classroom's simplistic design also
assumes that the significant part
of a student's learning occurs in the
transmission of knowledge from the
teacher to the student in a somewhat
linear fashion. A 750 square-foot space
with 25 student armchair-tablet desks
and a teacher's desk at the front of
the room makes eminent sense if this is,
Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools
Design Pattern #1
Classrooms, Learning Studios,
Advisories and Small Learning
Communities
Great Learning Street Debate at the
end of this book.

Another simple fix to the cells-and-bells
model is the installation of operable
walls between two classrooms on either
side of the corridor. This allows greater
flexibility in the way the overall space is
utilized and also permits two teachers to
collaborate and "team-teach."
Taking this one step further, some part of
the corridor walls along the classrooms
could be glazed to allow in natural
daylight and also create "Transparency"
which is another important design
principle in new paradigm schools (see
Design Pattern #9).

Taking the development of the double-
loaded model even farther, sometimes
referred to as the "finger plan," the pattern
in Figure 1-2 shows smaller groupings of
classrooms, six to eight at the most,
pulled away from the main corridor. In
this arrangement, the classroom cluster
becomes a destination and not part of
the larger thoroughfare. The finger plan
has an added benefit in that it opens
up the opportunity to make the main
circulation spine into a Learning Street.
Figure 1-2. Design Pattern #1b : Finger Plan.
rooms—also preferably set up along a
double-loaded corridor.
The classroom model worked best
from a control standpoint if the day
itself could be broken down into neat
little segments (45 minutes being the
preferred period after which one
activity would shut down and another
would begin) and if the segmentation
could be announced by bells that, over
time, literally programmed the students
to switch gears on command. Thus the
term "cells and bells" was born. The vast
majority of school buildings are in fact
cells-and-bells models. For illustrative
purposes only (in other words, we are
not suggesting that this is a workable
model for 21st century schools), we start,
therefore, with Pattern #1—the early
20th century cells-and-bells pattern
in which several regularly shaped
classrooms are aligned along a double-
loaded corridor.
Ford Model Evolution
Another way of looking at the traditional
classroom model is to equate it to a
factory or production model in which
the philosophy of the assembly line
with its inherent efficiencies dictates
the look and feel of the school. But by
tinkering with this model, we can amend
it somewhat to create an expanded
corridor. See Figure 1-1.
An expanded main central corridor can
also satisfy the need for social learning,
by slightly changing the dynamic of the
control model and making the school
design more "progressive." Done well,
an expanded corridor could function
as a "Learning Street" though we have
not seen any Ford Model Evolution
plans done well enough to qualify as
Learning Streets. For a more complete
discussion of Learning Streets, please
see the discussion in the essay, The
1 The Language of School Design
While it is a simple departure from
the traditional corridor model, the
finger plan model can have significant
psychological benefits for students who
are now better able to define their
"Home Base" and thus take ownership
for it. In order for these benefits to
be fully realized, each cluster of
rooms should be differentiated from
the remaining clusters so that it has
its own unique identity. This can be
accomplished by giving each wing
a different architectural character,
changing color schemes, providing
different options for display of student
work and so on. In the end, however,
classroom clusters within a simple finger
plan may not qualify as a Small Learning
Community because it lacks various
common elements beyond classrooms
that make each finger self-contained.
We will look later at concepts that take
the finger plan to the next level in order
to create Small Learning Communities
or SLCs.
First, however, let us look at the reasons
for departing from the traditional model
of school and toward a new 21st century
model.
We now have abundant evidence from
the frontiers of brain-based research
that learning is not linear, but holistic,
and that it is not uni-dimensional but
multi-faceted. As we move into the post
knowledge economy, we should be
looking beyond the "knowledge worker"
who is now a global commodity. Our
most valuable export as a country will
be creativity and innovation and these
skills are not developed in the cells-and-
bells model of school.
Under the new learning paradigm, we
are looking at a model where different
students (of varying ages) learn different
things from different people in different
1
places in different ways and at different
times.
Clearly, it is hard to reconcile the old
and new models of school. The spaces
set up for the old paradigm would be
extremely difficult to tailor so that they
function well for the new model.
To what extent such change may or
may not be possible will vary from
school building to school building and
will depend upon how many of the
following modalities of learning can be
supported by the physical spaces. By
looking at existing or proposed school
designs with this list in mind, it will be
easier to gauge their suitability to serve
21
st
century learning needs.
1 Learning Modalities
The 18 Learning Modalities (this may not
be a complete list) that the physical
school must support are
1
:
1. Independent study
2. Peer tutoring
3. Team collaborative work in
small and mid-size groups (2–6
students)
4. One-on-one learning with the
teacher
5. Lecture format with the teacher
or outside expert at center stage
6. Project-based learning
7. Technology-based learning with
mobile computers
8. Distance learning
9. Research via the Internet with
wireless networking
10. Student presentations
11. Performance and music-based
learning
Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools
1- It is important to remember that these learn-
ing modalities do not all need to be supported
under one roof since some schools may have
auxiliary or community facilities that are brought
into play to augment school facilities.
foreseeable future, let us look at design
patterns where the cells-and-bells model
is amended so that the classroom goes
from a rectangular box to a more flexible
"Learning Studio." The term Learning
Studio is sometimes used to refer to an
L-shaped classroom which is, actually,
not a new idea. One of the earliest
schools featuring L-shaped classrooms
configured like Learning Studios is the
Crow Island School in Winnetka, Illinois
built in 1940—Figure 1-3. Today, 65 years
since its opening, the architecture of the
Crow Island School remains relevant—
more so even than many of the schools
being built today. In his article, "The
L-Shaped Classroom—A Pattern for
Promoting Learning," Peter Lippman
makes a strong connection between
the shape of the classroom and its ability
to function as a Learning Studio with
multiple activity centers.
Figure 1-4 shows the characteristics of a
Learning Studio and Figure 1-5 shows that
two Learning Studios can be arranged
to form a "Learning Suite." This is further
described by two floor plans. The first
12. Seminar-style instruction
13. Community service learning
14. Naturalist learning
15. Social/emotional learning
16. Art-based learning
17. Storytelling (floor seating)
18. Learning by building—hands on
learning
A traditional cells-and-bells design will
come up short against the above list
because it is primarily set up for the lecture
format. In Figures 1-1 and 1-2, we see that
the traditional model can be pushed so
that at least some of the new learning
modalities can be accommodated.
This does not preclude the need to ask:
Is the classroom obsolete? At some pure
level, the answer to that question would
be yes. But at a more practical level, we
have to accept the reality that there are
millions of classrooms already built in this
country with thousands being added
constantly.
The Learning Studio
Given that the "classroom" itself will
continue in some iteration into the
20 The Language of School Design
Figure 1-4. Design Pattern #1c: Learning Studio.
Figure 1-3. Exterior of L-shaped classrooms,
Crow Island School in Winnetka IL. One of the
first schools to feature the L-shaped Learning
Studio. Architect: Perkins, Wheeler & Will, and
Saarinen.
illustrates one application of a Learning
Studio. Figure 1-6 shows the plan for an
Advanced Learning Module—which is a
new generation of modular classrooms
and schools now under development
to meet temporary school needs. This
irregular plan creates breakout spaces
and flexible learning zones that support
a significant number of the learning
modalities from the above list.
The Learning Suite
The second plan shows how a Learning
Suite might look. Figure 1-7 shows a
plan prepared for East Side High School
in Newark, NJ and illustrates how two
Learning Studios can be combined to
create a Learning Suite. It illustrates
how a Learning Studio-based plan can
be quite "rich" as far as activities go.
East Side's Learning Studios are ideal
for project-based learning. The two
Learning Studios create a Learning Suite
21 Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools
Figure 1-5. Design Pattern #1d: Learning Suite.
Figure 1-6. Learning Studio-based design for Advanced Learning Environment Solutions, Inc.
Planning and Design: Fielding Nair International for Deployables, LLC.
As the above discussion and plans
illustrate, it is possible to create Learning
Suites using either moveable walls or
mobile furniture. The East Side High
School Learning Suite (Figure 1-7) and
the Goa International School Learning
Suite (Figure 12-2 in Pattern #12) show
Learning Suites that use moveable walls,
and the Tajimi example (Figure 1-8) uses
mobile furniture. The key difference
between these two approaches is
that spills over into adjacent areas for
both indoor and outdoor learning.
Figure 1-8 is a further development of this
concept. In this case, the plan for Tajimi
Junior High School in Tajimi-shi, Gifu,
Japan shows a Learning Suite where
the boundaries of each classroom are
more fluid and easier to change on a
day-to-day basis because it is defined
by furniture and not by walls.
22 The Language of School Design
Figure 1-7. Learning Suite design for project based learning for East Side High School in Newark, NJ.
Planner: Fielding Nair International. Please note that the placement of several computers along the
wall was a school district requirement. This is NOT the recommended way to incorporate technol-
ogy into a Learning Suite. The preferred method is to use mobile computers that can be deployed
anywhere in the room with wireless networking. One or two hard-wired desktops are ok but these
should be grouped in a way that encourages collaboration.
Deciduous trees
provide vista and shade
Communications
& Multi-media
Journalism
Full-height glass
doors with
transoms above
for daylighting
Low plantings
under windows
View windows &
transoms above
for daylighting
Production
Editing
Screening Room
Ceiling-mounted
data projector
Interviews,
creative think-
tank & journalist’s
lounge
Editorial Forum
24” x 60” student desks arranged
for seminar
0 2 4 8 12 feet
Indoor/outdoor portable stage
Low book
shelves
Critical
Review
Standing
height
project
tables and
stools
Portable stair
Sink & water fountain
Teacher workstation
Scripts & Final Editing
Folding Wall
high acoustical rating. three
center panels are white board
with tack board above and at
side panels
Collating & distribution
standing-height table with stools
and storage beneath
Triple sliding white board with
tack board at sides; medium
texture allows for use as
projection surface
Full-height glass pane
Lockable Storage
Cabinet
60” W X 84” H X 24” D
Teacher workstation
Computer stations
28” inch high counter
combination wall cabinets and
open book shelves above Indoor/
outdoor seating
City Desk
that moveable furniture is typically
experienced as a friendlier way to
create a suite, whereas the moveable
wall is more mechanistic and makes the
division between Learning Studios more
rigid.
The choice between the two approaches
comes down to philosophical and
operational issues. The more flexible
furniture-based model is appropriate
when the two Learning Studios are
more likely to operate as one larger
entity with the teachers working in close
collaboration with each other. In this type
of situation, the acoustical separation
afforded by the moveable wall is not
2 Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools
much of an issue. Students get used to
using their "indoor voices" much as they
would in a family-type situation with the
realization that the Learning Suite caters
to many different learning activities
dispersed between the two studios.
More traditional schools that are
exploring the idea of team teaching and
collaboration between classes, while still
wishing to preserve the separation and
independence of classrooms or Learning
Studios as distinct units, will prefer the
model with moveable walls.
Once we have repaired the basic building
block of school—the classroom—it is
Figure 1-8. Learning Suite at Tajimi Junior High School in Tajimi-shi, Gifu, Japan. Architect: Atelier Zo.
easier to move the school design to a
whole new level—still not a completely
new paradigm, but much closer than
the cells-and-bells model.
Small Learning Community Model
Figure 1-9 shows a Learning Studio-based
Small Learning Community (SLC). This
pattern takes the finger plan and makes
it whole so that students occupying an
SLC (in a finger arrangement or any
other such separate grouping) can truly
feel that they belong to that SLC. For
this to work, each SLC needs to be
somewhat complete.
For example, a Learning Studio-based
SLC might contain its own science room,
its own teacher workroom with the
transparency needed for the space to
serve as "eyes on the street," its own toilets,
its own science lab and its own central
multi-purpose social space that can
be used for project work, independent
study, distance learning, collaborative
work, technology-based work and so
on.

Figure 1-9 shows a simpler arrangement
than the SLC described above with
Learning Studios clustered around small
group rooms and a café which doubles
2
as a project area. But even at this
simple level, it is possible to create an
effective SLC.
This particular pattern could be modified
to show each SLC having its own direct
connection to the outdoors. Additionally,
each Learning Studio itself could have
an outdoor connection.
The floor plan (Figure 1-10) and
photograph of the Djidi Djidi Aboriginal
School in Australia (Figure 1-11) feature
another example of how Learning Studios
can be combined with other common
spaces to create self-contained Small
Learning Communities.
We have utilized one more image to
represent the SLC model. Figure 1-12, the
High Tech Middle School in San Diego,
California illustrates how a common area
shared by an SLC might be used.
SLCs and the Learning Street: In the
discussion of Small Learning Communities,
the operative word is "small." The idea,
always, is to create small groupings
where everyone knows everyone else.
Of course, the best way to achieve
smallness is to make the school itself
small—so that the SLC and the school refer
to the same thing. However, a majority
of school districts that are creating SLC's
The Language of School Design
Figure 1-9. Design Pattern #1e: Learning Studio-
based Small Learning Community (SLC).
Figure 1-10. Djidi Djidi Aboriginal School design
plan based on Design Pattern #1e, Picton,
Western Australia. Architect: Edgar Idle Wade.
every neighborhood represents a Small
Learning Community. It is impossible to
put such a neighborhood/town concept
are doing so by breaking up larger
schools into smaller communities on the
same campus. It is rare to see truly small
public schools that could themselves
qualify as SLCs. We are not going to
tackle the question of small vs. big in this
book—that subject is covered well in the
KnowledgeWorks publication "Dollars
and Sense—The Cost Effectiveness of
Small Schools," which is included in the
reference list at the end of this book.
Given today's reality that a majority
of this country's schools are large and
that communities will continue to build
large schools, we feel that it is important
to see how to preserve the benefits of
SLCs in the larger schools.
One way to think about a large school
is that it is a small town comprised
of distinct neighborhoods—where
25 Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools
Figure 1-11. Djidi Djidi Aboriginal School, a Learning Studio-based SLC. (Photo Courtesy of Edgar Idle
Wade Architects.)
Figure 1-12. Shared social and learning space
outside Learning Studios at High Tech Middle
School in San Diego, CA. Architect: Carrier
Johnson. (Photo Courtesy of Bill Robinson
Photography.)
look traditional have already begun
to do organizationally—group students
into advisories instead of classes or
homerooms.
The Advisory pattern shown here (Figure
1-13) describes how eight groups of
10 to 15-student Advisories might be
arranged around a central café and
project area. This particular diagram
also shows four breakout areas—which
could be collaborative spaces with soft
seating and an area for presentations.
Each breakout space is shared by two
Advisories under the suggested pattern.
Since this is intended to be a rudimentary
pattern, details have not been shown,
such as an Advisory workstation for each
teacher/advisor, a closed but partition-
able seminar room that can be used
for lectures and perhaps for distance
learning, separate from project labs and
"messy" areas.
The plan for the High School for
Recording Arts—Hip-Hop High (Figure
1-14) and the photo of students at their
into practice, however, without first
thinking about the "connectors" that
tie the neighborhoods together. There
are many ways in which schools can
tackle the issue of connectors—but,
whenever possible, opportunities should
be explored to make the connectors
into one or more unifying elements that
give the larger school its identity.
Along these lines, an interesting idea
that has been gaining currency is the
notion of a Learning Street referred to
earlier, which, like the Main Street in
most small towns, becomes the unifying
element that ties the town's various
neighborhoods together and gives the
town its identity.
We think that the Learning Street idea is
still in its infancy in the school design world
though the idea of unifying elements
itself is not new. We have not raised the
Learning Street to the level of a specific
Design Pattern in this book, but it may
well become one in a future edition.
For now, we have acknowledged the
importance of the Learning Street by
including at the end of this book, a
slightly modified version of an article
we published on DesignShare.com in
February 2005.
We have provided a few illustrations of
what a Learning Street might look like
but we encourage our readers to submit
more examples to us that we can share
with all of you.
Advisory Model
Moving to the next level of development,
we have a pattern that departs entirely
from the "classroom" and "Learning
Studio" model. Figure 1-13 shows an
"Advisory model" of school design.
Interestingly, this model simply represents
in the built form what many schools that
2 The Language of School Design
Figure 1-13. Design Pattern #1f: Advisory-based
Small Learning Community (SLC).
Food &
beverages
Cafe &
Project Area
Break-out area
shared by two
advisory
groups
Advisory
Groups
Individual
Workstations
10 to 15 students each
2 Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools
Figure 1-14. Advisory-based SLC at the High School for Recording Arts (Hip-Hop High). Architect:
Randall Fielding, Fielding Nair International.
0 2 4 8 16 feet
Basket Ball
Hoop
Advanced
Studio
Glass-
panel
Vocal
Booth
Pre-
Production
Studio A
4 ft. wide door; all new
interior doors to be wood
and glass with maximum
view area.
Network
Server
Cafe
Movable
Wall
Demountable
Ramp
Ceiling-Mounted
Computer
Projector
All-School
Meeting Area,
Performance
Space and
Project Tables
Lockers
One-way Glass
Viewing Bay
Stained Concrete Floor
Air Supply &
Return
Corrugated
Steel
Infill Panel
Carpet
Full-View Glass
Overhead
Rolling Door
White Board
White Board
White Board
Couches
Couch &
Arm Chairs
Teacher
Teacher
Teacher
Elec.
Teacher
Advisories 1 & 2
Advisory Groups &
Student Workstations
Each learner will have his own workstation and
will share a computer with an adjacent learner.
Laptop computers and a wireless network will
also allow students to work at round tables,
couches and on project tables.

Advisory Groups
Each Advisory Group is comprised of 15 students
and a teacher. Advisory Groups are paired so
that a single teacher may advise two groups.
N
Exercise
Equipment
CD Cover Mural
Demountable
Stage
Projection
Screen
Teacher
Advisories 5 &
Graffiti Wall
Equipment Storage
Black vinyl-coated chain
link fence and gate.
Desktops
The pre-used desks, donated by a local bank,
are 72” X 42”. All tops are a neutral color; the
colors shown indicate variations in partition
colors.
Low-height Partitions
of varying heights, located between desks
are constructed of tackable, sound absorbing
panels, made from recycled newspaper, and
corrugated, wavy metal industrial siding.
workstations (Figure 1-15) shows an
Advisory grouping next to a performance
area that comes close to representing in
built form, what Figure 1-13 is trying to
accomplish diagrammatically.
Figure 1-13 begins to take the physical
design of school into a functional
model where there is a certain
hierarchy of spaces, starting with a
student workstation at the smallest
level and leaving open the possibility
of endless configurations of spaces and
activities. This model makes learning the
centerpiece of the design intent and
builds the plan around learning activities,
rather than a theoretically appropriate
building block like the classroom. (See
the 18 learning modalities discussed
earlier.)
The plan for Harbor City International
School (Figure 1-16) is another example
of the Advisory model and shows how
it allows for a much more efficient use
of spaces than a traditional classroom
model. The Harbor City plan is rare
in that it has no corridors and utilizes
almost every square foot of space for
learning.
2 The Language of School Design
Figure 1-15. Photograph of Advisory groupings showing individual workstations at Hip-Hop High.
2 Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools
Figure 1-16. Advisory-based plan for Harbor City International School, Duluth, MN. Design Architect:
Randall Fielding, Fielding Nair International, with Scalzo Architects.
112 The Language of School Design
About the Authors
Prakash Nair,
Partner, Fielding Nair International.

Nair is recognized worldwide as an
expert in the areas of modern school
planning and educational technology.
He is the recipient of several planning
awards including the prestigious CEFPI
MacConnell Award, the top honor
worldwide for school planning and
design. Nair worked as Director of
Operations for a multi-billion dollar
school construction program for New
York City. His many articles about
designing schools based on established
educational research have been
published by leading journals around
the globe.
In 2003, Nair completed a project
with the University of Wisconsin on a
Rockefeller Foundation-funded grant
to develop best practice standards
for world-class schools throughout New
Jersey and nationally.
Nair has served as Northeast Regional
President of the Council of Educational
Facility Planners International. He is the
recipient of the organization's Service
Citation and Distinguished Service
Awards.
Nair has been invited by governments
and professional organizations as a
keynote speaker and consultant in 19
states and ten countries.
Contact Prakash Nair at
prakash@designshare.com.
11
Randall Fielding,
Partner, Fielding Nair International.
Fielding wears two hats, one as an
award-winning architect and planner
working on school projects around the
world, and another as the Founder
and Editorial Director of DesignShare.
com, an online journal and library
of facility planning. DesignShare is
a premier resource for research on
the design of innovative learning
environments. The website has received
seven awards for design and quality of
content, and receives 60,000 visitors a
month from educators, architects, and
planners worldwide. Fielding oversees
DesignShare's annual international
design awards program and has
published 300 innovative school designs
from 20 countries.
Prior to co-founding FNI, Fielding led his
own architectural practice for over 17
years out of Chicago and Minneapolis.
He is internationally recognized as an
authority on innovative school design
and is the recipient of numerous awards
including the 2004 Impact on Learning
Award from CEFPI and School Planning
and Management Magazine. He has
taken his unique message of creativity
and innovation to nine countries and
has published numerous articles on
school planning and design.
Contact Randall Fielding at
fielding@designshare.com.
Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools
11 The Language of School Design
Endorsements & Sponsors
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DesignShare
Endorsed by the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities and KnowledgeWorks Foundation

 
Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools

Prakash Nair

& Randall Fielding

Language of School Design

DESIGNSHARE.COM THE LANGUAGE OF SCHOOL DESIGN: Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools $35/Architecture/Education/School Reform Copyright © 2005 DesignShare.com, Prakash Nair and Randall Fielding ISBN 0-9762670-0-4 Endorsed by: National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities The KnowledgeWorks Foundation This publication has been developed with generous support from the following sponsor:

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viii

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .109 About the Authors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .87 Bringing It All Together. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .112 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .103 Developing Patterns. . . . . . .47 Interior and Exterior Vistas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79 Local Signature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69 Daylight and Solar Energy . . . . . xvii Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .114 Pattern Submission Form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .77 Sustainable Elements and Building as 3-D Textbook . . . . . . .73 Natural Ventilation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Arts Labs and Life Skills Areas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Advisories and Small Learning Communities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Enriching the Four Realms of Human Experience . . . . .Table of Contents Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 The Pattern Language Method . . . . . . . . . . . . .51 Indoor-Outdoor Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57 Flexible Spaces. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Home Base and Individual Storage. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 Physical Fitness . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59 Campfire Space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .93 The Great Learning Street Debate. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75 Full Spectrum Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . .97 The Future: Should We Stop Building Schools? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .117 Endorsements & Sponsors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61 Watering Hole Space .118 ix . . . . . .35 Science Labs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67 Designing for Multiple Intelligences . . . . . .63 Cave Space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89 Conclusion . .7 The 25 Patterns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Learning Studios. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 Art. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 Student Display Space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Welcoming Entry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .83 Connected to the Community . . . . . . . . . .45 Transparency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53 Furniture: Soft Seating . . Music and Performance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Classrooms. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 Casual Eating Areas .49 Dispersed Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .xiii Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

the larger body of architectural work. Interestingly. The Language of School Design. He looked at the real world of people plus the buildings and spaces they inhabited in order to understand the connections between the built environment and the human psyche. Our book. transformation is painstakingly slow in the world of school design. we know that human brains are actually hardwired to understand and respond to patterns in all spheres of our life and. Why a Pattern Language for Schools? We felt the need to develop a pattern language for schools for the simple reason that while Alexander's book is now beginning to influence the planning and design of healthy communities. does not claim to be scientifically based. our towns and cities. over time. in the period immediately following the publication of Alexander's ground-breaking book. represented by hundreds of innovative school designs that we have published at DesignShare.com. Despite the fact that the educational establishment itself has embraced a number of innovative approaches over the years. on places that felt pleasant or were spiritually uplifting and to which people were attracted rather than turned off. architects often hear educators speak with a vocabulary reminiscent of their own Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools 1 . Alexander's work has gained credibility as the ideas he presented have begun to enter the scientific realm of complexity theory.Introduction Inspired by Alexander When Christopher Alexander wrote A Pattern Language more than 25 years ago. However. Alexander was able to identify many spatial "patterns" that nourish the human communities they support. The book draws upon our own experience as school planners and the best practice of school design from over 20 countries. particularly. The "connections" between the built environment and healthy communities that Alexander was pointing out are now more readily apparent. does not appear to have affected the way we build our homes. Today. fractals and neural networks—disciplines on the cutting edge of science. Focusing on architectural and landscape attributes that worked. he approached architecture from a unique perspective. to those that exist within our built environments.

childhood experiences in school buildings designed for a different time. Exemplars look good on paper or may have worked in certain specific circumstances. changing thing—similar to the spoken and written language that changes as cultures grow and change—but one that everybody can use. School designers should look at these patterns as a starting point for developing their own patterns or modifying the ones provided here. 25 Patterns Are Only A Beginning We want to emphasize that we are not presenting these design patterns as a comprehensive vocabulary for school design. with heavy reliance on educational specifications. exemplars and prototypes. in certain circumstances. We firmly believe that schools need to grow from a shared vision. we have begun to understand that one of the biggest roadblocks to innovation is the lack of a common design vocabulary that all school stakeholders can share. 2 The Language of School Design but have little to do with the needs of particular communities. In other words. The 25 patterns contained here only begin to define the graphic language for the design of healthy and functional learning environments. leaves little room for real creativity and innovation. Why do schools look the way they do? Why is there a chasm between widely acknowledged best practice principles and the actual design of a majority of school facilities? Why has the connection between learning research and educational structures been so difficult to repair? These are the questions that we have been grappling with over the past decade as school planners. we have selected patterns that represent certain universal principles. design guidelines. Of course. though they are not to be used as a template or prototype of how any given element in a particular school should be designed. some of these patterns will be usable without modification. But we know that much can be lost in the translation of a written vision into built form. Educational specifications create a school before it is created— design guidelines are too prescriptive (so that architects are often relegated to the role of assembling pieces instead of doing real design). The climate in which schools are developed today. there is no quick and elegant fashion in which design ideas can be developed and tested in a way that truly involves all stakeholders. our pattern language differs from Alexander's in that we wanted to create an actual. And so. But the inadvertent result of all this quality control is a lot of sameness and little innovation. and most prototypes are about cookie-cutter schools that don't even pretend to be community specific. . we need a graphic pattern language to supplement the written words—a pattern language that is so simple that every participant in the planning process can not only understand it. usable design vocabulary for schools as a living. In this sense. A Common Design Vocabulary From our own experience and from the research. Most of the larger school systems (and many of the smaller ones as well) rely on their own internal "quality control" methods to develop schools. To the extent possible. but actually create their own patterns or easily amend ones developed by their design professionals.

Diagrammatic patterns are useful early in the planning process as a graphic sounding board to gauge a client's general educational philosophy and design preferences. Some of these ideas need to be explored further. a diagrammatic pattern is somewhat generic and universal in scope. Illustrative Patterns: Illustrative patterns are different from diagrammatic patterns in one important respect— they are more detailed. but it is intended to represent a particular philosophy of planning and design. more than the actual design of a particular school. Diagrammatic pattern for cafés at Goa International School. A diagrammatic pattern can also be created very quickly and "on-the-fly" to capture specific ideas during planning and community meetings.Some Pattern Ideas That Need to Be Further Developed The professionals who reviewed this book submitted many useful suggestions that have already been incorporated into this first edition. Figure I-1. That doesn't mean a diagrammatic pattern will represent a spatial relationship that works in all cases. the Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools  . Here is a small sampling of the areas that will be developed in the next edition of The Language of School Design: • To what extent do state standards and required curriculums dictate the manner in which school buildings are planned and designed? • Do the facilities created as a result of such external educational forces help or hurt learning goals? • How does the physical design of a school affect the social dynamics of the school community? The last issue has been partially addressed via the various patterns in this book that encourage social learning. and to do this we are recruiting the book's future "authors"—the readers—to create new patterns that best represent these ideas. such as the way in which toilets can be designed and located to mitigate the problem of bullying." In this sense. Some of the areas need to be looked at further. Diagrammatic Patterns: A diagrammatic pattern is a rough sketch of a "big idea. Diagrammatic and Illustrative Patterns Each of the 25 patterns (and their sub-patterns) in this book can be categorized as either diagrammatic or illustrative. These kinds of early sketches often influence the final design. Other issues deal with the conditions that seem to attract particular groups of students to "territorialize" parts of the school campus and how these areas move back and forth between various age groups as they progress through school. the more detailed the illustration is. In general. See Figure I-1. Architect: FNI with Dennis Coelho and Suhasini Ayer. It is not unusual for an illustrative pattern to also be somewhat universal in scope. India. Planner: Fielding Nair International (FNI).

we were able to understand how the cafeteria should not only reinforce the school's desire to create "community. However. because of financial Figure I-2.less universal its scope. Illustrative pattern for Goa International School shows how the Design Pattern fits into the overall design process. This client originally started with the idea of building a typical large school "cafeteria. Figure I-2 shows the stages in the development of a cafeteria design for a school that was aided by the use of design patterns. why bother with an illustrative pattern and can it even qualify as a pattern? The answer is yes." but also give a special identity to each of its Small Learning Communities. We believe that any illustration can be a "pattern" as long as it documents spatial relationships in a way that communicates the big idea. How to Use the Pattern Language Method Let us take a moment to introduce how exactly our Pattern Language Method can help in the design process by looking at a specific example of its use." During the course of the discussion utilizing the Pattern Language Method. If this is so.  The Language of School Design . In Figure I2 the illustrative pattern shows how the design pattern fits into the overall design process. That is why diagrammatic patterns intended to first introduce a big idea often turn into illustrative patterns to flesh out that big idea. We understood that this could not be done without somehow breaking down the scale of the large cafeteria into smaller cafés.

and 25-3). to Pattern #23 for sustainable design. Similarly. we will review and edit the patterns submitted and reissue this book in electronic and print form. there are potentially many different patterns or sub-patterns.constraints." each representing a distinct area of school planning and design. we will add it to that category and give it its appropriate number from 1 to 25 plus an alphabetical suffix a. but also about effectively setting up the design for a whole campus. These discussions led to a very rough penciled pattern showing how three separate cafés might be developed that could be serviced by one central kitchen (Figure I-1). if the pattern brings a new idea to the table.com/patterns) to collect more graphic patterns from the school planning community based on their own experiences. Once the team agreed with this direction. it will get its own number such as 26. With far less investment of money and effort than the traditional system. we needed to service all the cafés utilizing one central kitchen. which is Pattern #1. or for example. Advisories and the like. On the other hand. 25-2. where designers and school stakeholders do not share a common language of school design. These become associated with the original pattern. The Numbering System for Design Patterns Our Language of School Design starts with a look at 25 distinct "patterns. Knowing its value as an important aid in the school planner's toolbox. The advantage to this system is that Pattern #1 will always be the place to go to for information about the primary learning area: classrooms. the Pattern Language Method can help build consensus quickly. Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools 5 . Within each identified area. so people can quickly refer to Pattern #2 for information about entrances. no matter which edition of the book they have. we are interested in continuously expanding our graphic "vocabulary" and sharing the information with all those involved in the creation of schools and school facilities. c. we will determine first if the pattern belongs in one of the original 25 "categories" already established. In Pattern #25: Bringing It All Together (Figures 25-1. b. the classroom in its many iterations. If it does. we have many patterns under the primary learning area umbrella. This is to demonstrate how the Pattern Language Method we are proposing is not only about the elements that make up a school. a more illustrative pattern was developed by the planning team that allowed the architects to produce a scaled schematic design drawing (Figure I2). The patterns are numbered from 1 to 25. we look at another example—this time for a whole school. As we move forward and new patterns are added. entrance features will always be part of Pattern #2. studios. 27 and so on. Utilizing this system. etc. We have created a special online interface at our website (http://designshare. and create superior designs. we can break down the communication barriers to good design that often beset school architecture. For example. Periodically.

but they are far from being outside our ability to control. resulting in the design of static spaces that inhibit learning. facilitated to a lesser or greater degree by the environment (spatial realm)." See Table I-1. What exactly in the whole range of human experiences does The Pattern Language Method encompass? In response. physiological and behavioral. For example. which advocates having daylight penetrate a room from more than one direction. we can say that it deals with four major and simultaneous realms of human experience—spatial. The reality is that the design of learning environments is a complex assignment. While the solutions may be simple or elegant. Of course. That means it is nearly impossible to identify simple cause-and-effect relationships between specific attributes that would hold true always. for example.Introduction Enriching the Four Realms of Human Experience It is clear that most school architecture tends to look at spaces in a linear way—that means we first decide what a space would be used for and then we design the space for that activity." We need to understand the complexity of the human experience as noted above in order to understand what "learning" is about. psychological. research tells us that as humans our sense of sight (physiological realm) is a major emotional (psychological realm) trigger. We also need to recognize that it is almost impossible to solve a design problem unidimensionally. Let us look. if the problem were simply one of lighting a Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools  . This kind of thinking ignores the complexity and research about the human brain and human experience. Each of these realms is characterized by multiple "attributes. We also know that our emotions can elicit a physical response (behavioral realm) such as laughter when we are happy. What is fascinating about this list is the obvious interconnectedness of the attributes across the four realms and the fact that the interconnectedness is nonlinear. The purpose is to reduce stark contrasts that characterize rooms with only one window. These relationships are always contextual. Everything we do as designers impacts the users of the space at many different levels. they can almost never be "simplistic. at "Light on Two Sides" in the original A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander.

Encouraging Reflection. Reflecting. Playing that there are certain recognizable "patterns" that define healthy spatial relationships both at a micro and macro level. Connected to Nature.Table I-1. Joyful. towns and cities. Unlike Alexander's ambitious work which encompasses human environments at every scale. Stimulating. Spiritually Uplifting. Visually Pleasing Independent Study. Building.  The Language of School Design . Reading. Textured. it could be accomplished with one window or even with adequate artificial light but that would miss Alexander's point. Performing. In the same way. Physiological Behavioral given space. The four realms of human experience and their corresponding attributes. Designing. Presenting. Healthy. but we strongly urge our readers to read Alexander's A Pattern Language for a treatise on the larger spatial patterns in our communities. Teaching. Creating a Sense of Community Warm. we have limited our focus to the design of learning environments. we acknowledge that the learning environment is actually nothing more than one piece of a larger pattern and that good planning requires that each piece be respectful of the overall patterns for communities and towns that the original A Pattern Language identifies. Bright. because the former can be understood at many different levels that go beyond the meaning of the individual words. This is the fundamental thesis behind the Pattern Language Method advocated by Alexander and by us in this book. Large Group Work. Active. Playful. Going beyond individual patterns and focusing on how they work together. Communing With Nature. We have addressed this in a limited way in Pattern #22. Collaborative Work. Computer Work. which goes to the heart of how we as humans experience our environment. Team Work. Monumental. Physical Fitness Activity. Research. Cool. Writing. Breezy. Creative. a good building can either "string together patterns" without any real coherence or assemble them to create poetry in design form. Realms of Human Experience Within the Purview of School Planning and Design Attributes Spatial Psychological Intimate. Technological Soothing. Safe. However. Alexander likes to refer to a building's functional complexity using such words as "dense" and "profound. Aromatic. Quiet." He compares a well-designed building to poetry as opposed to prose. Open. In this sense at least. Cozy. Singing. Closed. Dancing. Connected to the Community. Awe-Inspiring. Relaxing. it is really impossible to ignore the larger context in which a learning community is situated.

Obviously." there has to be a certain universality to its application. Examples of negative attributes would be claustrophobic. designers and as members of a learning community. inflexible. Music and Performance. the common human experience they seek to evoke ties them together within one "pattern. uncomfortable. A good example is Pattern #12. Beyond the curriculums and tests that define so much of what school is all about. dysfunctional. however. A school. Our desire for flexibility must not supercede our primary intent. These patterns respect the great complexity of human needs that vary not only with time and the context in which people operate. Indoor–Outdoor Connection. Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools  . banal. Indoor–Outdoor Vistas and Art. that we as school designers don't want to trigger via the design we create." An example of this is the "Bringing It All Together". It is also clear from the above discussion that there is a certain synergy within the patterns themselves—a point we touched upon earlier. depressing. The above example for the design of an art room borrows ideas from various patterns in the book entitled: Daylighting. India and from Bridgehampton New York." themselves deserving to be represented as patterns. Pattern #25. while at the same time allowing for the wide range of human interests and behavioral tendencies to co-exist peacefully. but one that can usually also be represented in the form of a "pattern." The Pattern Language Method is a sensible way to provide room for these various facets of our essential natures to be stimulated. or any learning environment for that matter. but also from person to person. represents a very complex organization. The larger pattern will only make sense. which cites three extremely diverse examples from Perth. Student Display Space. in its totality. drafty. the permutations and combinations by which the various positive attributes can come together are almost infinite and that is why healthy "patterns" are important to identify. gloomy. from Goa. Local Signature. Even though the examples themselves would seem to have nothing in common. The patterns included in this book have been developed over time and are based upon our experience with spatial relationships that are functional at a very fundamental human level. The ability to rearrange the room so that different persons can organize themselves at different times of the day for different artistic activities makes the design more robust. when its sub-groupings are also recognized as complete "systems.To pass the test and qualify as a "pattern. stale. Western Australia. scary. it is ultimately our ability to enrich the four realms of human experience noted above that will determine how well we have done our work as school planners. many attributes have a paired negative attribute as well. An example of how the four realms can be made to work in practice is the placement of an art room with natural lighting and a landscape view (physiological and spatial realms) intended to evoke a desired creative response (behavioral realm) by ensuring a suitable peaceful and reflective frame of mind (psychological realm). and so on. which is to positively manage the complex relationship within the four realms in order to create an environment conducive to artistic endeavors. While we are only listing the positive attributes of the four major realms of human experience.

Bringing It All Together Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools 11 . Indoor–Outdoor Connection 13. The number of diagrams that can be done is only limited by the school planning team's imagination. Connected to the Community 25. Interior and Exterior Vistas 11. Daylighting 20. Welcoming Entry 3. Campfire Space 16. 1. each diagram included in this book embodies certain universal principles—and the principles themselves are less likely to change from site to site. Physical Fitness 8. Local Signature 24. Dispersed Technology 12. Cave Space 18. Home Base and Individual Storage 5. Art. Natural Ventilation 21. Science Labs. Advisories and Small Learning Communities 2. Student Display Space 4. Design for Multiple Intelligences 19. Watering Hole Space 17. Sustainable Elements and School as 3D Textbook 23. Arts Labs and Life Skills Areas 6. Soft Seating 14. Casual Eating Areas 9. And yet. Learning Studios.Introduction The 25 Patterns We have selected the following 25 school design patterns because they represent a fairly complete range of the various design principles that define best practice. Full Spectrum Lighting 22. It is important to stress that dozens of variations of each diagram we have provided are possible. Transparency 10. Music and Performance 7. Classrooms. Flexible Spaces 15.

Introduction The Pattern Language Method The 25 "starter" patterns in this book have been ordered into six categories as follows: 1.) We expect that all future patterns will fall into one of the above six categories though we are open to considering the inclusion of additional categories should we discover a school design pattern that does not fit the description of the above categories as follows: Parts of the Whole: These are patterns that describe specific functional areas of a school. Individual patterns may themselves have qualities that qualify them for consideration under more than one category. Parts of the Whole Spatial Quality Brain-Based High Performance Community Connected Higher Order Whole. The first 8 patterns presented in this book starting with classrooms and Learning Studios and ending with Casual Eating Areas look individually at several key parts of the whole school—thus the term "parts of the whole. the Center for Advanced Research and Technology Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools 1 We talked earlier about interconnectedness of the four realms of human experience that healthy patterns try to balance. For example. 4. By the same token. Many specialty academies contain highly customized spaces designed to meet particular functional needs. Parts of the Whole. is primarily classified as category one. Parts of the . not every school will contain all the parts we have discussed under Pattern Numbers 1 through 8. but also fits the description of category six. Pattern #2. we have identified the primary category under which each one belongs. Higher Order. is primarily classified as category one. 6. however. Community Connected. (Pattern #1. we have tried to identify each pattern under the one category that describes its purpose most clearly. 2. In only two cases have we placed a pattern under more than one category. 5." However. but also fits the description of category # 5. A great deal of interconnectedness of patterns also occurs across the six areas listed above as shown in Table I-2. Welcoming Entry. 3. and in these cases. it is possible that we have not listed every functional area that a school might contain. dealing with classrooms and Small Learning Communities.

A school can thus be "connected" to the community by having students take part in community service assignments. Spatial Quality: These are patterns that describe the quality of a given space or spaces and cut across functional areas. as well as the way in which it is designed to get the best "performance" from its occupants by providing a healthy. Patterns in this category deal with the design of spaces that stimulate the brain in ways that are beneficial to learning and overall human development." Community Connected: There is ample evidence that schools that are integral parts of their communities work better. and by utilizing the resources of existing community facilities such as the local YMCA or library. safe and cheerful environment. it involves locating the school in a place that allows the students to get at least a part of their education by participating in activities within the community and outside the school building. and the opportunities that are available to translate the way it is put together into self-evident learning tools—thus the term. . These are patterns that highlight a building's connection with nature. are spatial qualities that apply to several of the other patterns. its sustainable qualities. corporations and institutions. The most obvious example is Pattern #25—Bringing It All Together. High Performance: High Performance is a term that applies to the efficient operation of the building. but community schools also serve to strengthen social ties and build economic value for the neighborhood as a whole. Higher Order: We define a Higher Order pattern as one which encompasses other patterns within it. But Community Connections as 1 The Language of School Design a pattern goes beyond making schools into community icons.(CART) in Clovis. Transparency and flexibility. includes various components that can themselves be represented as patterns. California contains a Forensics Lab whose requirements may only be partially captured by the patterns in this book. This is a pattern that shows how an entire school might be arranged and. Pattern #1 also qualifies as a Higher Order Pattern because its sub-patterns are actually combinations of simpler concepts that are put together using stand-alone elements like the Learning Studio and the Advisory. "3D textbook. therefore. Not only are students of community schools more likely to get a better education. for example. The four patterns listed under this category are important to consider in the design of any and all parts of the school and relate again to the concept of interconnectedness. At a smaller scale. by working at local businesses. Brain-Based: The primary facet of a brain-based pattern is that it responds to some particular aspect of brain-based research.

Music and Performance Physical Fitness Casual Eating Areas Transparency Interior and Exterior Vistas Dispersed Technology Indoor/Outdoor Connection Soft Seating Flexible Spaces Campfire Space Watering Hole Space Cave Space Design for Multiple Intelligences Daylighting Natural Ventilation Full Spectrum Lighting Sustainable Elements and School as 3D Textbook Local Signature Connected to the Community Bringing It All Together X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X Spatial Quality Pattern Type BrainHigh Community Higher Based Performance Connected Order X 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 * Where a Pattern is listed under more than one category. Learning Studios. Classification of patterns.Table I-2. Pattern # Description Parts of the Whole Classrooms. Advisories and Small Learning Communities Welcoming Entry Student Display Space Home Base and Individual Storage Science Labs. Arts Labs and Life Skills Areas Art. then the bold-faced "X" indicates that pattern's primary classification. Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools 15 .

Advisories and Small Learning Communities No book about school design would be complete without a discussion of the "classroom" and what this space might look like in tomorrow's school. Design Patterns #1 and #1a : Traditional Plan and Ford Model Evolution. it is valuable to take another look at what the classroom represents. it made sense to regiment several classrooms next to each other and place them on long corridors that could be easily supervised. In fact. The classroom is the most visible symbol of an educational philosophy.Design Pattern #1 Classrooms. it is legitimate to ask if the classroom should continue to reign as the primary building block of a school as it undoubtedly does today. Figure 1-1." since students leaving classrooms had nowhere to go but into the easily-supervised corridors from where they could move to the "other" learning spaces like science labs and art Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools 1 . Cells-and-Bells (Ford) Model A classroom's simplistic design also assumes that the significant part of a student's learning occurs in the transmission of knowledge from the teacher to the student in a somewhat linear fashion. but do not change the essential model of the teacher firmly in command of the students under her "supervision" and active tutelage. It is a philosophy that starts with the assumption that a pre-determined number of students will all learn the same thing at the same time from the same person in the same way in the same place for several hours each day. And how are those four computers sitting in the back of the room being used? They become additional learning resources. like textbooks. what learning is all about. Before we can talk about design. A 750 square-foot space with 25 student armchair-tablet desks and a teacher's desk at the front of the room makes eminent sense if this is. indeed. This was efficient from the standpoint of space and provided the adults with the most "control. Learning Studios. Under the original classroom-based model of a school.

This allows greater flexibility in the way the overall space is utilized and also permits two teachers to collaborate and "team-teach. An expanded main central corridor can also satisfy the need for social learning. . some part of the corridor walls along the classrooms could be glazed to allow in natural daylight and also create "Transparency" which is another important design principle in new paradigm schools (see Design Pattern #9). For a more complete discussion of Learning Streets. therefore." the pattern in Figure 1-2 shows smaller groupings of classrooms. six to eight at the most. The classroom model worked best from a control standpoint if the day itself could be broken down into neat little segments (45 minutes being the preferred period after which one activity would shut down and another would begin) and if the segmentation could be announced by bells that. Another simple fix to the cells-and-bells model is the installation of operable walls between two classrooms on either side of the corridor. Thus the term "cells and bells" was born.rooms—also preferably set up along a double-loaded corridor. pulled away from the main corridor. See Figure 1-1. over time. The vast majority of school buildings are in fact cells-and-bells models." Taking this one step further. by slightly changing the dynamic of the control model and making the school design more "progressive. we can amend it somewhat to create an expanded corridor. literally programmed the students to switch gears on command. Taking the development of the doubleloaded model even farther. The 1 The Language of School Design Great Learning Street Debate at the end of this book. Figure 1-2. The finger plan has an added benefit in that it opens up the opportunity to make the main circulation spine into a Learning Street. For illustrative purposes only (in other words. we are not suggesting that this is a workable model for 21st century schools). Ford Model Evolution Another way of looking at the traditional classroom model is to equate it to a factory or production model in which the philosophy of the assembly line with its inherent efficiencies dictates the look and feel of the school." Done well. sometimes referred to as the "finger plan. the classroom cluster becomes a destination and not part of the larger thoroughfare. an expanded corridor could function as a "Learning Street" though we have not seen any Ford Model Evolution plans done well enough to qualify as Learning Streets. But by tinkering with this model. we start. please see the discussion in the essay. Design Pattern #1b : Finger Plan. with Pattern #1—the early 20th century cells-and-bells pattern in which several regularly shaped classrooms are aligned along a doubleloaded corridor. In this arrangement.

We now have abundant evidence from the frontiers of brain-based research that learning is not linear. Project-based learning 7. Peer tutoring 3. First. Team collaborative work in small and mid-size groups (2–6 students) 4. it will be easier to gauge their suitability to serve 21st century learning needs.It is important to remember that these learning modalities do not all need to be supported under one roof since some schools may have auxiliary or community facilities that are brought into play to augment school facilities. In the end. To what extent such change may or may not be possible will vary from school building to school building and will depend upon how many of the following modalities of learning can be supported by the physical spaces. but holistic. we should be looking beyond the "knowledge worker" who is now a global commodity. This can be accomplished by giving each wing a different architectural character. providing different options for display of student work and so on. The spaces set up for the old paradigm would be extremely difficult to tailor so that they function well for the new model. however. each cluster of rooms should be differentiated from the remaining clusters so that it has its own unique identity. Under the new learning paradigm. Distance learning 9. however. One-on-one learning with the teacher 5. the finger plan model can have significant psychological benefits for students who are now better able to define their "Home Base" and thus take ownership for it. In order for these benefits to be fully realized. 1 Learning Modalities The 18 Learning Modalities (this may not be a complete list) that the physical school must support are1: 1. As we move into the post knowledge economy.While it is a simple departure from the traditional corridor model. Clearly. Student presentations 11. let us look at the reasons for departing from the traditional model of school and toward a new 21st century model. Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools 1 . changing color schemes. we are looking at a model where different students (of varying ages) learn different things from different people in different places in different ways and at different times. By looking at existing or proposed school designs with this list in mind. Our most valuable export as a country will be creativity and innovation and these skills are not developed in the cells-andbells model of school. We will look later at concepts that take the finger plan to the next level in order to create Small Learning Communities or SLCs. it is hard to reconcile the old and new models of school. Technology-based learning with mobile computers 8. Lecture format with the teacher or outside expert at center stage 6. Independent study 2. Performance and music-based learning 1. Research via the Internet with wireless networking 10. classroom clusters within a simple finger plan may not qualify as a Small Learning Community because it lacks various common elements beyond classrooms that make each finger self-contained. and that it is not uni-dimensional but multi-faceted.

18. Today. Figure 1-4 shows the characteristics of a Learning Studio and Figure 1-5 shows that two Learning Studios can be arranged to form a "Learning Suite. The Learning Studio Given that the "classroom" itself will continue in some iteration into the Figure 1-4. In his article. This does not preclude the need to ask: Is the classroom obsolete? At some pure level. But at a more practical level. the answer to that question would be yes. 15. 65 years since its opening. we have to accept the reality that there are millions of classrooms already built in this country with thousands being added constantly. "The L-Shaped Classroom—A Pattern for Promoting Learning. foreseeable future." The term Learning Studio is sometimes used to refer to an L-shaped classroom which is.12. Architect: Perkins. The first Figure 1-3." This is further described by two floor plans. 13. Seminar-style instruction Community service learning Naturalist learning Social/emotional learning Art-based learning Storytelling (floor seating) Learning by building—hands on learning A traditional cells-and-bells design will come up short against the above list because it is primarily set up for the lecture format. One of the earliest schools featuring L-shaped classrooms configured like Learning Studios is the Crow Island School in Winnetka. Crow Island School in Winnetka IL. the architecture of the Crow Island School remains relevant— more so even than many of the schools being built today. we see that the traditional model can be pushed so that at least some of the new learning modalities can be accommodated. let us look at design patterns where the cells-and-bells model is amended so that the classroom goes from a rectangular box to a more flexible "Learning Studio. not a new idea. Illinois built in 1940—Figure 1-3. In Figures 1-1 and 1-2. and Saarinen." Peter Lippman makes a strong connection between the shape of the classroom and its ability to function as a Learning Studio with multiple activity centers. 20 The Language of School Design . Design Pattern #1c: Learning Studio. Wheeler & Will. 17. 16. One of the first schools to feature the L-shaped Learning Studio. Exterior of L-shaped classrooms. actually. 14.

Figure 1-6 shows the plan for an Advanced Learning Module—which is a new generation of modular classrooms and schools now under development to meet temporary school needs. Figure 1-6. Inc. Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools 21 . LLC. East Side's Learning Studios are ideal for project-based learning. It illustrates how a Learning Studio-based plan can be quite "rich" as far as activities go. Learning Studio-based design for Advanced Learning Environment Solutions. Planning and Design: Fielding Nair International for Deployables. The two Learning Studios create a Learning Suite Figure 1-5. This irregular plan creates breakout spaces and flexible learning zones that support a significant number of the learning modalities from the above list. Design Pattern #1d: Learning Suite. The Learning Suite The second plan shows how a Learning Suite might look. NJ and illustrates how two Learning Studios can be combined to create a Learning Suite.illustrates one application of a Learning Studio. Figure 1-7 shows a plan prepared for East Side High School in Newark.

NJ. it is possible to create Learning Suites using either moveable walls or mobile furniture. Figure 1-8 is a further development of this concept. the plan for Tajimi Junior High School in Tajimi-shi. Japan shows a Learning Suite where the boundaries of each classroom are more fluid and easier to change on a day-to-day basis because it is defined by furniture and not by walls. three center panels are white board with tack board above and at side panels Computer stations 28” inch high counter combination wall cabinets and open book shelves above Collating & distribution standing-height table with stools and storage beneath Teacher workstation Editorial Forum 24” x 60” student desks arranged for seminar Journalism 0 2 4 8 12 feet City Desk Portable stair Indoor/outdoor portable stage Figure 1-7. 22 The Language of School Design As the above discussion and plans illustrate. One or two hard-wired desktops are ok but these should be grouped in a way that encourages collaboration.Full-height glass doors with transoms above for daylighting Low plantings under windows View windows & transoms above for daylighting Low book shelves Critical Review Standing height project tables and stools Indoor/ outdoor seating Interviews. Planner: Fielding Nair International. that spills over into adjacent areas for both indoor and outdoor learning. The preferred method is to use mobile computers that can be deployed anywhere in the room with wireless networking. Gifu. The key difference between these two approaches is . medium texture allows for use as projection surface Full-height glass pane Lockable Storage Cabinet 60” W X 84” H X 24” D Sink & water fountain Production Editing Teacher workstation Scripts & Final Editing Folding Wall high acoustical rating. Learning Suite design for project based learning for East Side High School in Newark. and the Tajimi example (Figure 1-8) uses mobile furniture. The East Side High School Learning Suite (Figure 1-7) and the Goa International School Learning Suite (Figure 12-2 in Pattern #12) show Learning Suites that use moveable walls. Please note that the placement of several computers along the wall was a school district requirement. In this case. creative thinktank & journalist’s lounge Deciduous trees Communications provide vista and shade & Multi-media Ceiling-mounted data projector Screening Room Triple sliding white board with tack board at sides. This is NOT the recommended way to incorporate technology into a Learning Suite.

that moveable furniture is typically experienced as a friendlier way to create a suite. while still wishing to preserve the separation and independence of classrooms or Learning Studios as distinct units. whereas the moveable wall is more mechanistic and makes the division between Learning Studios more rigid. Students get used to using their "indoor voices" much as they would in a family-type situation with the realization that the Learning Suite caters to many different learning activities dispersed between the two studios. In this type of situation. The choice between the two approaches comes down to philosophical and operational issues. More traditional schools that are exploring the idea of team teaching and collaboration between classes. Architect: Atelier Zo. Japan. Gifu. Learning Suite at Tajimi Junior High School in Tajimi-shi. The more flexible furniture-based model is appropriate when the two Learning Studios are more likely to operate as one larger entity with the teachers working in close collaboration with each other. the acoustical separation afforded by the moveable wall is not much of an issue.Figure 1-8. Once we have repaired the basic building block of school—the classroom—it is Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools 2 . will prefer the model with moveable walls.

Picton. a majority of school districts that are creating SLC's Figure 1-9. The floor plan (Figure 1-10) and photograph of the Djidi Djidi Aboriginal School in Australia (Figure 1-11) feature another example of how Learning Studios can be combined with other common spaces to create self-contained Small Learning Communities. independent study. Figure 1-9 shows a simpler arrangement than the SLC described above with Learning Studios clustered around small group rooms and a café which doubles Figure 1-10. its own teacher workroom with the transparency needed for the space to serve as "eyes on the street. its own science lab and its own central multi-purpose social space that can be used for project work.easier to move the school design to a whole new level—still not a completely new paradigm. For this to work. the operative word is "small. For example. We have utilized one more image to represent the SLC model. SLCs and the Learning Street: In the discussion of Small Learning Communities. California illustrates how a common area shared by an SLC might be used. 2 The Language of School Design . as a project area. Design Pattern #1e: Learning Studiobased Small Learning Community (SLC). collaborative work. distance learning. But even at this simple level." its own toilets. Figure 1-12. each SLC needs to be somewhat complete. the High Tech Middle School in San Diego. Small Learning Community Model Figure 1-9 shows a Learning Studio-based Small Learning Community (SLC). it is possible to create an effective SLC. the best way to achieve smallness is to make the school itself small—so that the SLC and the school refer to the same thing. Djidi Djidi Aboriginal School design plan based on Design Pattern #1e. This pattern takes the finger plan and makes it whole so that students occupying an SLC (in a finger arrangement or any other such separate grouping) can truly feel that they belong to that SLC. Of course. Western Australia. Additionally. technology-based work and so on." The idea. always. Architect: Edgar Idle Wade. a Learning Studio-based SLC might contain its own science room. but much closer than the cells-and-bells model. However. This particular pattern could be modified to show each SLC having its own direct connection to the outdoors. each Learning Studio itself could have an outdoor connection. is to create small groupings where everyone knows everyone else.

Figure 1-11. big in this book—that subject is covered well in the KnowledgeWorks publication "Dollars and Sense—The Cost Effectiveness of Small Schools.) Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools 25 .) are doing so by breaking up larger schools into smaller communities on the same campus. (Photo Courtesy of Edgar Idle Wade Architects. we feel that it is important to see how to preserve the benefits of SLCs in the larger schools. CA. a Learning Studio-based SLC. We are not going to tackle the question of small vs. Shared social and learning space outside Learning Studios at High Tech Middle School in San Diego. It is impossible to put such a neighborhood/town concept Figure 1-12. One way to think about a large school is that it is a small town comprised of distinct neighborhoods—where every neighborhood represents a Small Learning Community. (Photo Courtesy of Bill Robinson Photography. Given today's reality that a majority of this country's schools are large and that communities will continue to build large schools. Architect: Carrier Johnson. It is rare to see truly small public schools that could themselves qualify as SLCs. Djidi Djidi Aboriginal School." which is included in the reference list at the end of this book.

Along these lines. Since this is intended to be a rudimentary pattern. this model simply represents in the built form what many schools that 2 The Language of School Design Food & beverages Cafe & Project Area Break-out area shared by two advisory groups Advisory Groups Individual Workstations 10 to 15 students each Figure 1-13. This particular diagram also shows four breakout areas—which could be collaborative spaces with soft seating and an area for presentations. There are many ways in which schools can tackle the issue of connectors—but.com in February 2005. We think that the Learning Street idea is still in its infancy in the school design world though the idea of unifying elements itself is not new. but it may well become one in a future edition. however. such as an Advisory workstation for each teacher/advisor. an interesting idea that has been gaining currency is the notion of a Learning Street referred to earlier. Interestingly. Advisory Model Moving to the next level of development. which. For now. a closed but partitionable seminar room that can be used for lectures and perhaps for distance learning. like the Main Street in most small towns. becomes the unifying element that ties the town's various neighborhoods together and gives the town its identity. Each breakout space is shared by two Advisories under the suggested pattern. we have acknowledged the importance of the Learning Street by including at the end of this book. We have not raised the Learning Street to the level of a specific Design Pattern in this book. Figure 1-13 shows an "Advisory model" of school design. without first thinking about the "connectors" that tie the neighborhoods together. look traditional have already begun to do organizationally—group students into advisories instead of classes or homerooms. opportunities should be explored to make the connectors into one or more unifying elements that give the larger school its identity. details have not been shown.into practice. we have a pattern that departs entirely from the "classroom" and "Learning Studio" model. Design Pattern #1f: Advisory-based Small Learning Community (SLC). We have provided a few illustrations of what a Learning Street might look like but we encourage our readers to submit more examples to us that we can share with all of you. The plan for the High School for Recording Arts—Hip-Hop High (Figure 1-14) and the photo of students at their . a slightly modified version of an article we published on DesignShare. The Advisory pattern shown here (Figure 1-13) describes how eight groups of 10 to 15-student Advisories might be arranged around a central café and project area. separate from project labs and "messy" areas. whenever possible.

Fielding Nair International. are 72” X 42”. the colors shown indicate variations in partition colors. couches and on project tables. wide door. donated by a local bank. Low-height Partitions of varying heights. Architect: Randall Fielding. made from recycled newspaper. located between desks are constructed of tackable. PreProduction Advanced Studio Movable Wall Demountable Ramp Student Workstations Each learner will have his own workstation and will share a computer with an adjacent learner. Performance Space and Project Tables Advisories 1 & 2 Advisories 5 &  Teacher Teacher Lockers Ceiling-Mounted Computer Projector Demountable Stage Projection Screen Cafe One-way Glass Viewing Bay Studio A 02 4 8 16 feet N Couches Network GlassServer panel Vocal 4 ft. Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools 2 . all new Booth interior doors to be wood and glass with maximum view area. wavy metal industrial siding. sound absorbing panels. Advisory-based SLC at the High School for Recording Arts (Hip-Hop High). Figure 1-14. All tops are a neutral color.Advisory Groups  &  Couch & Arm Chairs CD Cover Mural Graffiti Wall White Board Air Supply & Return Equipment Storage Black vinyl-coated chain link fence and gate. Laptop computers and a wireless network will also allow students to work at round tables. Advisory Groups Each Advisory Group is comprised of 15 students and a teacher. Basket Ball Hoop Teacher White Board White Board Elec. Advisory Groups are paired so that a single teacher may advise two groups. Exercise Equipment Stained Concrete Floor Corrugated Steel Infill Panel Carpet Teacher Teacher Full-View Glass Overhead All-School Rolling Door Meeting Area. Desktops The pre-used desks. and corrugated.

The Harbor City plan is rare in that it has no corridors and utilizes almost every square foot of space for learning. what Figure 1-13 is trying to accomplish diagrammatically. . workstations (Figure 1-15) shows an Advisory grouping next to a performance area that comes close to representing in built form. starting with a student workstation at the smallest level and leaving open the possibility of endless configurations of spaces and activities. Figure 1-13 begins to take the physical design of school into a functional model where there is a certain hierarchy of spaces.Figure 1-15. This model makes learning the centerpiece of the design intent and builds the plan around learning activities. (See the 18 learning modalities discussed earlier. rather than a theoretically appropriate building block like the classroom. Photograph of Advisory groupings showing individual workstations at Hip-Hop High.) 2 The Language of School Design The plan for Harbor City International School (Figure 1-16) is another example of the Advisory model and shows how it allows for a much more efficient use of spaces than a traditional classroom model.

MN. Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools 2 . Advisory-based plan for Harbor City International School. Fielding Nair International. with Scalzo Architects. Design Architect: Randall Fielding.Figure 1-16. Duluth.

Partner. In 2003. Nair worked as Director of Operations for a multi-billion dollar school construction program for New York City. Contact Prakash Nair at prakash@designshare. the top honor worldwide for school planning and design. He is the recipient of several planning awards including the prestigious CEFPI MacConnell Award. Fielding Nair International.About the Authors Prakash Nair.com. Nair is recognized worldwide as an expert in the areas of modern school planning and educational technology. His many articles about designing schools based on established educational research have been published by leading journals around the globe. Nair completed a project with the University of Wisconsin on a Rockefeller Foundation-funded grant to develop best practice standards for world-class schools throughout New Jersey and nationally. 112 The Language of School Design . He is the recipient of the organization's Service Citation and Distinguished Service Awards. Nair has been invited by governments and professional organizations as a keynote speaker and consultant in 19 states and ten countries. Nair has served as Northeast Regional President of the Council of Educational Facility Planners International.

The website has received seven awards for design and quality of content.com. Fielding oversees DesignShare's annual international design awards program and has published 300 innovative school designs from 20 countries. Fielding led his own architectural practice for over 17 years out of Chicago and Minneapolis. and another as the Founder and Editorial Director of DesignShare. Prior to co-founding FNI.000 visitors a month from educators. Contact Randall Fielding at fielding@designshare. architects. Fielding Nair International.Randall Fielding. and planners worldwide. DesignShare is a premier resource for research on the design of innovative learning environments. Fielding wears two hats. Partner. He is internationally recognized as an authority on innovative school design and is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2004 Impact on Learning Award from CEFPI and School Planning and Management Magazine. He has taken his unique message of creativity and innovation to nine countries and Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools 11 has published numerous articles on school planning and design. com. and receives 60. an online journal and library of facility planning. one as an award-winning architect and planner working on school projects around the world. .

S.com 11 The Language of School Design .Endorsements & Sponsors THE LANGUAGE OF SCHOOL DESIGN: DESIGN PATTERNS FOR 21ST CENTURY SCHOOLS This book has been endorsed by: The National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities. U. Department of Education KnowledgeWorks Foundation This book has been sponsored by: "Construction Specialties—Creating Products That Make Buildings Better" http://www. at the National Institute of Building Sciences.c-sgroup.

he served for 10 years as Director of Operations for New York City's multi billion-dollar school construction program. USA . They explain how to shape the buildings in which we learn so that they are truly the most visible manifestation of our future aspirations as a society.com. an award-winning school planning firm and Managing Editor of DesignShare.Architecture $35      Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools The Following Website Contains the Latest Information and Feedback for School Design Pattern Language: http://DesignShare. designing and constructing new and renovated schools and evaluating the educational adequacy of existing school facilities.com/Patterns "Why do schools look the way they do? Why is there a chasm between widely acknowledged best practice principles and the actual design of a majority of school facilities? Why has the disconnect between learning research and learning places been so difficult to repair?" In answering these questions authors Prakash Nair and Randall Fielding explain how the built environment is not only the place of learning. Fielding is recognized as one of the world's foremost creative and innovative school architects. but also the psyche of learning. Before starting DesignShare. But it is more than a book about ideas. has keynoted conferences and consulted in 19 states in the U. It is also a practical tool and a must-have resource for all school stakeholders involved in planning. Nair is widely published. and is the recipient of numerous design awards.com. building it from the grain of an idea in 1998 into the world's largest and most prestigious forum for innovative schools. Prakash Nair is a partner with Fielding Nair International. Randall Fielding is a partner with Fielding Nair International and the Founder/Editorial Director of DesignShare. and 10 countries on four continents.S. MN. The Language of School Design is a seminal work because it defines a new graphic vocabulary that synthesizes learning research with best practice in school planning and design. Prior to that.COM The International Forum for Innovative Schools Minneapolis. This publication is endorsed by: The National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities and The KnowledgeWorks Foundation DESIGNSHARE. Fielding ran his own architectural consulting firm for 17 years in Chicago.