It’s 2063 and the population of Melbourne has risen to 10 million. Huge numbers of school-aged children live within the CBD, and have no access to rural and coastal Victoria. Owing to the proliferation of high rise apartments, the local government has started to utilise the roof top spaces of these buildings as schools. You have been given a brief to design a classroom that brings rural and coastal Victoria to the city. The school is committed to environmental awareness owing to water restrictions and a depletion of natural resources.
Floor Planner Design
This is my 2D and 3D image of how I would design my rooftop school.
My design: half of the classroom would be dedicated to gardening and environmental learning including compost bins, worm farm, water tanks, vegie patches etc. The other half would be an open plan area with play activities like sandpit, kiting, shells and also a technology area where there are computers, iPads etc. Also, on the balcony there would be natural light with shading in some learning areas to avoid sun damage.
Please click this link to view my design in 3D: http://pl.an/icw8c3
Rural element – Greenhouse
The decision to design the rooftop classroom with a greenhouse was to enable students to build a community of practice about environmental awareness and sustainability. It aims to bring an aspect of rural Victoria into the classroom… and adds a bit of greenery too. Considering the three elements that define a community of practice:
- Domain – the greenhouse would be a place where the students can transition from other subjects and get into the right frame of mind for environmental studies. It would help students to connect with each other and share information in this particular learning space.
- Community – the students would have a place that is interesting and engaging to participate in activities and discussions around the environmental topic. Group work would be highly implemented so that students can help and learn from each other.
- Practice – the resources within the greenhouse would ensure that students are learning in an authentic setting. The hands-on experience with gardening, vegetable patch, water tanks, compost, worm farm would enable students to interact and develop meaningful knowledge. It would be an on-going experience and students can address any problems that occur and collaborate together.
In this way, the greenhouse would aim to build a community of practice based around environmental awareness and sustainability. This is why I have included a greenhouse in my design layout.
(Green Point Gazette, 2012. Greenhouse classroom [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.greenpointnews.com/news/5112/ps-84-greenhouse-project-presents-oido-an-experiment-in-sound-and-sculpture)
This video discusses some predictions about the advancements in art and technology of environmental responsible architecture. (Particularly view 12:00 – 14:00 to view some building designs to cater for 2050).
(TEDxTalks, 2012. The 2050 City: Gregory Kiss at TEDxYouth@MSC [Video]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVkMepB09m8)
This video is an excellent presentation spoken by students at Manhattan School, New York who have a greenhouse on their school’s rooftop. It is greatly informative and demonstrates the learning that can develop from experiencing this topic in context.
(TEDxTalks, 2012. Farmers on the roof: James, Myasia & Wesley at TEDxYouth@MSC [Video]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiYqwklVFi0)
This is a short video that gives a Primary school example of the learning benefits from having a greenhouse.
(NYC Media, 2012. That’s So New York: The Greenhouse Project at P.S. 333 [Video]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK_ejHrW9mU)
The fish tank, fish pond and sand pit are included in my design layout to bring the coastal Victoria to the rooftop classroom. The marine life in the fish tank and fish pond would include various fish, sea crabs, sea snails, and frogs. It would be the responsibility of the students to look after these sea creatures and their habitat. They would be taught about marine life and experience first hand how to look after them properly. Ideally, an excursion to an aquarium or to the beach would be a great way for the students to have a genuine experience in an appropriate setting. Going beyond the classroom is such an effective learning space and it would enhance the students’ knowledge even more.
(Wallpapers Wala, 2013. Salt Fish Tank with no. of small fish [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.wallpaperswala.com/fish-tank/)
Under the main tent of the rooftop classroom there are desks, floor area and electronics available for students. For instance, the smart board, TV, laptops and iPads are included in this classroom layout so that students can use technology. Also, I’m sure there would be some sort of energy supply like solar panels in the building.
Although, considering this scenario is in 2063 it can be assumed that there would be more advancements in technology than these examples but not knowing the future does limit the prediction of this design. In saying this, I added books and desks in my design because I can’t imagine a classroom without them, however this could completely change in the future. So, in relation to technology, this design is not accurate but the main point is that this rooftop classroom would aim to include an element of electronics in any way possible.
(Okie Magazine, 2013. The Electronic Classroom [Image]. Retrieved from http://okiemagazine.com/?p=2628)
Some considerations of this design:
Weather – extreme hot and cold conditions are an issue and would decrease the ability to learn in this environment.
- Safety – being on a roof reduces the safety level because if there was a fire or emergency the access to lifts and stairs would take time to get to a safe area on the ground.
- Sunlight – sun may deteriorate the quality of materials and affect student’s concentration if there is too much sunlight.
- Pollution – the air may be polluted in the city which would affect the healthy of students, especially if the population is 10 million.
These are just a few details of this design that may cause a negative effect on the rooftop classroom.