Currently Reading

Activating innovation: Trends in K-12 education

K-12 Schools

Activating innovation: Trends in K-12 education


By Rachael Dumas | Perkins and Will | September 20, 2017
Kids walking outside of a school
Activating innovation: Trends in K-12 education

More than ever, today’s schools must address complex global issues while anticipating future changes in education and technol­ogy. To help us meet this challenge, we look beyond the world of K-12 education to inform and enrich our understanding of what a future-ready schools looks like.

Our team benefits from a research-based project ex­perience and the knowledge of multiple areas of practice, bringing informed, thought­ful, and multidisciplinary approaches to each project. All schools benefit from the forward-thinking design solutions that are the result of this approach. Some of our recent K-12 education projects demonstrate components that support future-ready school facilities (and students!).

 

BUILDING RESILIENCE

School structures offer a unique opportunity as they can often double as community centers and serve as shelters in the event of an emergency or natural disaster. Though planning for natural disasters is top of mind, resilience also means future-proofing structures so that each community can flourish and reopen to students as quickly as possible. By understanding an institution’s vulnerabilities we can provide schools and districts the information needed to make better-informed decisions.

Ridgeview Middle + High School
Located on a mountain top in southwestern Virginia, Ridgeview Middle School and High Schoolsits on a 106-acre site and serves 1,400 students.  Due to the mountainous terrain and climate, heavy snow and flooding are the primary concerns for the school as they often lead to power outages that can last several days. Lack of power results in the loss of basic life essentials including, heat, hot water, and proper food storage.  Ridgeview was thus planned to serve as an emergency shelter for the community. The kitchen and the gymnasium feature emergency backup power that can provide food and shelter.

 

ADAPTABILITY

In the past, formal learning encompassed the entire education experience. Today, technology enables learning to extend from more traditional formal learning spaces into informal environments throughout the school. From adaptable furniture solutions to utilizing corridors for teaching and incorporating smart technology, flexibility supports diverse learning styles and is key to meeting the needs of today and tomorrow.

Fellowship Christian School
The Upper School we envisioned for Fellowship Christian School is three levels and designed to accommodate 450 students and associated administration, faculty, and support staff. Each floor of the classroom wing includes a large flexible space that provides for either a STEM, project, or media lab, fostering innovation at all levels. Multiple break and study rooms are spaced throughout the building that can be used for a variety of individual or group functions.

 

STUDENT-CENTERED

Pioneering school designs focus on how students learn best by providing students the skills they will need to survive in our ever-changing economy. They also offer choice – from small and quiet heads-down nooks to large project labs that fuel collaboration. Wisely, some schools are taking a systems thinking approach to this view of student centered education, recognizing that in order to make progress they must look at all of the elements put in place to cause learning to occur including, pedagogy, community, physical environment and technology.

Dena’Ina Elementary School
Dena’Ina Elementary School offers features kid-friendly elements that offer exploration of scale, natural light, color, and transparency. The school is organized into three general zones: an academic zone with southern exposure, a shared program zone bordering the northern edge, and a multi-use social gathering zone in between. A simple primary color palette carries through from the playground equipment to the windows, carpet, furniture, collaborative learning nooks, and artwork. The colored glass and clerestory windows add brightness and fun for students, even during the dark winter days.  The school was also designed with student health in mind and features student-centered adaptable, comfortable, and inclusive spaces.

 

CREATIVE COLLABORATION

Fostering creativity begins by realizing that most creativity emerges through a collaborative process. Collaborative environments are supported by creating visual and physical connections between spaces. This transparency allows students to innovate as they navigate intuitively based on personal career pathways and immediate project goals.

Eddy & Debbie Peach Elementary School
Eddy & Debbie Peach Elementary School is located on a 9.7-acre and serves 900 students. The educational program includes grade level break out collaboration spaces sprinkled throughout each grade cluster and feature natural light and views of the landscape. Highlighted along the core of the facility are an outdoor art and science learning lab, a double volume media center, and an outdoor learning environment that serves as an extension of the media center, as well as outdoor break out spaces for core classrooms.  The 3,000 square foot media center centered at the heart of the school reinforces creative collaboration.

As we head into a new school year, we continue to look both inside and outside the realm of K-12 education to help us create spaces that equip students with the skills needed to thrive in an ever-changing world.

More from Author

Perkins and Will | Aug 30, 2021

The great re-shuffle & re-think

In this new hybrid environment in which we cater to how our employees work best, how will we manage new hybrid work practices and etiquette?

Perkins and Will | May 18, 2020

Global design firms collaborate on new COVID-19 mobile testing lab to bring testing to vulnerable communities worldwide

Perkins and Will, Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, and Arup Group develop scalable solutions for increased testing capacity within high-density and under-served neighborhoods. 

Perkins and Will | Jun 7, 2019

Workplace wellness: Top 3 tips for Fitwel certification

How can thoughtful design encourage healthier choices, lifestyles, and work environments?

Perkins and Will | Feb 27, 2019

ResilientSEE: A framework to achieve resilience across scales

Conceived in the Boston studio of Perkins+Will, the ResilientSEE team developed a resilient planning framework that can be applied to other neighborhoods, cities, and countries.

Perkins and Will | Nov 28, 2018

Amazon HQ2 and the new geography of work

The big HQ2 takeaway is how geography and mobility are becoming major workplace drivers.

Perkins and Will | Sep 4, 2018

It takes more than money to fund resilience

Resilient design, much like all projects in the built environment, requires funding.  

Perkins and Will | Aug 13, 2018

There's more to the open office than headlines suggest

A study found that contrary to popular belief, the open office did not encourage—but rather, inhibited—face-to-face communication.

Perkins and Will | Apr 13, 2018

Integrating many voices into a single vision

There’s no question that, as opposed to a top-down process, an open process is best for an office like ours.

Perkins and Will | Mar 22, 2018

The benefits and nuances of integrated design

Achieving integrated design usually means operating under a strong relationship. 

Perkins and Will | Mar 14, 2018

How to solve the housing crunch on college campuses

A growing number of public and private academic institutions are turning to designers and architects for alternative housing strategies—particularly in high-density areas on the East and West Coasts.

More In Category





Magazine Subscription
Subscribe

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe

Follow BD+C: