Teton Valley Community School in Victor, Idaho and architecture firm Section Eight [design] receive the top award of the 2009 Open Architecture Challenge: Classroom. Currently based out of a remodeled house, students at Teton Valley Community School are now one step closer to getting a real classroom.
Winner of the top award of the “2009 Open Architecture Challenge: Classroom”: Teton Valley Community School designed by Section Eight [design]
Cindy Riegel, President of the School Board says, â€œWe are thrilled. The evolution of Section Eightâ€™s classroom design for the Teton Valley Community School was a truly collaborative process involving students, parents, teachers, and community members. It exemplifies the schoolâ€™s philosophy of real world learning and community engagement.â€
The need for safe, sustainable and smart classroom design has never been greater. Worldwide, 776 million people are illiterate. With less than six years left to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals, the World Bank estimates ten million new classrooms are needed to reach its target on education. In addition, tens of millions of crumbling classrooms - including many in the United States - are in urgent need of upgrading. Meeting this demand for better learning environments will constitute the largest building project the world has ever undertaken.
In response, the 2009 Open Architecture Challenge was launched by Architecture for Humanity and principal partner Orient Global in collaboration with a consortium of other partners from around the world. This truly global initiative invited the architecture, design and engineering community to collaborate directly with students and teachers to rethink the classroom of the future. Designers entering the competition were given a simple mandate: collaborate with real students in real schools in their community to develop real solutions. Collectively more than 10,000 individuals participated in this global initiative.
More than 1,000 design teams from 65 countries registered for the competition. The winning design was selected from more than 400 qualified entries by a team of interdisciplinary online jurors. Each design was rated on feasibility, sustainability, and innovation in the learning environment.
â€œThe response to the 2009 Open Architecture Challenge has been remarkable. It has clearly captured peopleâ€™s imagination,â€ said Richard F. Chandler, Chairman of Orient Global. â€œWe congratulate the winning teams and everyone who took part in this international effort. Education is the first step in building prosperity for tomorrowâ€™s world. The challenge now is to implement the best of these designs in classrooms across the globe.â€
Many schools around the world share the facilities constraints faced by the Teton Valley Community School. Operating out of makeshift classrooms converted from residential use, a lack of space and an environment ill-suited for learning impedes studentsâ€™ opportunities. The winning classroom design developed by Section Eight [design] provides cost-effective and sustainable teaching spaces and extends the learning environment beyond the four walls of the classroom. Movable panels allow students to reconfigure their space as needed. The building itself is designed to be a learning tool. The mechanical room, a building component normally closed from view, can be seen from the science lab allowing students to learn how heating and cooling systems function first hand.
Site plan and site section
Diagram of elements and materials
Teton Valley Community School will be awarded USD $50,000 to undertake the planning and construction of the winning design, and Section Eight [design] will receive a design grant of USD $5,000 to support the school. The school has begun a capital campaign to raise additional funds needed to build their new campus.
In addition to the overall winner, the competition recognized entries in each of three competition categories: best urban classroom upgrade design, best rural classroom design and best re-locatable classroom design. Three building partners, Rumi Schools of Excellence in India, Building Tomorrow in Uganda and Blazer Industries with The Modular Building Institute in the United States have committed to build classrooms based on these designs.
The Founders Award is awarded to the entry that best exemplifies the aims of Architecture for Humanity and the Open Architecture Network. It was awarded to the entry for The CorporaciÃ³n Educativa y Social Waldorf in Bogota, Colombia designed by Arquitectura Justa for their integrated approach to providing safe spaces for students to learn and play.
“This year’s challenge represents a huge effort by the global design community to bring attention to the need for sustainable, safe classroom design,” said Sandhya Janardhan, program coordinator with Architecture for Humanity. “We’re excited by the results.”
Competition finalists (previously on Bustler) will also receive awards, including AutoCAD Revit 2009, Autodesk Ecotect Analysis 2010, Autodesk 3DSMax 9, Autodesk Maya 10th Anniversary Edition from software leader Autodesk; SMART Board interactive whiteboard from SMART Technologies; Google SketchUp Pro 7; copies of the book the Third Teacher by OWP/P, VS America and Bruce Mau Design and an honorarium from partner Curriki for the best use of the competition design curriculum.
All the design solutions are now available on the Open Architecture Network for designers and school administrators to learn from and adapt to their own context. An international traveling exhibition of the winning designs and notable entries is set to launch in the fall.
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