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Schools- ever since early models in homes in ancient China to the 1950s open-plan model- were tutor-focused and based on an approach to ducation that favored the transmission and reception of standard knowledge. In the 21st century, changes in technology - wireless networks, mobile devices, the internet and idgital learning resources - have led to a shift from teacher-centered to a student-centered paradigm, and the rise of e-learning means learning can extend beyond the walls of the classroom. However, learning is not atomized to alearner; it is a collaborative process involving students, their peers, faculty, community members and ready access to the world via the internet. This raises the question: how does the space support learning experience?


Section 1

Section 2

Section 3

Section 4

Section 5

Section 6

Section 7

Roof Plan

Upper Floor Plan

Basement Plan

Ground Floor Plan

Upper Floor Plan


According to the Boston Center for Curriculum Redesign, knowledge, skills, character and metacognition define the four dimensions of 21st century education. Knowledge and skill are curriculum concerns. Metacognition- how we reflect and learn- is influenced by each individual’s subjectivity. Character, on the other hand, is informed by experience, or “knowing how” we engage with the world. The specific spatial environment hte school building provides informs this aspect of learning. Given that learning is no longer confined to the classroom, but occurs throughout the school, this function of the building forms an ever greater part in students” education, echoing John Dewey who famouslyo said, “Learning is thinking about experience.”

The studio approached the school building as an assemblage. Acting individually or collectively, its constituent elements address the probrammatic brief and other practical concerns. They also act as sources of aesthetic experience through the production of affects that are desirable in a 21st Century learning environment, such as socialisation, collaboration, exploration, spontaneity, and interaction, risk taking, discovery, healthiness, and concentration 

The Function of Education: The 21st Century School

Project Information:

Harvard GSD Fall 2015 | Option Studio | Prof. Farshid Moussavi
Individual Project | Design: Ping Lu

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