Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the field of education, causing a rapid shift towards online learning. This shift has forced us to reevaluate the future of educational spaces and question whether physical campuses can offer unique benefits that cannot be replicated through virtual means.
The essence of a physical learning environment lies in its capacity for fostering interactions and connections between teachers, students, and peers. These face-to-face interactions provide a positive influence and a sense of motivation that cannot be replicated through digital means. Despite the convenience of online learning, many important academic discussions and interactions still occur offline.
To create an optimal learning environment, it is essential to design spaces that encourage student participation and promote a positive atmosphere for collaborative learning. This positive atmosphere, along with the opportunities for in-person interaction, can serve as a driving force for students to engage in their studies and reach their full potential.
The middle school campus of Kingston International School in Taipei was in need of renovation due to its outdated facilities and rigid layout that no longer supported innovative teaching methods. The goal of the renovation project was to transform and modernize the campus space to provide students with a forward-thinking learning environment.
While maintaining the overall structure and exterior of the building, the interior space was reorganized to better align with the school’s curriculum needs. The optimization of the layout and the creation of open spaces helped to redefine the hierarchy and character of the campus.
The renovation also introduced a number of aesthetic and functional upgrades to enhance the student experience. The integration of fiber optics, color, and furniture created a more enjoyable and immersive learning environment. In addition, the use of high-quality materials in the construction of new immersive teaching classrooms further elevated the aesthetic and functional appeal of the campus.
The rise of flipped learning has led to a greater need for versatile learning spaces that can accommodate the diverse needs of students, including personal, group, quiet, interactive, open, and closed spaces. Campus renewal initiatives have therefore prioritized the creation of more autonomous learning spaces for students.
On the first floor of the campus, public service functions such as the hall and administrative center have been given a central role. The hall has been transformed into a multi-functional space that incorporates functions such as reception, library, leisure, exhibitions, and more. The goal is to create a vibrant and dynamic public space where students can socialize and engage in learning activities.
Through its diverse and multi-functional features, the hall serves as a hub of activity and learning, fostering a lively and dynamic campus atmosphere. It is a place for students to chat and collaborate with their peers, as well as a learning center where they can enjoy reading and work on homework. The hall’s inclusive and engaging environment encourages students to participate in the life of the campus and contributes to a positive learning experience.
In order to create an open and transparent public space and promote more casual communication between peers and teachers, the first floor’s library hall and administrative space are designed with glass walls. This enhances visual penetration, bringing people closer together and creating more opportunities for dialogue, while also making the space appear more spacious and bright. The overall height of the space is limited, with beams only 2.95 meters high. To overcome this limitation, the ceiling is designed with a combination of beams and an elevated light film grid ceiling, making the space appear high and bright despite the height restriction. To better control the indoor physical environment, we have added operable glass windows to the original open-air corridor, which can be adjusted to different ventilation modes in different seasons. Backpack cabinets are located in the corridor and are rhythmic, becoming a beautiful feature of the teaching area corridor.
The traditional role of the classroom as a one-way teaching venue is becoming increasingly obsolete, as the emphasis shifts to fostering teacher-student interaction and group collaboration. As a result, the flexibility of desks and chairs has become a critical factor in the design of modern classrooms. A range of flexible and easily reconfigurable seating arrangements is necessary to accommodate the dynamic and interactive teaching methods of the future.
The main teaching spaces are located on the second floor or higher. The design of these spaces is focused on creating a spacious, flexible, and adaptable learning environment that can accommodate a variety of teaching modes. Blank wall surfaces have been included to allow for student expression and communication, and ample storage space has been integrated to meet the needs of teachers.
In the design of subject-specific classrooms, attention has been paid to creating immersive learning environments that reflect the themes and subjects taught. The Maker Classroom is designed to encourage hands-on learning, while the Art Classroom is quiet and elegant. The Music Classroom is lively and energetic, and each themed classroom has been carefully crafted to support and enhance the learning experience. The close relationship between the space and the course, as well as the educational role of the environment itself, contribute to a rich and engaging learning experience for students.
The basement level is primarily utilized as the student dining hall. The open dining area features a bright and simple design, with white and grass green as the predominant colors, creating a natural, soft, and inviting atmosphere.
Traditionally, cafeteria environments are often noisy and congested, with fast-food-style seating arrangements that promote quick and efficient eating. In the past, students and teachers would only come to the dining hall to eat and quickly move on to other activities. However, with the implementation of flipped learning, students now have more time for independent and group learning. By transforming the dining hall into a space where students can relax, chat, and discuss during meal times, the campus space is used more effectively and efficiently.
The second basement level is dedicated to sports functions. The central large area serves as a space for a variety of physical activities such as gymnastics, long jump, high jump, badminton, and others. Dance classrooms, rhythm classrooms, table tennis rooms, and other specialized sports classrooms are arranged around the central space.
In order to maximize the height of the space, the ceiling is left exposed and adorned with lighting fixtures. To ensure safety during sports activities, the pillars in the area are covered with soft materials. A blue and yellow interlacing track runs throughout the floor, not only defining the different functional areas but also serving as a path for running. The bright contrast between blue and yellow accentuates the lively atmosphere of the sports facilities and highlights the energy and vitality associated with athletic pursuits.
The entrance of the campus features an irregularly shaped courtyard, designed to be a peaceful and rejuvenating garden space. With its wooden flower beds and seating, the courtyard provides students with a natural and comfortable environment for socializing and relaxation during breaks. The sounds of birds and the scent of flowers set the mood for meaningful conversations and foster offline education, creating lasting memories of their student days.
Status: Construction Complete
Design Finish Year: 2020
Completion Year: 2021