Open school : learning and exchange in the city

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Galvez Soliva, Mary Joselle
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Master of Architecture (Professional)
Unitec Institute of Technology
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
school architecture
library architecture
Grafton (Auckland, N.Z.)
Auckland (N.Z.)
knowledge society
New Zealand
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Galvez Soliva, M. J. (2011). Open school : learning and exchange in the city. An explanatory document in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Architecture (Professional), Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand.
RESEARCH QUESTION: How does an urban school manifest through its architecture our shifting understanding of knowledge and learning? This project investigates the design of an urban school programmed using alternative modes of learning relevant to a knowledge driven society. The knowledge society, or knowledge economy, is a mode of thinking which is redefining established notions of knowledge. A knowledge driven society perceives knowledge as a significant resource and a key component in innovation. This understanding is important to education for it stimulates creativity and ingenuity. The shift sees knowledge being understood as a process. Within the discipline of education, “a knowledge society is really a learning society”. Learning becomes flexible and informal, where multiple disciplines overlap. Learning sees itself expand outside the boundaries of the school. Technology is supplementary both to the knowledge economy and learning. It facilitates the ease of participation through easy information access and distribution. In education, it allows multimedia modes of learning supplementing traditional forms of communication. It questions the role of the classroom as the sole place for learning. These issues have implications to the design of schools. Economy and efficiency have been the driving forces in the design of public schools, where the built form correlates with the industrial age mode of education still imbedded within the public system. The combination of shifting paradigms in education and ways of learning within the urban context provides the foundation from which to conduct this design project.OBJECTIVES I. Discover, how a school should be architecturally defined and programmed according to changing defintions of knowledge and use of digital technology. II. Construct a design system where a school becomes a place of exchange utilizing the potentials of the urban fabric. SITE: The site chosen for the school is a defunct filling station in Grafton, Auckland bounded by the Auckland Domain on the north side of the site, in its heart is the Grafton Train Station. This urban setting will directly influence the programme. The programme will be composed of the school, a public library, retail facilities and the train station. The school programme will house 250 students, age 14 -18, and 20 – 30 staff. The public library and the train station are important elements in allowing this school to be socially and spatially permeable by the community, facilitating exchange.
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