Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

1 minute read

8 Insane Schools, Playgrounds, And Libraries Of The Future

School is a lot more fun when the entire building is covered in astroturf. Or when your playground is an abandoned oil rig. Architects and educators are finding new ways to engage kids in learning through the built environment, and the results are out of this world.

  • <p>Geopark reflects its location in the heart of Norway’s oil-producing region by reproducing the idea of geological layers and materials from old oil rigs. The park--designed by <a href="http://www.hha.no/" target="_blank">Helen & Hard</a>--has areas for skating, climbing, exhibitions, and concerts, as well as plenty of places for children to explore the materials of the regions industry.</p>
  • <p>This school--designed by <a href="http://www.publicinterestdesign.org/tag/anna-heringer-eike-roswag/" target="_blank">Anna Heringer and Eike Roswag</a>--is made of local materials (earth and bamboo) and is laid out in a series of caves, designed to be places for the children to gather. The second floor is made entirely of bamboo.</p>
  • <p>This library--part of the Safe Haven Orphanage--was built in just two weeks using only local material and labor. The simple bamboo facade and plastered concrete blocks, designed by <a href="http://www.tyintegnestue.no/" target="_blank">TYIN Tegnestue Architects</a>, serve as natural temperature regulators, while the open architecture creates an inviting place for the children in the orphanage to read and play.</p>
  • <p>There may be nothing lovelier than reading outside on a beautiful day. This library, designed as a collaboration between local residents and <a href="http://www.karo-architekten.de/" target="_blank">KARO</a>, now holds 30,000 books, which are available to anyone who walks up, 24 hours a day. It’s also a vibrant public space for the community.</p>
  • <p>This university’s giant promenade is designed to facilitate interaction and discussion between the students (and interaction with the classrooms, which open on to it). The <a href="http://www.perraultarchitecte.com/en/homepage/" target="_blank">Dominique Perrault Architecture</a>-designed campus is cut into a hillside, creating an interesting dynamic between the built and natural environments.</p>
  • <p>This multi-leveled bamboo dome is designed to entertain children while also introducing them to the local environment and making them more aware (it’s in a resort). The dome--made from local bamboo and designed by <a href="http://www.24h-architecture.com/" target="_blank">24h Architecture</a>--is open, which keeps the temperature regulated and allows for mostly natural lighting. There are also bamboo sleeping pods, for the more adventurous visitors.</p>
  • <p>The buildings of this school, designed by <a href="http://www.huma.es/" target="_blank">Huma Arquitectura</a>, are covered in artificial turf, to create a tactile environment that’s ideal for children’s explorations.</p>
  • <p>Sometimes children don’t have access to libraries, so the library needs to come to them. This library in a truck, designed by <a href="http://www.linie-2.de/6607-innenarchitektur.html" target="_blank">Linie Zweii</a>, carts around the books in exceptionally high style, with playful shelves and seating to hold kids attention, even if the books don’t.</p>
  • 01 /35 | Geopark: Stavanger, Norway

    Geopark reflects its location in the heart of Norway’s oil-producing region by reproducing the idea of geological layers and materials from old oil rigs. The park--designed by Helen & Hard--has areas for skating, climbing, exhibitions, and concerts, as well as plenty of places for children to explore the materials of the regions industry.

  • 02 /35 | Geopark: Stavanger, Norway
  • 03 /35 | Geopark: Stavanger, Norway
  • 04 /35 | Geopark: Stavanger, Norway
  • 05 /35 | School Handmade in Bangladesh: Rudrapur, Bangladesh

    This school--designed by Anna Heringer and Eike Roswag--is made of local materials (earth and bamboo) and is laid out in a series of caves, designed to be places for the children to gather. The second floor is made entirely of bamboo.

  • 06 /35 | School Handmade in Bangladesh: Rudrapur, Bangladesh
  • 07 /35 | School Handmade in Bangladesh: Rudrapur, Bangladesh
  • 08 /35 | School Handmade in Bangladesh: Rudrapur, Bangladesh
  • 09 /35 | School Handmade in Bangladesh: Rudrapur, Bangladesh
  • 10 /35 | Safe Haven Library: Ban Tha Song Yang, Thailand

    This library--part of the Safe Haven Orphanage--was built in just two weeks using only local material and labor. The simple bamboo facade and plastered concrete blocks, designed by TYIN Tegnestue Architects, serve as natural temperature regulators, while the open architecture creates an inviting place for the children in the orphanage to read and play.

  • 11 /35 | Safe Haven Library: Ban Tha Song Yang, Thailand
  • 12 /35 | Safe Haven Library: Ban Tha Song Yang, Thailand
  • 13 /35 | Safe Haven Library: Ban Tha Song Yang, Thailand
  • 14 /35 | Safe Haven Library: Ban Tha Song Yang, Thailand
  • 15 /35 | Safe Haven Library: Ban Tha Song Yang, Thailand
  • 16 /35 | Open-Air-Libray: Magdeburg, Germany

    There may be nothing lovelier than reading outside on a beautiful day. This library, designed as a collaboration between local residents and KARO, now holds 30,000 books, which are available to anyone who walks up, 24 hours a day. It’s also a vibrant public space for the community.

  • 17 /35 | Open-Air-Libray: Magdeburg, Germany
  • 18 /35 | EWHA Woman's University: Seoul, South Korea

    This university’s giant promenade is designed to facilitate interaction and discussion between the students (and interaction with the classrooms, which open on to it). The Dominique Perrault Architecture-designed campus is cut into a hillside, creating an interesting dynamic between the built and natural environments.

  • 19 /35 | EWHA Woman's University: Seoul, South Korea
  • 20 /35 | EWHA Woman's University: Seoul, South Korea
  • 21 /35 | EWHA Woman's University: Seoul, South Korea
  • 22 /35 | Ecological Children Activity and Education Center: Koh Kood, Thailand

    This multi-leveled bamboo dome is designed to entertain children while also introducing them to the local environment and making them more aware (it’s in a resort). The dome--made from local bamboo and designed by 24h Architecture--is open, which keeps the temperature regulated and allows for mostly natural lighting. There are also bamboo sleeping pods, for the more adventurous visitors.

  • 23 /35 | Ecological Children Activity and Education Center: Koh Kood, Thailand
  • 24 /35 | Ecological Children Activity and Education Center: Koh Kood, Thailand
  • 25 /35 | Ecological Children Activity and Education Center: Koh Kood, Thailand
  • 26 /35 | Ecological Children Activity and Education Center: Koh Kood, Thailand
  • 27 /35 | Ecological Children Activity and Education Center: Koh Kood, Thailand
  • 28 /35 | Nursery - Elementary School: Roldan, Spain

    The buildings of this school, designed by Huma Arquitectura, are covered in artificial turf, to create a tactile environment that’s ideal for children’s explorations.

  • 29 /35 | Nursery - Elementary School: Roldan, Spain
  • 30 /35 | Nursery - Elementary School: Roldan, Spain
  • 31 /35 | Nursery - Elementary School: Roldan, Spain
  • 32 /35 | Robi Mobile Library: Heilbronn, Germany

    Sometimes children don’t have access to libraries, so the library needs to come to them. This library in a truck, designed by Linie Zweii, carts around the books in exceptionally high style, with playful shelves and seating to hold kids attention, even if the books don’t.

  • 33 /35 | Robi Mobile Library: Heilbronn, Germany
  • 34 /35 | Robi Mobile Library: Heilbronn, Germany
  • 35 /35 | Robi Mobile Library: Heilbronn, Germany

Gone are the days when schools and libraries were large, impersonal institutions of learning. Today, architects are pushing the boundaries of learning spaces, putting kids in environments that we may not recognize as a school. Instead of a drab classroom, students are now learning in bizarre environments, designed to stimulate their imaginations. When they go to the playground, it’s not to play on a simple jungle gym, but to interact with objects and materials that create new and exciting discoveries each time they’re outside.

Learn for Life: New Architecture for New Learning chronicles some of the most exciting of these projects, from an outdoor library in Germany to a park made of recycled materials from oil rigs. We’ve chosen some of the most fun and interesting of the projects, which you can see in the slide show above. Perhaps youth is not wasted on the young, after all.

All rights 2012 Gestalten

loading