Architecture for Humanity just announced the winner for the 2009 Open Architecture Challenge: Classroom. The global competition involved 1,000 registered design teams from 65 different countries. The challenge for the architecture, design, and engineering community was simple–partner with actual students and their schools to create real solutions for a classroom of the future. The winner, Teton Valley Community School in Victor, Idaho, was designed by local firm Section Eight. The concept is centered around the idea of place-based education in the school, a mode of learning that gives more importance to cultural and environmental sustainability than technology and consumerism.
The design is set on an existing two-acre site. An open-flex learning space includes collapsible and foldable partitions, allowing the reconfiguration of the area as needed. Section Eight collaborated with students, parents, teachers, and members of the community to create an environment which also teaches its students. Apertures, which let in light, also allow students to see the thickness of the strawbale walls. The mechanical systems for the geothermal heating and cooling system are visible through large viewing windows.–Christina Chan
Other notable entries include:Founders’ Award: The Corporación Educativa y Social Waldorf, Bogota, Colombia . Designed by Arquitectura Justa, Bogota, Colombia .
Best Urban Classroom Upgrade Design: Rumi School of Excellence, Hyderabad, India. Designed by IDEO, San Francisco, CA.
Best Rural Classroom Design: Building Tomorrow Academy, Wakiso and Kiboga, Uganda. Designed by Gifford LLP, London, UK .
Best Re-locatable Classroom Design: Druid Hills High School, Georgia. Designed by Perkins + Will.