Re-Thinking the Portable School: A New System for the Durham District School Board
Green, Jacqueline Darlene
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This thesis investigates strategies for the portable classroom as a way of envisioning a new model for elementary schools in the region of Durham, Ontario. The portable and the school configuration is informed by a set of rules determined by site and program, making each school building unique and suited for its particular context. Geometry and play are at the core of how children learn, and the architecture will implicitly and explicitly engage this sense of play and learning. The pieces making up the modules have an aesthetic similar to Lego and K’nex toys, which immediately engages the childrens’ imagination and understanding, creating both a playful and engaging environment for learning. The strategy also brings together a variety of geometric pieces that form different classroom types and which can reconfigure for different rooms and uses. As such, the students may understand how the modules stack and stagger to create unique interstitial spaces for the public and for informal learning. These modules can be reconfigured using interior components that create a variety of smaller environments within the larger classrooms. As well as for expansion and contraction of school populations, these components could be recycled for use by other schools with growing populations. Thus, changing the role of the portable into a malleable, moveable aggregate, and making it easier and therefore economical to add, transform and subtract classrooms and learning spaces, school buildings come to life and change along with their setting.