27. Mar 2010

No. 70 – Schools and places of learning

Jan/Feb 2010

Mühleholz II school complex in Valduz/FL
Flooded – with daylight

Text: David Müller
Liechtenstein: small, idyllic and quiet – that is the image one has of the Alpine microstate at the foot of the western Alps. The capital of Liechtenstein is Vaduz. The majority of the approximately 5000 inhabitants work in banks or in the tourist industry. Just over one year ago architects Günther Domenig and Peter Kaschnig designed a new school building in the town. Owing to the method of construction customary in that part of the world, the planned steel constructions applied to the building’s structure were required to be replaced by dominant windowless concrete walls. Energy efficiency requirements together with acknowledgement of the positive impact daylight can have on pupils’ learning behaviour and abilities led the architects to collaborate with the Swiss lighting design practice Art Light GmbH to develop a concept that allows significantly more natural light into the building. The result: a bright and friendly learning environment that uses daylight to an optimum.

Gateway Building in Baltimore/USA
Art piece art college

Text: David Müller
“The artist’s genius is manifest in his choice of clay.” This quote from Edgar Allen Poe is also relevant for professional lighting designers. In times when energy saving and sustainability are often in conflict with creating quality spaces for users, the choice of light source is of prime importance. People visiting Baltimore/USA, where Poe spent many years of his life, and looking for his house in the centre of town are in for a grand surprise: next to one of the highways there is a conglomeration of glass buildings, some of which appear to be on stilts. Different colours are reflected on their shiny surfaces. After dark a random array of lights shine out from within its translucent shell.

The Parque da Juventude in Sao Paulo/BR
Breaking down walls

Text: Andréa Espírito Santo
The famous 18th century French writer and poet Victor Hugo once said: “He who opens a school door, closes a prison”. If the author of Les Misérables were with us now, he would definitely have appreciated the concept of freedom in the lighting design and architecture developed for the Parque da Juventude.

Light and autistic children
Text: Brianna McMenemy
My research was the basis of information on which I would formulate my theories on how lighting can affect communication within the pervasive developmentally disabled population, which I then translated into design experiments in the second half of my graduate thesis development. In the quickly developing field of modern lighting design, design parameters and limits need to be discovered and set regarding the positive fostering of communication through design.

The effect of light on learning behaviour
Text: Tommy Govén
This paper reports the initial findings of a year-long study into the impact of the lit environment on schoolchildren. The study is based on a group of four classrooms in a primary school with children aged eight to nine years. Two classrooms served as controls and two classrooms had enhanced lighting.

Alexandra Infant School/UK
Giving “new” a new meaning

Text: David Müller
In the globalised world in which we live, education is becoming increasingly more important. Foreign languages are being introduced at a very early age and science topics are enjoying more focus. In many countries around the world children spend the entire day at school. But what kind of environment are we prepared to subject the youngest pupils to on a daily basis?

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