Designing Schools: Space, Place and Pedagogy, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Designing Schools

Space, Place and Pedagogy, 1st Edition

Edited by Kate Darian-Smith, Julie Willis


266 pages

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Designing Schools explores the close connections between the design of school buildings and educational practices throughout the twentieth century to today. Through international cases studies that span the Americas, Europe, Africa and Australia, this volume examines historical innovations in school architecture and situates these within changing pedagogical ideas about the ‘best’ ways to educate children. It also investigates the challenges posed by new technologies and the digital age to the design and use of school places. Set around three interlinked themes – school buildings, school spaces and school cultures – this book argues that education is mediated or framed by the spaces in which it takes place, and that those spaces are in turn influenced by cultural, political and social concerns about teaching, learning and the child.


'An excellent contribution to the school design literature, the book is especially suited to readers interested in the history of open-plan schools and in different methodological approaches. Since many of the essays address the open-plan school, readers can explore how these schools embodied Cold War values of individualism and freedom, how teaching conventions challenged their success, and how national contexts produced variations in the rise and fall of this model.' - Rachel Remmel, History of Education Quarterly, University of Rochester

'Discerning and indispensible, Designing Schools: Space, Place and Pedagogy takes us to Australia, Europe, the United States, Africa, and Latin America to learn about school buildings in the twentieth century. This thematically organized and generously illustrated book, written by experts in the field, tracks changes in architectural design, pedagogy, childhood, space, place, technology, and nationality. Designing Schools also introduces the teachers, architects, and other adults who wanted to build better schools for an astonishing array of boys and girls--rich and poor, rural and urban, white, Aboriginal, African American, and African children— although the outcomes were not always praiseworthy. A welcome addition to the new and exciting field of children, space, and schools.' - Marta Gutman, PhD, Professor of Architecture (History & Theory), The City College of New York/CUNY and The Graduate Center/CUNY

'The wealth of evidence and argument in Designing Schools for the cultural significance of school architecture is overwhelming. This book puts the materiality of schooling back into the centre of our efforts to understand how teaching and learning have changed over the last century. Relationships between modernism in school design and efforts to develop progressive pedagogies are only part of the argument. The chapters in this book explore new dimensions of old questions such as the significance of the school in the making of populations conceived in racial, gender and class terms. Designing Schools challenges its readers to imagine schools as spaces as much as places, and the meanings they develop within a variety of geographical, cultural and temporal settings that include urban, suburban and rural—national, colonial and post colonial. Designing Schools is significant enough to change the ways we think about schooling.' - Craig Campbell, Editor, History of Education Review, University of Sydney

Table of Contents

1. Architecture and the School in the Twentieth Century Julie Willis Part 1: Lessons from History 2. From Looking to Seeing, or This Was the Future … Ian Grosvenor 3. Building Ruins: Abandoned Ideas of the School Martin Lawn 4. Postwar Schools: A Personal History Elain Harwood Part 2: School Buildings 5. The Classroom is Another Place? Ernest J. Kump’s ‘Ideal’ Learning Environments for Californian Schools, 1937–1962 Philip Goad 6. Educational Facilities Laboratories: Debating and Designing the Postwar American Schoolhouse Amy F. Ogata 7. Creating Friendly School Environments: ‘Casual’ High Schools, Progressive Education and Child-Centred Culture in Postwar America Dale Allen Gyure 8. Open Shut Them: Open Classrooms in Australian Schools, 1967–1983 Cameron Logan 9. The Balance between Intimacy and Interchange: Swiss Schools During the 1960s Marco di Nallo Part 3: School Cultures 10. Making Schools and Thinking through Materialities: Denmark, 1890–1960 Ning de Coninck-Smith 11. Domestic Spaces and School Places: Vocational Education and Gender in Modern Australia Kate Darian-Smith 12. ‘We Make No Discrimination’: Aboriginal Education and the Socio-spatial Arrangements of the Australian Classroom Julie McLeod and Sianan Healy 13. Model Schools for Model Cities: Educational Facilities as Monuments to Planning Reform Amber Wiley 14. The Nigerian ‘Unity Schools’: The UNESCO-IDA School Building Programme in Africa Ola Uduku Part 4: School Spaces 15. Quiet Stories of Educational Design Catherine Burke 16. Hans Coper and Paul Ritter: Tactile Environments for Children in Postwar Britain and Australia Geraint Franklin and David Nichols 17. Bristling with Opportunity: Audio-visual Technology in Australian Schools from the 1930s to the 1980s David Nichols and Hannah Lewi 18. Digital Classrooms and the New Economies of Attention: Reflections on the End of Schooling as Confinement Inés Dussel Index

About the Editors

Kate Darian-Smith holds concurrent appointments as Professor of Australian Studies and History, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, and Professor of Cultural Heritage, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne, Australia. She has written extensively on material culture, memory studies, Australian and imperial history and heritage, with recent publications including Children, Childhood and Cultural Heritage (2013) and Conciliation on Colonial Frontiers: Conflict, Performance and Commemoration in Australia and the Pacific Rim (2015). Kate is an editor of Australian Historical Studies, has served as an adviser to government and cultural institutions and has a long involvement with the international development of Australian Studies.

Julie Willis is Professor of Architecture and Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Her research concentrates on Australian architectural history of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. With Philip Goad, she is the editor of The Encyclopedia of Australian Architecture (2012) and she was a major contributor to Hannah Lewi and David Nichols (eds), Community: Building Modern Australia (2010). Her current research includes writing a new short history of Australian architecture; examining the development of the modern hospital; and, with colleagues from history and education, leading a project examining innovation in the design of twentieth-century schools.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Buildings / Public, Commercial & Industrial