How can you create a school environment that can change in pace with changing demographics and education methods? The newly built Majåker School in Lidköping has been designed and furnished using learning modules that can be customised and rearranged as needs change
ERGONOMIC LEARNING SPACES
Great emphasis has been put on designing ergonomic learning spaces, focusing on noise, lighting and diversity in work spaces. Many of the rooms have carpet on the floor for better acoustics. The environment provides many opportunities for an active, activity-based learning, with a combination of furnishings such as high/low and hard/soft seating and possibilities for standing and working. The pupils can sit directly on the floor on the soft carpet or work at a 90 cm high Origo desk which can be combined with the Xpect education chair or a higher stool, Plint.
SCHOOL FURNITURE THAT CREATES A ROOM WITHIN THE ROOM
Flexibility is a prerequisite for the different learning modules. The moveable Space school storage units on castors can be used to quickly rearrange furniture as needed to create new rooms within rooms. The sound-absorbing backs of the storage units also improve acoustics in the room. The height has been customised to avoid cutting pupils and teachers off from one another. The modules have also been chosen to not interfere with the spatial flow in the school where glass panels allow the different parts of the building to communicate with each other.
COLOUR SCHEMES THAT SEND A MESSAGE
Each individual learning module has been given its own colour scheme: red, as inspired by the facade's Corten plate, plum and turquoise. The colours are repeated in the upholstery of the furniture, making it possible to move the furniture within the learning module. Large pieces of upholstered furniture, such as sofas, have been given neutral colours to increase flexibility when rearranging furniture. In hallways and common areas, seating nooks have been furnished with soft carpeting and pillows – perfect little cubbies for studying or hanging out with friends.
"It has been our ambition with Majåker School to create a modern place in which to educate pupils for a sustainable future, on the individual level and as citizens. The school was designed with our sustainability and environmental initiatives at the core. We selected sustainable materials and school furniture as well as an architectural design that will support our vision of learning."
Majåker School was built in the 1980s and has been a perfectly normal school in a perfectly normal residential area in a perfectly normal Swedish town. Until now. Lidköping Municipality is currently running a very ambitious project for transforming and building three schools that are customised to meeting the learning needs of the future. Majåker School was the most recently completed.
"The previous Majåker School, a nursery to third year school, was not dimensioned for the increasing number of pupils. Due to a generational shift in the area, Majåker School needed to be ramped up to a nursery to sixth year school, which is why we chose to build a new school to meet our needs," Headmistress Camilla Johansson explains.
Majåker School was demolished in 2016 and pupils were moved to another school. Just in time for the autumn term of 2018, the new school was standing.
Majåker School is built up around three "learning modules". Each module is dimensioned for one hundred pupils who share four classrooms and four group rooms. There are two common areas in each learning module that house after-school activities. Classrooms, group rooms and common areas are joined by a large passageway. The entire module is used for meetings, gatherings and teaching, with discussions and image presentations. There are also work rooms for teachers.
"The learning modules provide us with flexibility and the ability to customise our learning area as the number of pupils changes. We also have a great deal of freedom in how we use our space for learning," Headmistress Camilla Johansson explains.
"The modular framework offers great flexibility. Pupils and teachers have the freedom to rearrange furniture and move furniture between classrooms and group rooms in each of the modules depending on their needs and changes to teaching."
To start with, Majåker School will house nursery to fourth year pupils but will develop into a nursery to sixth year school as the pupils get older.
The architecture and design of the school were developed in cooperation with LINK Arkitektur and representatives from Lidköping Municipality. Furnishings were selected by the headmistress, teachers and Lotta Karlsson, project manager at Kinnarps.
"We have greatly benefited from this being the third big school project in the municipality. The teachers and I have had the opportunity to experience and evaluate the other new learning environments and could use these experiences as the basis of the selection we made in collaboration with Kinnarps," says Camilla Johansson.
The basic premise is that each learning module has a colour scheme of its own, making it possible to move furniture between rooms, but not outside the module. Large pieces of upholstered furniture, such as sofas, have been given neutral colours to increase flexibility for rearranging furniture later.
"We consciously chose to not over-furnish, but instead buy additional pieces as the need arises. We have also fortified our sustainability mindset by reusing older furniture and finding treasures at flea markets. This has worked to personalise and diversify our environment."