A Positive Space to Learn and Develop: The Garden School, Hackney

There is a wealth of evidence that harnessing a child’s innate attraction to the natural world through biophilic design can improve their physiological and psychological health.

But despite this evidence, biophilic design principles have not been widely adopted in education spaces. There are all sorts of ways that biophilic design can be introduced into education spaces. It doesn’t have to mean spending lots of money. It’s simply about understanding and recognizing the opportunity we have as designers to improve that connection to nature.

It can be through a direct connection to nature, such as introducing plants into a classroom or flooding a space with natural light with the positioning of windows. It can also be as simple as introducing references to nature through the use of nature inspired textures, patterns and colors.

I recently worked on a project with The Garden School, Hackney, in London, which offers education for 2-16 year olds with highly specialized provisions for learners with autism. The school strives to nurture communication, learning and independence and it needs a building that is designed to help deliver this.

I worked with flooring manufacturer Interface to transform an unused room in the school into a safe and recuperative space for pupils with autism, well away from the usual noise and bustle of the playground.

As direct forms of nature, such as plants (a common feature in biophilic design), may not withstand the day-to-day physical interaction with the children, I opted to instead mimic natural elements through the textures, patterns and colors used with the design, as well as through the images of nature used on the wall coverings. Research has demonstrated that using nature inspired design in this way can positively impact perceptual and physiological stress responses1.

Watch the video below to find out more about The Garden School, Hackney project.

 


References

Salingaros, 2012; Joye, 2007; Taylor, 2006; Kaplan, S., 1988

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

St John Bosco College

June 24, 2021

Architect: Santelli Architects Project: St John Bosco College, Piara Waters, WA, Australia Segment: Education Products: Human Connections, Near & Far and World Woven Project size: 3,830 sqm   Santelli Architects are a WA-based architectural studio whose work spans more than 40 schools for Catholic Education WA. The brief for St John Bosco College was to…

Using Biophilia to Design a Better Learning Environment

August 17, 2018

Situated in the heart of the Forest of Dean, St. White’s Primary School wanted to draw on the surrounding landscape to create a nature-infused space that would reconnect students with the outdoors. The new building combines outdoor play areas and forest views with nature-inspired fixtures and fittings. There are proven benefits to incorporating nature-inspired –…