Outdoor Classroom

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IMG_1548s-(1)Outdoor Classroom, Monifieth (UK) 2014

University of Dundee

The brief for an outdoor classroom for Grange Primary School developed in response to schools being asked through the ‘curriculum for excellence’ to consider how their external spaces could offer an alternative environment for teaching and learning. Through a one-week sketch design competition, 2nd year architecture students were asked to explore the relationship between function, spatial quality and material expression in this particular context.

Five of the 68 designs submitted were shortlisted by review and debate amongst students and tutors. The year group worked in five teams to develop these designs through models and drawings, reinforcing the relationship between ‘thinking and making’ through practical experience by testing alternative materials and connections at full scale. Students adopted responsibility for different roles within the teams, and developed the necessary communication and groupworking skills via self and peer evaluation over the three week period.

Key to the process was development of appropriate visual and verbal communication methods for presentation of the proposals to the school pupils, staff and parents, who had the task of choosing one winner. Grange Primary School succeeded in securing funding to realise the winning structure, which was formally opened in May 2014.

Client: Grange Primary School, Monifieth

Tutors: Carol Robertson (Year Leader), Brian Adams, Jerry Anderson, Graham Cruickshank, Doug Pearson, Lyle McCance (Technician)

Students: Year 2 Architecture 2011-12, built structure designed by Stephen Sampson

Research Question:
How can architecture students develop the ability to successfully interpret client needs to generate an appropriate architectural proposal, and form effective techniques to communicate with non-architects throughout the process?


Days, Curricular, +, Client-funded, Permanent, 51-100, Collaboration, Students with tutor, Undergraduate, Architecture, Dundee Univ., Monifieth