from: Matt Taylor
date: Thu Apr 1, 2004 10:12:06 AM US/Central
to: Durnan Vincent
cc: Diane Seloff
subject: Some Ideas
Imaging a room!
A place for students, teachers and parent, together and individually, in different venues.
A place like no other in the school.
It can be almost totally open. Good light, warm, rich materials, natural woods - simple geometry. The basic “box” of the existing room (the original school architecture) reads strong and clear. This is the “resting” position. Everything put away - an invitation.
But, there are secretes here - and a little mystery!
It seems this room is like a transformer and objects can come out from wall cabinets, the floor and ceiling.
They pull-out, pop-up, fold down and transform the place for many uses. It is an intimate theater in the round for art and dialog. It is a large family room with students on the floor reading and in quite conversation. It is a collaborative workspace with big walls to write on and to display ideas. It is a study hall with tables, books - a place to do personal work. It is an gallery for the display of art and crafts. It is a reception hall for a small but important gathering. It is a media center for someone’s latest creation to show.
This place is friendly, open, accessible, and it has rules. It has been made beautiful, even a little exotic. It is special. It is special because it can be set up - in sections and in whole - to cater intimately to the uses to which it is put. It is special because the users can do this - and, in doing so can learn how to steward and employ an environment - a commons.
The rules, therefore, are simple - they are the rules of stewardship. They are the rules of economy/ecology. This place pays back equal to how it is treated.
How this is done - this creating of an armature/transformer - is not important here. It is done with imagination, lights, screens, some technology; it is a theater, a workspace, a resting place and it uses the methods of all these. It is in the integration that the mystery lurks. This place has great utility. And, it it an experiment - a place to learn about place-making.
The ideal kind of place for a school. This is not a utility place - the world is full of these. It has utility but is has more because it is, above all, a place of art. It done carefully and managed carefully so that this art can be both learned and employed. An expression of the best that is human. A little place in a busy world; rare in that it is devoted to this kind of expression.
Above all it is fun.