Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investments

Viitra Telefonplan, Hägersten, Sweden

Exemplary design categories: comfort, community use and involvement, flexible learning settings

How the facility meets the needs of education and communities:
Instead of a classic classroom setup with desks and chairs, a giant iceberg with a cinema, a platform and room for relaxation and recreation now accommodates many different types of learning situations. The Swedish free school organization Vittra’s new school in Stockholm has a physical design that promotes the organization’s educational methods and principles.

When the new Vittra school “Telefonplan” was established in Stockholm, Rosan Bosch created the school’s interior design, including space distribution and distinctive custom-designed furnishings. The interior design revolves around Vittra’s educational principles and serves as an educational tool for development through everyday activities.

Vittra puts a high priority on developing new methods for teaching and interaction as a basis for educational development. Instead of a conventional classroom approach, the students are taught in groups adjusted to their achievement level based on the school’s educational principles about “the watering hole”, “the show-off”, “the cave”, “the campfire” and “the laboratory”. Campfire situations are characterized by communication flowing from one to many, requiring a space that can accommodate a certain number of people in a group situation, where every- body can focus on the person talking or presenting. The watering hole is a place where people come and go, and a learning environment where you can gather in groups of different sizes. A watering hole is a place of exchanging communication, flowing back and forth. The watering hole areas are typically placed where you naturally would go, and where you maybe bump into somebody or something. Show-off situations are situations where one person communicates towards the rest of the world, showing what he or she can do or has done, thus requiring a physical space for display and exhibition. In the cave, communication flows within oneself, requiring a physical frame that furthers seclusion and contemplation. Lastly, the laboratories are places where the students can acquire hands-on experiences, working physically and practically with projects in a societal and experimental context. The laboratories inspire students and teachers alike, enlarging the learning experience and inspiring teachers to use different tactile approaches.

• The Mountaintop situation – One-way communication from one to may. • The Cave situation – Reflection and concentration within oneself. • Campfire situation – communication inside a specific group • Watering hole situation – Informal communication and knowledge exchange • Hands-on – Environments for hands-on experience and experimenting.

Vittra Telefonplan deliberately uses its interior design as a means of developing the school and its educational principles. Rosan Bosch has used challenging custom-made furnishings, learning zones and room for the individual student to facilitate differentiated teaching and learning in a school where the physical space is one of the most important tools for educational development. Instead of a classic desk-and-chair setup, for example, a giant iceberg that features a cinema, a platform and room for relaxation and recreation now forms the setting for many types of learning situations, while flexible labs provide opportunities for focusing on special themes and projects.

The designs and the interior also accommodate Vittra’s active efforts to incorporate digital media and approaches. In the Vittra schools, laptops are the children’s most important tool – whether they are working, sitting down, reclining or standing up. After the project was completed, the results were translated into a design manual that have set precedent for the design of Vittra brotorp and Vittra Södermalm in Stockholm, Sweden.

Client: Vittra AB

Location: Stockholm, SE

Project Type: Interior design of the whole school

Involvement of users and the local community in the planning and design process:
The design of the school was developed based on a user involvement processes, thus involving teachers, staff, and students throughout the design phase.

Bespoke furniture was created by a design team consisting of both designers and students, based on input from the students generated in focus group meetings.

Activity Areas: The daily cycle of both a Vittra school generally and the Telefonplan specifically is characterized by a flexible approach to the school day with fixed reference points during the day, such as group formations and lunch. The interior design accommodates this flexibility, however, with a number of separated spaces, which provide the required setting for the different pedagogical activities to take place. These spaces are open as well as closed and they are placed in a way that creates a positive synergy effect between the different activities as well as respect the different levels of noise that are connected to them. The space is in that sense comprised of a combination of open and closed spaces with both flexible and separated functions. • Canteen • Exhibition Area • Laboratory facilities - Differentiated vocational areas • Dancehall - Differentiated vocational areas • Multimedia House - Differentiated vocational areas • Window Pods - Differentiated areas for study • Sitting Island - Differentiated areas for study • The Tree - Differentiated vocational areas • Wardrobes • Workshop facilities - Differentiated vocational areas • The Cave - Differentiated vocational areas • The Mountain - Differentiated vocational areas • The Village - Differentiated vocational areas, Differentiated areas for study • The Stage - Performance facilities.

Project costs: SEK 7,050,000.00

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