21 February - 31 March 2005
What if you put pupils in charge of improving their schools?
This exhibition told the story of how the Sorrell Foundation joined up students from all over Britain with some of the best designers in the world to encourage the students to improve their schools through design and collaboration.
The students in over 60 schools were the clients, commissioning an array of 50 international designers and architects, including Richard Rogers Partnership, Paul Smith, Thomas Heatherwick, Will Alsop, Marks Barfield, Graphic Thought Facility, Priestman Goode, Wolff Olins, Urban Salon, SeymourPowell, Conran & Partners, Judge Gill, Terry Farrell and Kevin McCloud. The designers and architects were briefed to design inspiring learning and social spaces; more civilised dinner halls and canteens; safer, more hygienic toilets; good communications; new storage systems; better uniforms and to improve schools' reputations and identities.
Design for a new dining space, Acland Burghley Secondary School, London and SHH Architects (click image for larger version)
During the process, the students discovered a host of new skills such as problem-solving, reasoning, teamworking, communication, negotiation. The experience also helped to boost their self-belief.
The exhibition described in detail how the results of this pioneering collaboration could change our schools in the future.
'If people demand better quality of their environment, not just as clients but as users as well, then the quality of the whole environment will improve. And where better to start than at school and in their own school.'
Julia Barfield, designer
'Our relationship with the architects was immediate. The school is left with the basis for the development of our grounds that is so much more exciting than we ever dreamed.'
Kathryn Kyle, head teacher
Design for a covered external space, Treviglas Community College, Newquay and Marks Barfield (click image for larger version)
'There are many school buildings that, while functioning well, are not interesting places for children or adults to be. We need to develop new ideas for school design that are exciting and really work. To deliver the best and most effective education, school buildings need to be designed so that they stimulate children's imaginations and reflect advances in technology.'
Mukund Patel, DfES
A book was published to accompany this pioneering project which details 60 projects that took place across the country. Further details, including where to purchase the book, can be found on the Sorrell Foundation website.