Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research

Building a 'box': discourses of school design in the UK

den Besten, O., Horton, J., Kraftl, P. and Adey, P. (2009) Building a 'box': discourses of school design in the UK. Design Principles and Practices. 3(5), pp. 95-103. 1833-1874.

Item Type: Article
Abstract: There is currently considerable activity in the UK directed towards the reconstruction or refurbishment of secondary and primary schools. In this context, the paper looks closely at various discourses that evolve around school architecture. The omnipresent discourses at the national level are those of and around Building Schools for the Future (BSF) - a major government school building programme. BSF is presented and perceived as an ambitious project set out to bring radical changes for the better not only to material conditions of schooling, but also to the concept of secondary education itself. However, as the “first waves” of BSF are carried out, reports are emerging in the media that express disappointment with the project. At the local level, we have found, through an in-depth ethnographic research in several British schools, an array of discourses that contribute to the complex decision-making process of creating an individual school building. Such discourses, in which school staff, pupils, architects, consultants or local authorities are engaged, carry with them very concrete implications for the design of material school spaces. For example, a discourse of heritage brought in by the architects in one of our case-studies, resulted in a particular – rectangular – shape of the future school building, which would be congruent with the industrial past of the area where the school is situated. The paper also shows how the national BSF discourses are translated to the local level
Uncontrolled Keywords: School Architecture, Design Process, Discourse, Building Schools for the Future
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB3201 School architecture and equipment. School physical facilities
N Fine Arts > NA Architecture > NA4100 Special classes of buildings
Creators: den Besten, Olga, Horton, John, Kraftl, Peter and Adey, Peter
Publisher: Common Ground
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Research Centre > The Centre for Children and Youth
Research Centres > Centre for Psychology and Social Sciences
Date: 2009
Date Type: Publication
Page Range: pp. 95-103
Journal or Publication Title: Design Principles and Practices
Volume: 3
Number: 5
Language: English
ISSN: 1833-1874
Status: Published / Disseminated
Refereed: Yes

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