With all their load of fears and enthusiasm, basically always the same, tomorrow students and teachers (and staff, and managers) set off for the first day of school. What would be the ideal re-entry?
Enlarged classrooms, spaced desks, tests carried out, staggered entrances, improved protocols. A tremendous job was done for the return to school in Italy. And it still feels like a drop in the bucket. What would the ideal post-Covid school look like if we had the time and resources to build it?
The architecture studio Valentino Gareri presented its proposal for a sustainable and modular school designed to adapt to the post Covid world.
What will the ideal school be like?
The project proposes a new model of a school building in which external and internal spaces blend together, generating a healthy and well-ventilated environment. Furthermore, as the pandemic has encouraged the relocation of people to less dense areas, the school is also being expanded.
By combining different levels (kindergarten, primary and secondary school) and other recreational functions (a square, a cafe, a library), the ideal post-Covid school can become an important civic reference for any community.
The ideal school? Ring
The project proposed by Gareri foresees a modular structure that can accommodate all educational phases: kindergarten, primary and secondary school. All the required spaces are inserted in two rings: the volumetric joint allows the construction of two courtyards and an additional habitable roof.
The classrooms of the ideal post-Covid school are therefore arranged in a circle, connected to the courtyards and the external landscape. Each module of 55 square meters is made of laminated wood in crossed layers and corresponds to an ideal classroom of 20/25 students connected by a central corridor.
Airy like a tree house
The building with its various levels and the combined spaces between exterior and interior is conceived as a tree house, with a high flexibility for educational activities.
The main concept behind the ideal post Covid school is to create a school immersed and integrated in nature, where the relationship with the outdoors is physically and visibly increased.
The facade of the school building is made up of an alternation of solid wood panels and glazed panels. The circular perimeter features opaque panels that help block out direct sunlight, while a series of transparent panels diffuse the light and offer a wide view of the outside.
How nice and safe would it be to go to class at such a school?
A versatile and sustainable school
Valentino Gareri's proposal emphasizes the fact that the ideal school is a sustainable and above all self-sufficient school. Adopt different energy saving devices: rainwater collectors, photovoltaic panels and wind turbines located on the highest roof. A small "energy park" that can be visited and observed by students.
In this way, sustainability becomes part of the educational experience of children and young people, who are introduced to this theme through the building itself and can even participate in maintenance.
How it is made?
Made with natural materials and low-cost construction techniques, the school proposed by Gareri has a highly flexible design, adaptable to different functions and programs and offers numerous benefits to the whole community.
The modularity of the design allows for a future extension of the school to accommodate different programs, different numbers of classrooms and also be completely different needs.
For example, in addition to the periodic polling station functions for political elections, the ideal post Covid school could serve as a temporary medical center for emergencies or as a temporary residential unit.
There is no doubt that moving in this direction will mean having understood the “lesson” that the pandemic has given us. We can really turn the crisis into an opportunity rebuild a better world starting from everyone's needs. Education, nature, sustainability and health are interrelated factors, and this must always be considered, Covid or not.
It will be complex, difficult, not without obstacles and painful moments. With everyone's commitment and enthusiasm, however, it will become a memorable victory.