typology: school reconstruction project
location: Saint-Petersburg, Krasnogo Kursanta, 6/9
size: 3500 m2
foto: Dmitrii Tsyrenсshikov, Miсhail Grinyev
For the bureau, this wasn’t just a design for a school, this was the design for a school that one of the bureau’s partners attended. We talked with many former students and children currently studying at the school. Together with the school’s principal and psychologist, we put together eleven questions which would allow the children to discuss what they would like to change. We organized a working group with children and worked together for two years. We combined spatial solutions and the children’s creations, discussed Ancient Greek and the teachers, sitting on radiators and recycling technologies. Together, we chose linoleum and tiles, colors and urinals. It was a participatory project. In the archival plans of the 1939 year building, we found wide doorways in recreation areas that had been boarded up and numerous hidden niches. We used all these openings to allow light to penetrate the corridors. The niches became classroom windows and navigational signs. The light effect was enhanced by the use of glass doors. Over the long, three-month summer holidays we worked with official oversight in keeping with the strict conditions imposed when working with state facilities. Not all issues were resolved, out and we lacked the funding to fully carry out our intentions. The dormitory and music studio that the schoolchildren dreamed of hasn’t yet been made a reality. We are continuing to work on the design. The schoolyard will be landscaped next summer. The best reward for our project was small video clip, filmed by the children, showing them arranging furniture and books in their new classrooms.