Early in the design process, it became clear that the concept of making a school wherein classrooms were no longer needed involves more than merely designing a building; the whole curriculum and process must also be found and developed. It is clear that the two would become intertwined, but not clear whether, based upon my lack of knowledge about and research into education, a better solution would be found, or if one would be found at all. The project would become exponentially out of control. Therefore, the project was based upon the organization and methodology of existing high schools, particularly the author’s personal experience at Michael Hall Steiner School in England.

In a small school such as this, one cannot consider most spaces as independent between High School and Lower School; most will be shared between them. In many state school projects, architects and school administrators go to great lengths to ensure separation of the upper and lower school children. At this small school, though, the reasons for separating the age groups are not so clear cut; financially, it would be absurdly inefficient to attempt to create completely separate facilities for both upper and lower schools. Through careful placement of the rooms, an attempt will be made to both create an upper school community, and allow the lower school access to the facilities. [more...]

Use of the quite tight site and relation to the surroundings will present significant problems to grapple with. The project will be limited to a study of the form for the school, and its language. Some concern will be shown for environmental issues, but they will not be the driving force.

What makes this school so different from state supported schools is the very broad range of activities, both physical and mental. Michael Hall—significantly larger than the Santa Cruz Waldorf School would ever aim to be, with sixty children in each year (1-12) and four kindergartens—has the luxury of large amounts of land for a very suburban school setting in which the classroom and support buildings are spread out. The Santa Cruz project would have a small number of classrooms (four) but be quite large since it would have to have additional workshops to facilitate the hands-on approach of this educational system.

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