Our Lady of the Missions Pupils “hack” their way to better learning spaces…

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…and built and designed their own furniture!

(February 2019) A group of pupils from Our Lady of the Missions primary school in East Renfrewshire recently spent half a day at a furniture manufacturing studio to see their furniture designs take shape – and helped out putting the pieces together for the whole school to use. The group of P5-7 pupils have been working with Architecture and Design Scotland to explore how they can design and improve their learning spaces through a series of “space hacks’.

During these sessions, the pupils analysed and tested out new ideas – using cardboard boxes and other simple materials. Through the process, they learned about design as well as collaboration and teamwork.

Following the space hack designer Alice Jacobs, of Flux Laser & CNC Studio, took the pupils’ ideas and created designs and the corresponding computer files that were CNC cut to become the finished product. At the end of January, the pupils visited Flux’s studio at The Whisky Bond in Glasgow and stood by with wood glue, spanners and nuts and bolts to put the pieces together. The class saw how their designs came to life from a drawing on a computer, to a set of custom-designed tables that they took back to the school.

Exploring Learning Spaces

Speaking on behalf of Architecture and Design Scotland, a spokesperson said “Our space hacks is part of our way to demonstrate that you get great results working with the learners directly. You can make a big difference in a learning space without major investment.  We find this sort of work helps the learners build confidence, learn about different career and work prospects while making a direct difference to learning spaces. We are delighted to be able to support this school and also to be able to share the designs with any other school that would like to use these smartly designed pieces of furniture.”

Developing Skills

Speaking about the experience Our Lady of the Missions’ Head Teacher, Catherine Dillon Ruddy, said, “Our partnership with A&DS has had the aim of enhancing spaces to better meet the needs of learners and teachers. The creativity of the pupils produced many unforeseen solutions/approaches to use of space, building on the scope of proposals in the initial A&DS report. The idea of a specialist hub for specific types of learning/activities were well received and appeared to help reinforce specific behaviours in relation to the function of the space and the activity to be engaged in, within that space. The pupils are now well versed in the productive use of flexible space and the nature of multifunctional use. Parents informed us of some children getting their parents involved in hacking space in their own homes. We are now in the Production phase with the pupils being able to articulate many of the Developing the Young Workforce links. This has been an excellent opportunity for the application of skills.”

Find out more about our Tests of Change process here. 

About Smarter Places

Our Schools Programme is fundamentally about giving architectural meaning to our objective of putting the child at the heart of design.

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