Do we really want a new pony? Or do we want a hovercraft? That’s the question Ian Harris of maber architects asked when proposing a new modular school solution for Leeds East Academy.
Ian guides us through the world’s first PodSolve project.
Image credit with thanks: maber and Alastair Carew-Cox. The world’s first PodSolve in action at Leeds East Academy, Yorkshire.
“One of my pet hates is wider corridors. From a daylighting perspective, they’re disastrous,” says Ian Harris. “So we took a view about percolating rather than circulating – moving through other spaces rather than down defined corridors. We borrowed this idea from our commercial experience, and worked with the school on grouping spaces into different things.”
In this image, you can see how the pods are situated in a flexible configuration amongst open and social spaces.
This image shows a pod configured in a typical classroom layout.
“Sometimes you need to acoustically enclose a space if you’re trying to teach the specific sound of a French verb, for instance,” says Ian Harris. “But that limits the number of people you can get into the room.
“It also stops teachers being able to do other things. An English room is very hard to turn into a theatre to actually play out some Shakespeare when it’s full of chairs and tables.”
Science lab (next slide)
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Many thanks to Ian Harris, maber; Chris Stokes at Leeds East Academy; and the guests at Education: Design a Brighter Future (Birmingham), where we filmed and collected this material in July 2017.