Edgeless School: Design for Learning

By Sara Dierck
Edgeless School: Design for Learning is an exhibition currently on view at the Center for Architecture. An exploration of how new approaches to learning are being interpreted and facilitated by architects across the United States, Edgeless School showcases nineteen K-12 schools.

Today’s students experience their formidable educational years at what may be a pivotal time in history. A rapidly advancing digital world, combined with a changing and challenging economical landscape, have translated into new ideas about learning and teaching. "Everyone, both within the educational community and the public at large, seems to feel we’re at a watershed moment in terms of education," exhibition curator Thomas Mellin explains. "While this is the Center for Architecture, anyone who has a child in New York City and many who don’t are obsessed with education and schools."

Edgeless School: Design for Learning is an exhibition currently on view at the Center for Architecture. An exploration of how new approaches to learning are being interpreted and facilitated by architects across the United States, Edgeless showcases nineteen K-12 schools. One of these schools is the WXY Architecture-designed REED Academy in Northern New Jersey. Photo courtesy the REED Academy.

Edgeless School: Design for Learning is an exhibition currently on view at the Center for Architecture. An exploration of how new approaches to learning are being interpreted and facilitated by architects across the United States, Edgeless showcases nineteen K-12 schools. One of these schools is the WXY Architecture-designed REED Academy in Northern New Jersey. Photo courtesy the REED Academy.

Edgeless School: Design for Learning is on view at the Center for Architecture in New York City through January 19, 2013. Several programs are running concurrently with the exhibition.

Today’s students experience their formidable educational years at what may be a pivotal time in history. A rapidly advancing digital world, combined with a changing and challenging economical landscape, has translated into new ideas about learning and teaching. "Everyone, both within the educational community and the public at large, seems to feel we’re at a watershed moment in terms of education," exhibition curator Thomas Mellin explains. "While this is the Center for Architecture, anyone who has a child in New York City and many who don’t are obsessed with education and schools." Photo courtesy the Center for Architecture.

Today’s students experience their formidable educational years at what may be a pivotal time in history. A rapidly advancing digital world, combined with a changing and challenging economical landscape, has translated into new ideas about learning and teaching. "Everyone, both within the educational community and the public at large, seems to feel we’re at a watershed moment in terms of education," exhibition curator Thomas Mellin explains. "While this is the Center for Architecture, anyone who has a child in New York City and many who don’t are obsessed with education and schools." Photo courtesy the Center for Architecture.

In the Center for Architecture’s double height gallery space, a grid of traditional school desks hang above a new, more flexible interpretation by Steelcase. There are also listening stations where visitors can hear the voices of 21st-century thinkers such as Katie Salen, James Paul Gee, and Howard Gardner, juxtaposed with key 20th century progressive educators whose contributions are listed behind.<br><br>Edgeless Schools takes into consideration how best to educate digital natives. "All these kids are growing up knowing they can access at a very young age the information of the world on a hand held device," Mellin says. "What does that mean in terms of formal education? One thing that is agreed upon is that while no one knows how this will be played out, there is a great emphasis on flexibility, and being able to use spaces in a variety of ways." Photo courtesy the Center for Architecture.

In the Center for Architecture’s double height gallery space, a grid of traditional school desks hang above a new, more flexible interpretation by Steelcase. There are also listening stations where visitors can hear the voices of 21st-century thinkers such as Katie Salen, James Paul Gee, and Howard Gardner, juxtaposed with key 20th century progressive educators whose contributions are listed behind.

Edgeless Schools takes into consideration how best to educate digital natives. "All these kids are growing up knowing they can access at a very young age the information of the world on a hand held device," Mellin says. "What does that mean in terms of formal education? One thing that is agreed upon is that while no one knows how this will be played out, there is a great emphasis on flexibility, and being able to use spaces in a variety of ways." Photo courtesy the Center for Architecture.

Part of this flexibility is a redefining of the idea of the classroom and other places where students congregate for learning. At PS 861, the Staten Island school of Civic Leadership, students assemble for class on steps in a more open environment. Building designed by Mitchell/Giurgola Architects. Photo by ©Jeff Goldberg/Esto.

Part of this flexibility is a redefining of the idea of the classroom and other places where students congregate for learning. At PS 861, the Staten Island school of Civic Leadership, students assemble for class on steps in a more open environment. Building designed by Mitchell/Giurgola Architects. Photo by ©Jeff Goldberg/Esto.