Sprout Space Green Classroom
By Dora Vanette / Published by Dwell
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Educators throughout the country are growing increasingly aware of the need for innovative designs in 21st century classrooms. From WORKac's mobile greenhouses in New York and Burton Baldridge's outdoor classrooms in Austin, Texas, many architects are focusing on developing new educational spaces that are dynamic, adaptable, and sustainable.

The Perkins+Will designed Sprout Space™ modular classroom includes an outdoor classroom and educational garden. This high-performance building includes solar panels on the roof which offset most of the energy needed to operate the structure.


Generous daylight, which has been proven to increase student test scores and teacher retention rates, is achieved through the expansive clerestory windows and glass doors. The classroom encourages outdoor learning through its exterior teaching walls with marker boards that are built into the façade of the building.


Students spend over 85% of the day inside. Sprout Space provides abundant natural daylight and easy access to the outdoors. The building materials in Sprout Space have been carefully selected to prevent off-gassing and create the healthiest indoor air quality possible.

New York based architecture studio, Perkins+Will, has become a key agent in this initiative, drawing from a wide array of green building strategies in order to enhance the learning process. Their Sprout Space is a modular classroom, customizable as either a permanent or temporary space, that aims to provide a flexible stage for creative educational approaches.

The roof shape was designed to capture rainwater that can be funneled into cisterns located on the sides of each unit and used by students to irrigate the education gardens.


A paradigm shift in the modular classroom, the design was informed by decades of Perkins+Will research into how academic buildings can address the needs of students, teachers, and school administrators. Sprout Space was part of an exhibition on Green Schools at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.


With Sprout Space, Perkins+Will has made a conscious effort to create a healthy educational environment through the choice of building materials, use of daylight, and increased ventilation in every classroom. These decisions were supported by numerous design features such as sun shades, integrated rainwater collection, efficient heating and cooling systems, and eco-friendly materials, which all help bring Sprout Space closer to becoming an energy-independent classroom.

Dora Vanette


Dora Vanette is a part time lecturer at Parsons The New School for Design. She holds MA degrees in 20th Century Art History and English from University of Zagreb, Croatia, as well as in Design Studies from Parsons The New School for Design. She has written about art and design for a variety of print and online publications. dora.vanette@gmail.com

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