The project of Smart School represents one of the new-thinking ways of designing schools in Russia. The project investigates new possible learning environments and rethinks the form of learning. It is a collaboration between CEBRA architects, NIRAS and Vega landskab and is developed for the Smart School-organization.
The project lies in a hilly landscape by the Angara river bank on the outskirts of the city of Irkutsk. The landscape design focuses on the balance between the natural landscape and the designed. As part of the project there is to be established new living quarters, day care, sport facilities and a new harbor front. The dramatic terrain sloping down towards the water is designed into a biodiverse landscape with school facilities intergrated and embedded in the terrain framed by meadows and forest with small biotopic rainwater ponds inbetween.
The project focuses on the “learning-outdoors” and creates many diverse environments outside for the children to experience and be a part of nature in an interactive way; picking apples in the orchard or studying biology at one of the science platforms inbetween the tall pine trees. The whole site works as a learning environment for the children where they can experince the new lanscape grow and develop infront of their eyes as they grow and learn themselves.
The court yard in the middle of the school is the designed landscape and the hard surfaced playground. It is the gathering place for the whole community and offers a lot of different activities for different ages with a skate park, science lab, workshop space, climbing and playing area and intimate seating areas. A big preschool playground, which challenges the smaller children to be active through movement and stimulate them through fun and play, resides on the western side of the school.
The vision for the school is to intergrate the landscape into the learning process and create active spaces for children to learn in. Smart School is a project where both learning mathetmatics and cultivating carrots are part of the education.