The Telegraph reports that we’ve long known that beautiful surroundings can foster better learning. In grand old universities, monasteries and ancient academies, light, air, a spiritual atmosphere and minimal distraction typically enhance spaces designed for an elite pursuing a classical education.
But as learning has changed, so has the need for a new architectural approach. Lime Tree Primary Academy, an Atkins-designed forest school for 420 pupils in Greater Manchester, is widely recognised as a template for the future.
“We wanted to take the lid off the classroom,” says Philip Watson, 52, Atkins’ UK design director and head of education.
“The unique design of Lime Tree Academy reimagines the school. It has no corridors but is made up of a village of pavilions that interact with the external environment, enabling the Forest School ethos of outdoor teaching to be realised.
“In tandem with this, there is an increasing awareness in education that students feel more engaged and can achieve more when they learn through doing. Being outside the classroom, immersed in the external environment can be a way of enabling students to be more inquisitive about the world.”
Lime Tree Academy also broke ground in the way it was built, as it was constructed in only 17 weeks utilising off-site construction methods
Headteacher Alison Dean said, “The building has enabled staff to see that learning doesn’t just have to take place in a room, that it can take place anywhere – and it’s the learning outside that has been most memorable.”
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