How Building Design must respond to 21st Century education's new learning models

October 13, 2016

School systems were originally set up to meet the needs of industrialism. Back then we needed people to work in factories and conformity was good. Kids sat in rows of desks facing a teacher and a chalkboard. That doesn’t fit our needs today, let alone the future.

Computer rooms – the idea of taking a whole class to a computer room once a week and sending them back to the classroom 40 minutes later is obsolete. Computers and technology should be an integral part of all subjects and all learning spaces.

Libraries that only contain books and chess tables are obsolete. A 21st century library should be at the heart of the school and a place where students can relax, read, get advice, edit videos, music and learn how to code to name a few.

Classrooms and libraries have become learning commons. The students are now makers and learners and teachers are facilitators and activators. Its all about project-based learning, making and collaborating.

In the case of the Learning Commons today's libraries have evolved from a combinaton of library and computer lab into a full service learning, research and meeting space. Amphora's design in collaboration with the school's principal, librarians and educators incoporates areas such as

More than any other buildings school facilities have a profound impact on their occupants' futures. As Designers, we must listen carefully to educators, and provide buildings which facilitate these new ways of learning in ways that maximize curiosity and intellectual growth.

5 Things to consider when designing a Lakeside Cabin

June 16, 2016

We recently had fun working on the design of a cabin on the shores of Lake Winnipeg (more information on this project here). A number of features specific to this lakeside retreat are worth mentioning, as they work to enhance those feelings of comfort and coziness while experiencing the beautiful rawness of nature. Here is a list of our top 5 things to consider when designing your next hacienda-on-the-water:

1. The view
You paid big money for the location and THAT VIEW!! Make the most of the lakeside location by installing floor to ceiling windows that offer a magical view of the lake; consider an open plan on the first floor and align the shore-facing windows so that the first soothing peek at the water happens as you walk through the front door of your retreat.

2. Catch that Sunrise
Plan to have the dining area facing the lake. This is perfect for enjoying an early morning cup of coffee and admiring your own personal sunrise - a joy for summer visitors and eventual retired residents alike.

3. Sun Terrace
If possible, use part of the first floor roof as a sun terrace accessible off of the second floor. Walk out, lay down, and catch some rays as you observe the waves from high up on your sunny perch.

4. Screened Porch
A screened porch is essential for enjoying those romantic sunsets, sans bugs and rain showers. Extra points for a screened porch located next to an outdoor barbeque and dining area!

5. A (bed)room with a view
Second floor bathrooms situated in the middle of the floor means that every bedroom can enjoy light and a view. A soaring roof, skylights, and/or clerestory windows ensure light and ventilation reach everywhere inside.

Lake Winnipeg House, designed by Amphora Architecture for the lake's edge in Gimli, Manitoba, incorporates the features described above. Click here for more project details.