Category Children’s Spaces

Dangers and strangers

Is the world a more dangerous place for children, or is it increasingly the convention to represent it that way? It always was dangerous – a century ago accidents with horses, spillages of noxious fluids, the intermingling of workplaces with living spaces, open fires and gas lighting meant that child deaths through accidents in the UK were about 50 000 per annum, very high indeed. Now we have one of the lowest rates of child accidents of any industrialized country. The accident rates have been reduced so
dramatically partly through progressive health and safety legislation. Yet it is not societal concern that continues to keep accidents low. Rather, it is the insistence that keeping children accident free is a personal, parental concern, an individualization of responsibility.

Подпись: Figure 9.3 (a) Princess Diana Memorial Park safety signage. An environment where children's freedom is limited by the possibility of litigation in the event of accidents. (b) The ease and safety of car transport at a personal level far outweighs considerations of the greater good. (Photo: Michele Oberdieck.)
Подпись: (a)

Children as a danger to others

packs of feral children roaming our streets… this terrifying generation of murderous, morally blank wolf-children, fatherless, undisciplined, indulged

one minute then brutalized the next…we need to lock up more of these thugs and punish them.2

This quotation is one of many lamenting the breakdown of law and order, for which children are being held partly or wholly responsible. We monitored articles about children in one suburban local newspaper, and one national paper in July-August 2002. The popular press exaggerates, trivializes and sensationalizes everyday events, but even allowing for common distortions, the comments expressed hostility to children (or else alerted parents to the sometimes quite minor dangers that children faced outside and inside the home – see below)...


Spaces without children

Helen Penn

Подпись: Figure 9.1 Organized childcare groups after school can stifle the natural inquisitive nature of children. (Photo: Mark Dudek.)
Spaces without children

Editor’s introduction

In this chapter Professor Helen Penn discusses the issue of children and their presence within the public domain. What is the public domain?

In this context it can be defined as the shops, restaurants, airports, railway stations and other public areas which are distinct from the private territory of the family, the home, the motor car or dedicated institutions for children such as the
school or the daycare centre where children are supervised and become the responsibility of adult carers, parents and relatives.

Here she makes the point that many of what might be termed the new public domain are places which are predicated upon commercial expediency. She recognizes that there is also a non-commercial, more traditional public domain...


ICT learning in schools

There is little doubt that ICT is changing pedagogy radically and that existing schools will invest as and when technology advances. This goes hand in hand with the need for more flexible learning spaces, and a new approach to school design. The novelty and control this technology allows makes it particularly attractive to boys, who often have a more sensory approach to learning than girls. If it is used properly, ICT and the architecture of new schools have a fantastic potential to turn disaffected students onto education. This was not always the case.

Looking back to the first computers, the novelty value was significant. Architect Stuart Piercy remembers racing his father down the stairs each morning to get to the Sinclair first...


A brief history of the computer environment

Our escape (as children) from the ugliness of human relations as exemplified by the old city environments to the elegiac beauty of nature, was purely and simply escapism. Even today, most American city centres are largely ugly, anti-urban places, where the only safe way to negotiate the downtown areas is from the safety of a car. It is the places between the cities which become the living realm; these are the suburbs, a form of space which is low rise, green and defined by clear territorial family boundaries and peculiarly American in its myths and meanings. The picket fence and the veranda define ownership, a memory perhaps of the early settlers, who we are led to believe marked out their territory 150 years before when the land was still unoccupied...


Digital culture: the new frontier

Eisenman compares the fax machine (electronic) and the camera (mechanical) as examples of new and old paradigms stating that:

‘with the fax, the subject [or the user] is no longer

called upon to interpret, for reproduction takes

place without control or adjustment… The fax

also challenges the concept of originality. While in

a photograph the original reproduction still retains

a privileged value, in facsimile transmission the

original remains intact but with no differentiating

value since it is no longer sent… The entire

nature of what we have come to know as the

reality of our world has been called into question

by the invasion of media into everyday life. For

reality always demanded that our vision be « 1


Even in the decade since Eisenman made his observations technolog...


Digital landscapes – the new media playground

Mark Dudek

Editor’s introduction

Writing in 1992, architect Peter Eisenman states that since the Second World War, a profound change has taken place in the ways in which we interact with the world. He describes this process in somewhat jargonistic terminology as ‘the electronic pradigm’.1 This alludes to the shift from mechanical to electronic devices which, he stated, would increasingly dominate our lives; in this he included television, fax machines and photocopiers. What he did not predict was arguably the most profound social transformation since the industrial revolution – the advent of user-friendly personal computers, the Internet and the world wide web.

Over a relatively brief period of time, computers and related digital technology have become ubiquitous, dictating the ways ...


Making children’s spaces and the schools they’d like

Set against the backdrop of the secondary citizenship curriculum, increased children’s participation in decision making, and more opportunity for contact between young people and architects, the stage is now set for new ways of working between school teachers, architects and young people. As we have shown, a younger generation of architects like van der Heijden and de Rijke Marsh Morgan are able to collaborate with young people on the basis of interpreting their imaginative representation of the spaces they use in school buildings.

Hopefully, school children will continue to be given the opportunity to collaborate with architects and to have access to design projects of the kind seen at Kingsdale (with School Works), at New End and Quarry Brae Primary schools (joinedupdesignforschools/So...


School Works: new user-group participation in secondary school design

Established between 1999-2000, and originally an Architecture Foundation project, School Works was devised as a way of bringing a new awareness to the relationship between the architecture of secondary school buildings and effective learning. On the one hand, the project seeks to address the gulf between education professionals who don’t appreciate design concepts and find it hard to prioritize or envisage the level of environmental change needed in school buildings. On the other hand, School Works seeks to inform designers and architects who know little about developments in pedagogy, curricula or educational technology and their impact on schools design in buildings which need to work now and into the future.

As the DfES-sponsored initiative declared from its outset: ‘We cherish our ho...


Lessons learned

Pupils saw their tall brick board schools as ponderous monolithic structures; as out of date as their designers had perceived their Gothic predecessors. Nevertheless, through the D4R exercises, the pupils managed to overlay upon this perception, snapshots of their dreams, aspirations and obsessions. These took the form of colourful interventions providing for relaxation and fun – perhaps an escape from the stress of the well-used, homely but work-focused classroom. The collective methods employed at Daubeney were in marked contrast to those employed at other schools where exercises were designed to provoke individual vision and creativity.

Daubeney group exercises elicited a general preference for outside (associated with fast food, movement and freedom) over inside (associated with confli...