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A school for each and everyone

I. SUMMARY INFORMATION
Project
288379
Status
Submitted
Award category
Regaining a sense of belonging
You want to submit
NEW EUROPEAN BAUHAUS AWARDS: existing completed examples
Project title
A school for each and everyone
Full project title
A school for each and everyone - local, evidence based, natural materials, biofilic design
Description

A public school designed with focus on pupils’ wellbeing, integration, belonging, abilities and all aspects of sustainability. Part of the success is a close collaboration with the client, municipality, staff, pupils and citizens. The architecture is based on recent research in pedagogy, sociology and psychology and is carefully adapted to the surroundings. Materials (a lot of wood) and colours are chosen to create optimal learning environments and a small carbon footprint.

What was the geographical scope of your project?
Local
Municipality of Arvika
County of Värmland
Does your project address mainly urban or rural issues?
Mainly urban
Does your project refer to a physical transformation of the built environment or other types of transformations?
It refers to a physical transformation of the built environment ('hard investment')
Has your project benefited from EU programmes or funds?
No
Has your project won an EU prize?
No
Your project is fully completed?
Yes
When was your project implemented?
How did you hear about the New European Bauhaus Prizes ?
Newsletter
On whose behalf are you submitting the application?
As a representative of an organisation, in partnership with other organisations
II. DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT
Please provide a summary of your project

Arvika’s new public school (900 pupils, ages 13-16) is designed with focus on pupils’ wellbeing, integration, belonging and abilities. The project is a fine example of how high standards of sustainability (environmental, social, economic) and aesthetic values are linked with functionality. The school’s universal design has diversity as a key principle and is based on scientific research in pedagogy, sociology and psychology. The project's vision of a school for each and everyone has governed the entire process. Close collaboration with the client, municipality, experts, staff, pupils and citizens has led to the design of an inclusive environment that promotes belonging and a sense of security.

The school is located "in the middle of town" and has been carefully adapted to its surroundings. The architecture is small-scale, follows the town’s neighbourhood structure and has ties to Arvika's forestry history. The school consists of several small wooden buildings side by side. The roofs, full of character, encircle and provide a sense of security to an inner courtyard. Materials and colours are inspired by the surrounding forests and nature. Using a biophilic design, the project has taken extra measures to design a restorative environment where learning can occur. The colours support the activities in the rooms: one theme for calm and concentration, another for movement and a higher degree of stimulation. The buildings have a harmonious and repetitive window design. The school has many secure places and rooms that encourage movement.

The large amount of wood contributes to a reduced carbon footprint and promotes health and learning. The school is beautiful and welcoming. It strengthens pupils’ hopes for the future and promotes pride among local residents. Certain areas are available for use after school hours (dining room, studios), and this multiple use of resources promotes sustainability and inclusion in the form of new meeting places and activities for citizens.

Please indicate the main themes of your project with 5 key words
Inclusion
Small-scale
Biophilic design
Sense of security
Evidence-based
Please give information about the key objectives of your project in terms of sustainability (including circularity) and how these have been met.
Please highlight how the project can be exemplary in this context

Environment and climate

The school is centrally and accessibly located in the town, which promotes use of public transport. The chosen site minimises use of virgin land. Two buildings have a wooden frame and the facades are in wood to reduce the carbon footprint. The roofs have vegetation that takes care of stormwater and solar cells that generate electricity. There is a possibility for rooftop farming which could become part of teaching and the school kitchen; crops to investigate and eat, knowledge of waste, circularity, sustainability issues. Materials are non-toxic and chosen according to Swedish BVB assessment, which ensures a good level of sustainability. The school is environmentally certified according to the Swedish certification system: Miljöbyggnad Silver.

Social sustainability

The project has major focus on social sustainability. The design is based on new knowledge and research in pedagogy, sociology and environmental psychology. The key pedagogical principle is 21st century learning skills. Facilities for pupils with special needs and classes for new immigrants have been integrated.

Health

The school’s design promotes movement. Pupils move outside when changing premises. There are designated places where teachers and pupils can be physically active. Health aspects have governed material and colour choices, largely natural materials such as wood.

Sense of security

Creating a sense of security is a key issue. The school therefore has many types of meeting places that create a sense of security and wellbeing and promote interaction between teachers and pupils of different classes and ages.

Economic sustainability

For financial and resource reasons, the school is centred in one location (rather than several smaller schools throughout the municipality). This facilitates more efficient use of premises and recruitment of competent staff. The school's areas can be used for multiple purposes (dining room and studios can be used in the evening).

Please give information about the key objectives of your project in terms of aesthetics and quality of experience beyond functionality and how these have been met.
Please highlight how the project can be exemplary in this context

Using a general biophilic design, with wood in constructing parts, on wall panels, flooring and furniture, views to nature and a green and earthy palette, textile flooring and soft furniture as well as adjustable LED lighting, the project has taken extra measures to design a restorative environment where learning can take place.

 

The architecture is small-scale, follows the town’s neighbourhood structure and has ties to Arvika's forestry history. The school consists of several small wooden buildings side by side. The pitched roofs, full of character, encircle and provide a sense of security to an inner courtyard. Materials and colours are inspired by the surrounding forests and nature. The colours support the activities in the various rooms: one colour theme for calm and concentration, another for movement and a higher degree of stimulation. The buildings have a harmonious and repetitive window design.

 

For financial reasons, many of today's new-build schools are compact. The result is large buildings with dark interiors and often only one entrance. But this project is adapted to the surrounding environment and pupils’ health and stimulation. The school buildings have their own entrances, high ceilings and large windows that maximise natural daylight and provide views and a sense of security. The larger buildings feel smaller thanks to their roof design.

 

The rooms are designed with great diversity. Different is the norm, and diversity is prioritised. The rooms are shaped based on needs – round, L-shaped and rectangular, with flexible furnishings based on pupils' abilities and the type of teaching. The relationship between the teaching and the rooms has created an inspiring interior environment, without corridors.

Please give information about the key objectives of your project in terms of inclusion (equal opportunities, public participation, citizen engagement, co-design, universal design, accessibility, affordability, etc.) and how these have been met.
Please highlight how the project can be exemplary in this context

Equal opportunities and accessibility

Arvika Municipality's clear educational vision of a school for each and everyone has led to the whole school environment being designed inclusively for all pupils, regardless of ability or disability.

Staff and pupils

The school carried out a comprehensive development process in support of the work. Key values were identified to govern the process. School management, teachers, pupils (ages 13-16), youth council (ages 18-20), student health and other staff collaborated with the architect firm. The process was led by a specialist in learning environments. The aim was to create a holistic understanding of the educational and social vision, the school’s organisation and the physical environment. Staff and pupils also participated in layout and room design.

Citizen engagement

According to Swedish law, local residents are given an opportunity to submit opinions during the planning process. A school for 900 pupils is a huge investment for a small municipality that impacts many people. The municipality has therefore - in addition to the legal requirement - invested major resources in communicating the project continuously and with great transparency in local press and social media. Local residents have been listened to, and criticism has been met with communication and understanding. Adaptations have been made to accommodate the school’s neighbours and surroundings. Certain areas are open to all.

Universal design

The school is based on universal design with diversity as a fundamental principle, from the smallest scale in one room to the largest scale between buildings. The key principle has been to remove all barriers that restrict people’s participation and to promote diversity in the school.

Please explain how these three dimensions have been combined in your project.
Please highlight how this approach can be exemplary

The project is a clear example of how high standards of sustainability (environmental, social and economic) and aesthetic values are linked with functionality. The school is based on universal design, with diversity as a fundamental principle. The project's strong vision of a school for each and everyone has governed the entire process. This has led to the design of an inclusive environment where everyone feels a sense of belonging and security. Using a general biophilic design, the project has taken extra measures to design a restorative environment where learning can take place.

 

The project has been adapted to the surroundings (small-scale, a lot of wood, natural materials) as well as local residents and future users. The school’s location “in the middle of town” enables it to blend in and enhance and enliven the town centre. The large amount of wood contributes to a reduced carbon footprint and promotes health and learning. The school is beautiful and welcoming. It strengthens pupils’ hopes for the future and promotes pride among local residents. Certain areas are available for use after school hours (dining room, assembly hall, studios), and this use of resources for multiple purposes promotes sustainability as well as inclusion in the form of new meeting places and activities for local residents.

 

Bringing this project to realisation has been a major investment and a balancing act for the municipality. A number of inclusive processes and continuous communication with local residents and neighbours have contributed to the school being well received and likely to be increasingly appreciated over time. The school is sustainable also in that it is accessible and can be used by the municipality’s residents. This broad inclusion, and the fact that the school fits in well, serves its purpose well and is well-liked, bodes well for long and sustainable use.

Please give information on the results/impacts achieved by your project in relation to the category you apply for

The motto a school for each and everyone has to do with inclusion and a sense of belonging. Tangible results can already be seen after only six months. Pupils who had previously stayed at home have now returned and can be at the school and share in the teaching and camaraderie. All pupils now have conditions for belonging, even if they have special needs or difficulties.

 

Materials and design are linked to the expectations we have of people. According to research, in a worn and dull environment we perceive people as less competent. We have lower expectations than if we see the same individuals in a beautiful and well cared for environment. Within a school, high expectations are a key to good results and the desire to keep learning. This has long been overlooked by educators but has been highly prioritised in this project.

 

A sense of belonging has also been achieved at urban planning level. The choice of location and architectural design has been made with respect and consideration for the town’s existing neighbourhood structure. The placement of the school “in the middle of town” helps to enliven the town and town centre. The school’s beautiful and clear identity contributes to a sense of pride for the municipality’s inhabitants and fills young people with belief in the future.

 

Arvika Municipality is the project owner for a state-funded, two-year research project entitled IoT in school for each one.  The aim is to create community benefit by enhancing student health, increasing learning and creating a better life for all by developing and testing innovative IoT ideas. Part of the project involves regularly collecting data, with the help of IoT, to assess e.g. perceptions of belonging, security, stress, environmental quality, sound, light and air.

Please explain how citizens and civil society were involved in the in the design and/or implementation of the project.
Please also explain the benefits that derived from their involvement.

The school is a huge investment for the municipality. It has therefore been very important to communicate the project to all residents of the municipality (taxpayers) and civil society throughout the process.

 

According to Swedish law, local residents are given an opportunity to submit opinions on several occasions during the planning process. In addition to this legal process, the municipality has invested major resources in involving citizens and civil society. From the start, the municipality has communicated the project continuously and with great transparency in local press and social media. The general public has been kept up to date and has been invited to attend information meetings and viewings. The municipality has listened to local residents and has met criticism and rumours with understanding. A number of adaptations have been made to accommodate the school’s neighbours and surroundings. This has resulted in the school being greatly appreciated.

 

School management, teachers, pupils (ages 13-16), youth council (ages 18-20), student health, after school activities and other staff have collaborated with experts during the process of designing the school and its operations.

 

The Swedish book ”Pedagogiskt program för skolhuset” (”Pedagogic program for the school building”) has been produced within the framework of the project. It describes all the inclusive processes concerning the learning environment and the combination of physical design, organisation and pedagogy. The lessons learned can be used in other projects. The book is also available to the general public.

Please explain what kind of global challenges the project addressed by providing local solutions

Knowledge and critical thinking are important factors in meeting the global challenges of the future. We need to educate and foster brave, knowledgeable, creative, positive and inspiring future citizens in order to cope with global challenges, not least the transition to a fossil-free welfare society. This requires a well-functioning education system and a physical school environment that promotes learning and shows that society believes in young people and excludes no one.

 

Arvika Municipality has taken on this challenge in a very courageous manner. This project is a clear example of how the local community can help solve global challenges. The municipality has chosen to accept its responsibility for solving these problems in the long term by building an inclusive and secure school that is based on pupils’ abilities rather than factual knowledge. Schools have an important role to play in providing belief in the future and counteracting exclusion, mental illness among young people and unemployment, as well as gang criminality. When people are excluded from society, it is extremely costly and very tragic for the individuals involved and society as a whole.

 

People's participation and engagement are other important prerequisites for meeting global challenges. In addition to legal requirements, Arvika Municipality has invested major resources in the democratic process by involving citizens and civil society. The municipality has conducted a dialogue with local residents throughout the project. The general public has been kept up to date and has been invited to attend information meetings and viewings. The municipality has listened to local residents and has met criticism and rumours with understanding. This has probably played a major role in the project's implementation.

Please highlight the innovative character of the project as compared to mainstream practices in the field of the project.

On a larger scale, the architecture differs from many Swedish schools, with its cloister-like layout. Three-storey buildings encircle a secluded inner schoolyard. This design combines the wish for few public entrances to the school area (for security reasons) while eliminating the risk of crowding in entrance halls by doors to each home base through the courtyard and its exterior corridors.

 

The school is designed in the smallest detail to support the development of the 4Cs – communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking.

 

Research

The project is based on an interdisciplinary approach. The latest research in pedagogy, sociology and psychology has been utilised during the work, and the school’s design is based on this knowledge. A specialist in learning environments has participated in large parts of the process, which is very unusual.

 

Room design

Abilities that require training need their spatial context, which is why the school features different types of rooms – home bases, L-shaped, round, large, small and places for meetings. This is the first secondary school in Sweden with L-shaped classrooms. This design principle increases opportunities for collaboration and finding a secure place. The round auditoriums are like amphitheatres, providing optimal conditions to see and hear. The small rooms create an intimate atmosphere. All furnishings are flexible based on pupils’ abilities and the type of teaching.

 

Inclusive, complex process

A unique aspect of this project is the care taken in relation to the complex interaction between physical design, organisation and pedagogy. All factors have been central to the inclusive process between school staff, pupils and experts in pedagogy and design.

 

Outdoor environment

The unusual division of the school into several volumes, as well as the outdoor balconies for movement between premises, promote a large amount of movement and time spent outdoors.

Please explain to the potential of transferring the projects’ results or learnings to other interested parties and contexts.
Please provide clear documentation, communication of methodology and principles in this context.

Documentation

A school development process was carried out in support of the production of the new learning environment. The aim was to create a holistic understanding of the educational and social vision, the school’s organisation and the physical environment. Key values were identified as characteristic of the process. From the start, school management, teachers, pupils (ages 13-16), youth council (ages 18-20), student health and other staff collaborated with the architect firm. The process was led by a specialist in learning environments. Staff and pupils participated in layout and room design.

The work has been summarised in the Swedish book ”Pedagogiskt program för skolhuset – Arvika nya högstadium” (”Pedagogic program for the school building – Arvika new secondary school”, by Frida Brismar Pålsson). Thoughts and ideas behind the design and the architects' plans and drawings are discussed in the book. The aim is to disseminate and share knowledge and lessons learned from the project, and to facilitate decisions in relation to any future changes to the school.

https://media1.paradisproduktion.se/2020/11/Paradis-Produktion_Pedagogiskt-program-fo%CC%88r-skolhuset_20201104_WEB.pdf

(In Swedish, with English summary)

Video

The project has also been summarised in a video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWW2wTPCABE&t=8s

(In Swedish)

Research into student health

Arvika Municipality is managing the two-year research project “IoT in school for each one”, with the aim of creating community benefit by enhancing student health, increasing learning and creating a better life for all. A study will be performed of how well the school building meets pupils’ needs and psychosocial needs. Part of the project involves regularly collecting data, with the help of IoT, to assess e.g. perceptions of belonging, security, stress, environmental quality, sound, light and air. The research results will be published.

https://www.vinnova.se/en/p/iot-in-school-for-each-one

Is an evaluation report or any relevant documentation available?
If you would like to upload additional documentation, please upload it or write it below

Film about the school (in swedish):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWW2wTPCABE&t=8s

 

Ongoing research project about using IoT to evaluate students health aspects:

https://www.vinnova.se/en/p/iot-in-school-for-each-one/

III. UPLOAD PICTURES
IV. VALIDATION
By ticking this box, you declare that you are not in in one or more of the exclusion situations foreseen under Article 136 of the Financial Regulation.
Yes
By ticking this box, you declare that all the information provided in this form is factually correct, that you assume sole liability in the event of a claim relating to the activities carried out in the framework of the contest, that the proposed project has not been proposed for the New European Bauhaus Prizes 2022 in any other category or strand and that it has not been subject to any type of investigation, which could lead to a financial correction because of irregularities or fraud.
Yes
By submitting your application, you guarantee that you are the author or have the rights to proceed with the application and to authorise the use of the project, concept, idea, and that you have obtained any necessary consents, licenses or assignments from third parties and included copyright notices when necessary.
Yes
By submitting your application, you understand that all the applications that meet the eligibility requirements will be shared for the purposes of the selection processes, and notably published on the secured platform https://prizes.new-european-bauhaus.eu/ and for the purposes of the promotion of these on the New European Bauhaus website and/or other European Commission communication channels. In this sense, the applications would be widely available. Applicants should ensure that they present their ideas, concepts, projects, in such a way that they could be shared without giving rise to intellectual property related concerns. If your submission is selected as one of the finalists, it will additionally be shared for the purpose of the public vote that will take place. The European Union is granted a licence to use and share your application with the general public and the official external experts for the purposes of the selection process, including the voting. The European Union has the right to use the images and visual materials and the description provided in the application for communication purposes related to the contest and beyond. Rights granted comprise the right to store, reproduce, display, publish and communicate or distribute copies in electronic or digital format, including, but not only, through the internet. Unless you have disclosed your name, the European Commission has no obligation to share your name when using or disseminating your contribution to the public. The European Union cannot be held responsible in case any submitted idea, project, concept is found to infringe third parties rights. The European Union shall be neither responsible for the use that third parties may do of the applications or related content.
Yes

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