Understanding School Buildingscompletes a study ofmodern Swedish school buildings and the ideas behind them. In aseries of case studies of seven schools built between 1953 and2001, changes in architecture have been found to reflectchanges in the ideas and practices of teaching and learning.The study has raised a number of questions, regarding currentdemands on school buildings. Problems and qualities of schoolbuildings demands on school buildings, problems and qualitiesof school buildings form the 1950s, 60s and 70s, problems foundand qualities lost in the process of changing such buildings,and the motives of architects involved in the design ofschools.
In practical terms, the research method has includedobservations of buildings in use, interviews with directors,staff and pupils as well as architects, and the study ofliterature, documents and architectural drawings. Intheoretical terms, different perspectives of architecture havebeen discussed and applied, from the phenomenological approachof Norberg-Schulz to the space syntax theory of Hillier, frompractical, social use of symbolic meaning and aesthetics.Finally, some philosophical themes on art, architecture andsociety, from Dewey, Shusterman, Scruton and Sartre have beenintroduced.
Partly diverging from the case study model of Yin, the studydoes not simply aim at verifying or falsifying a hypothesis. Ata point in the study, each case is explained in a morenarrative manner. In the final analysis, understanding schoolbuildings in shown to require a multifaceted view. A schoolbuilding must be seen in a historic/political perspective, as atool for teaching and learning and as the life-world ofteachers and pupils. In cases discussed, a school building isalso the object of strong pedagogical or social intensions ofan architect. In other term, a study of school buildings mustbe a study in pragmatist aesthetics.
Keywords:School building, architectural theory, recentsocial history of architecture, intention, experience,pragmatist aesthetics
Institutionen för arkitektur , 2004. , 142 p.
school building, architectural theory, recent social history of architecture