June Staff Picks: The School Building: Philosophy & Design

Reading Room, Second Floor


School design is a modern problem; modern in the sense that it originally developed in response to the industrial revolution, and the complexities of industrial society. An ever-increasing number of students and national compulsory education shifted school design from humble, one-room schoolhouses created by local residents to industrially produced, economic structures for efficient learning. Later designs focused on educating the whole child, with special attention to playspaces and collaborative learning. Stark differences between urban, suburban, and rural approaches to school building represent the local community, funding availability, and school population.


School planning goes far beyond designing and constructing a building; the philosophies of the school board, the community, and local governments shape how the school looks and feels, how sound travels throughout the facility, and ultimately illustrates the values and educational visions of key stakeholders. These visions vary depending on location, economics, status, and a variety of other factors. The books in this collection showcase some rare school design titles and documents from the 1910s through the early 1970s, explaining how schools and education leaders kept up with a quickly modernizing world. Looking back at these documents and plans provide thought-provoking starting points for imagining what schools will look like in this century.


This display is curated by Kalliope Mathios, Library Services Associate. Where: Reading Room, Second Floor


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Last Updated: 5:11 am, Thursday, May 10 , 2018