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DESIGNING FOR YOUNG MINDS

Inspired by children’s building blocks, Gregory Katz Architecture designs King David Pre-Primary School in Johannesburg.

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Architectural design inspiration can be found anywhere – even in a theoretical model for early childhood education, as Gregory Katz Architecture has shown in their design for the King David Pre-Primary School in Johannesburg. The new school’s curriculum is guided by the Reggio Emilia Approach, which prioritises a child’s natural development through touch, moving, listening and observing their environment. The model highlights the importance of the learning environment in early childhood development, with a particular emphasis on drawing natural light into the school building.

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In response, the architects designed the 1,700m2 school to maximise light and create a fascinating play of light and shadow throughout the building. They used concrete extensively throughout, combining its strength as a construction material and its versatility as an aesthetic element. The standardised, precast concrete blocks of various shapes and sizes were placed in a playful configuration to create window openings and hollow columns, inspired by children’s building blocks. The design approach also reflects the architect’s own philosophy of “shrugging off staid notions of style in favour of a fresh approach to the environment and functionality.” The school caters for 500 children. The facilities comprise 19 classrooms, a music room, media centre, performance space, therapy rooms and other facilities.

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References:

(http://www.designboom.com/architecture/gregory-katz-architecture-pre-primary-school-johannesburg-04-02-2016/) (http://gregorykatz.co.za/portfolio.php?pid=60)

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