Capturing the essence and intent of a school through pre-design co-creation sessions


Garden 3

  • Primary Core Competencies: Community Engagement
  • AIA CEU: 1. 0 LU
  • Secondary Core Competencies: Educational Facility Pre-Design Planning


Participatory design harnesses the latent potential of all stakeholders: teachers, school leaders, parents, students and designers. Through an intensive participatory process a team of 8 teachers, two academics, 45 students and two architects developed a school design through a series of collaborative techniques. These included taking stock of ideas in current practice, existing space use, development through imagined practice, fertile possibilities, productive provocations, dream-school sessions, and finally a spatio-temporal mapping exercise. The importance of contributions was shaped by our model of participatory design emphasising development of voice at critical junctures across time. One case study is presented. The case study school is a subsequent stage of the recipient of the A4LE Australasian Award for individual facility ($2.5 million) project of distinction (2016). This presentation focuses on an Australian K-4 elementary school stage. This project undertook a design process seeking to maximise the educational model centred on project based learning. This approach centres on the idea that students are active investigators of their world with knowledge generated through a series of individual and collective interactions with genuine experiences. We will present a model for participatory design that identifies key moments of collaboration. The presentation will share a series of insights framed by enablers and constraints that have emerged from the particular participatory design process employed at this site.

Learning Objectives

OBJ #1  Participants will identify specific strategies for participatory design

OBJ #2  Participants will understand the need for educators to be involved in the design process

OBJ #3  Participants will identify enablers and constraints of participatory design

OBJ #4  Participants will understand critical junctures for emphasizing educator voice

Matthew Dwyer, Co-Director, IDE

Scott Alterator, PhD., PhD, University of Melbourne / IDE (Innovation = Design + Education)