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School Design


"Working as a member of an architectural team you are competing against other companies to win the contract to design a state-of-the-art teaching area on a given site.

The teaching area must accommodate 100 students and must fit within the area shown on your copy of the site area. 

There is no limit to your budget but if your design is expensive then you must be able to convince the school governors that it is worth the extra money.

You must:

  1. Consider the points on the Getting Started sheet

  2. Draw a scale drawing of your teaching block

  3. Draw a scale drawing of one of the classrooms in more detail

  4. Produce a spreadsheet showing the costs of your building

  5. Transfer these costs to the cost estimate sheets

  6. Produce drawings to show what the teaching block will look like form different views

  7. Be prepared to explain your design and the reasons to your teacher

A Suggested Place to Start:

Past experience has shown it to be very helpful if you do the following two steps first as a whole team before you divide the project tasks.

Design an ideal learning environment

A learning space is where most of the learning activities will happen. Your plan may end up including several different types of learning spaces.


What is the most inspiring, inviting & interesting learning space you can imagine?

What would school have to be like to make you want to spend a lot of time there?

How many students would you put into one learning space at a time?

How important is it to you to have natural light in a room?

What subjects are going to be taught in your new classroom?

What’s the most engaging technology you can imagine being used in the classroom? How would this technology change the way you learn math, French, history, science, etc.?

How much space would be needed to accommodate the technology and the types of learning activities you envision?

Decide how the site would be best used


How much of the site are you willing to give up for parking?.. athletic fields? .. roads? (are there other options worth considering?)

How could you develop the site so that the whole community could enjoy & use it?

What compass direction gets the most sunlight during the day—how does this affect the way you orient a courtyard, for example?


How many learning spaces you’ll need to accommodate 100 students

Whether to stack the learning spaces, fan them, scatter them, cluster them, etc.—consider how to arrange things so buildings can be quickly evacuated in an emergency

How to connect all the spaces (walkways on the ground, above ground, underground?)—consider how to ensure good “circulation” (how to avoid foot-traffic congestion)

How transportation on and off the site will happen—where vehicles (if any) will be parked, and how emergency vehicles will gain access

Supporting Resources:

Introductory PowerPoint               Simplified Task

Building Costings                         Team Costings Spreadsheet                  Team Costings.Record Sheet