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What is the Ideal Educational Environment? – Studio Gang

Studio Gang has come up with a new design for the Academy for Global Citizenship, a Chicago Public Charter School. The operating philosophy is that a more sustainable world begins at school. The proposed design for the campus is a combined urban farm and educational institution.

According to the Studio…

“[the design] re-imagines the concept of ‘school’ as a place that embraces the innate curiosity of children, the natural systems of the world, and a responsibility to make positive change, instilling in students a mindset of sustainability and wellness.”

In creating a new design that focuses on the schools distinct character and goals, Studio Gang believes that this school can be a model and precedent for global change through sustainability.

The proposed design consists of a series of indoor and outdoor educational environments set around a central courtyard. The students and teachers of different levels are able to operate in a collaborative environment. The aim is to provide an inquiry based collaborative approach to learning.

The school uses a wide range of different sustainable approaches to improve the well being of its users and the environment. This is achieved through the use of solar energy, greenhouses, seasonal gardens, storm water management, natural ventilation, and geothermal systems, the school reduces its energy load and improves the definition of wellness for its students and the environment.

“One part of the design is the urban farm, which not only allows students to participate in agriculture, food preparation, and animal care, but will also supply produce for meals. The school also believes that this process aids in the development of patience, self-confidence, empathy, an open mind to new and healthy foods, and an interest in becoming better global and local citizen.” (ArchDaily, 2016).

“In addition, the building’s orientation is meant to provide peak solar access for outdoor learning spaces and greenhouses, while also maximizing photovoltaic energy collection, and providing the most natural light for indoor classrooms and spaces with clerestory windows. The school also hopes to achieve net-positive status, producing more energy than it consumes through solar and geothermal sources. With sustainability and wellness as guiding principles, the school seeks to demonstrate a position of environmental stewardship that it hopes to impart on the students.” (ArchDaily, 2016).

My Thoughts…

In my opinion, it would be amazing if this concept could be applied globally which I believe it could as children and young people are the future of our world and they will have an affect on it. Therefore, we should be teaching them about sustainability and wellness now and what affect it will have on the environment.

This is one of the best examples of sustainable design that I have seen and I really like how Studio Gang has taken so many elements into consideration; the urban farm is a great idea as it gives children an insight into almost self sufficiency while caring for the environment through agriculture, food preparation, animal care and the use of produce. I also like how it teaches them valuable qualities through all of the above giving them patience, empathy, confidence and an open mind. This is something that all children would benefit greatly from. Additionally; they have included lots of sustainable energy and recycling methods which is always beneficial to the environment.

Sustainability, wellness and biophilic design are very important to me and as a final major project in my final year at university, I would like to take it into account. It is not just children that need to look after the environment, we all do for the sake of our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren as if we don’t work on it now, there may be nothing left for them to build on.

(All images remain the property of Studio Gang).


Studio Gang has many more amazing projects on their website:


There is more information on this project available from ArchDaily, which is a great website for looking at innovative design projects.

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