Primary School - The School on the Edge
What would happen if we made a school for 1 - 9 year olds, instead of the traditional 1-5 preschool, 6-12 and 13 - 16 elementary level. What happens if you take the culture and education of the preschools, and merge it with the old traditions of the elementary school?And what happens if you put together from the beginning - a group of architects, a schoolmaster and a preschool-master, a writer and the landscape-architect to create both the school and the philosophy of the school? You will get Krikaskoli. In Iceland music revolutions have taken place at the strangest places and spread over the world, educated classical talent meets, punk rock mentality that merge with modern techno equipment. We get Björk and Sigurros that actually work next door to the school. In the same town the geothermal revolution started in the 1930s, long before anybody knew about global warming. 70C water is pumped from the ground and through the building to heat it - so the school is CO2 free, clean and renewable. School makes us and shapes us and prepares us for what? We have no idea what kind of environment, what businesses, what technology awaits the students in 2035 -when they should be ready for ,,real-life" and ,,real-work".
But actually - a student should not be preparing for anything, as the school is a core part of life itself but not a waiting place for some other time. The activities in the school justify themselves; the learning is good in itself, regardless of the practical because nobody knows actually what skills will be practical in 2035. Gardening is part of the school, music is part of the school, and walking up the local mountain too. We started with concepts in a melting pot of ideas. A melting pot of people where the writer or schoolmaster could have as much input in the design concept as the architect on the philosophy and core values of the school. As a creative team - everybody has an experience in being in a building and working or going to a school. Everybody could share an experience and let the imagination run free.
So we looked at the school as a tree, the center staircase being the trunk, on the ground floor the roots, the boots with the mud and the outdoor clothing - to meet Icelandic weather. Based on the rugged preschoolers - the school could actually take part in teaching the older how to enjoy life in all weather. On the ground floor we have activities, the food and nourishment - on the top level the nests, where you have intimate learning, reading, discussions. We designed open space with few doors, but still the ambience of the nest. And from the nest we have the branches" the balcony where the youngest can play before they actually learned how to ,,fly". And outside we have the playground an extended learning area.