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Future Systems' designs in a class of their own

Future Systems has produced these prototype designs for the classrooms of the future. The 'World Classrooms'will be constructed in three schools in London's Richmond - Meadlands primary school, Grey Court secondary school and Strathmore special needs school.

The project developed out of an exercise in 'blue-sky thinking' that draws on children's dreams and aspirations for the spaces in which they learn. It aims to 'challenge the traditional roles of teacher and learner, encourage creative thinking and provide a genuinely new experience for all those involved in the learning process'.

Inside the free-standing, factory-built structures, generous floor-toceiling height and an arrangement of skylights in the roof create an uplifting, voluminous space. Shiny white GRP is the primary material and soft edges dominate over straight lines.Recesses around the edge of the space contain sitting areas with whiteboards where the children can work individually. Each year the children will decorate the outside with their own drawings.

Future Systems'director Amanda Levete said that if the project is a success, it could be adapted to a traditional classroom and the needs of inner city schools.

The project was supported by a grant from the Department for Education with the input of educational consultants Maggie Farrar from the University of the First Age and Steve Hepple at the University of East Anglia.

Two of the Richmond schools have now won planning permission to install the classrooms, with all three due to be operational by next summer.

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