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Finalists announced for the Open Architecture Challenge

Firms including Feilden Clegg Bradley and Gifford UK - along with designers from Colombia, Czech Republic, India and Uganda - have submitted these designs for the classroom of the future

Here’s an inside look into the projects of the eight finalists:

Adaptable hillside classrooms


Design Team: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios & AfH UK
Partner/ Location: Bunyonyi Community School, Kabale, Uganda

The Bunyonyi Community School is located on the shores of Lake Bunyonyi in south west Uganda. An amphitheatre for community based activities is created by opening side walls which enables its use as a large assembly or event space in addition to classrooms. As a design feature the building steps up the hillside, which also reduces the amount of excavation and earthmoving required.
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Teksing Bamboowood School

Design Team: Petr Kostner, Martina Sobotkova, Sona Huberova, Czech Republic
Partner/ Location: Antarastriya Yuba Barsais, Kavre, Central Nepal

The Bamboowood School classroom extension was designed for a specific school in the area of Kavre in Central Nepal. This extension is designed to serve as a new exemplar for school development in the area, as a ‘zero technology school’, with no regular water source or power supply and locally sourced construction materials.
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Classroom for the saltpan community

Design Team: Rajesh Kapoor, Prashant Solanky, Bharat Karamchandani, Kiran Vaghela, Gujarat, India
Partner/Location: Cohesion Foundation, Kutch, Gujarat, India

The Cohesion Foundation works to support the education of children from migrant families and is helping to manage nearly 30 of these new schools in both the coastal and the Little Rann salt pans. The design principles are based on the traditional construction knowledge of the salt pan workers.
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Teton Valley Community School

Design team: Section Eight Design, Idaho, US
Partner/ Location: Teton Valley Community School, Victor, Idaho, US

The Teton Valley Community School is a non-profit independent school located in Victor, Idaho, at the base of the Teton Mountain range. One of the school’s main goals is long term community collaboration. The design team held a series of workshops with students, teachers, parents and other community members to begin to analyse the requirements of the school, while simultaneously keeping the needs of the developing area in mind.
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A Sustainable Community Classroom

Design Team: Gifford, London, UK
Partner/ Location: Building Tomorrow, Uganda

The Sustainable Community Classroom design solution focuses on the use of local materials, furniture and skills. The classroom is to be constructed mostly from locally made bricks, timber and earth.
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House In The Wood

Design team: Built Form, LLC / Northwestern University Settlement House, Chicago, US
Partner/Location: Northwestern University Settlement House, Delavan, Wisconsin, US

This design is rooted in the idea of an extension of the urban classroom. With access to two rooms in two very different environments, the design responds to the need for the teaching spaces to be flexible, durable and be places that foster the children’s curiosity and creativity.
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Justified architecture in a landscape of transformation

Design Team: Arquitectura Justa - Wolfgang Timmer, Fabiola Uribe, T. Luke Young, Bogota, Colombia
Partner/ Location: Waldorf Educational & Social Organization, Ciudad Bolívar, Bogota, Colombia

This project addresses the needs and aspirations of the Waldorf Educational and Social Organization in their efforts to educate children in one of the poorest sectors of Bogotá. The design offers two new levels where artistic stone, wood, weaving, music and painting classes are held covered by a green roof providing areas for environmental education, open air learning and musical performances.
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Blurred classroom

Design team: Gensler, New York, US
Partner/ Location: Future Leaders’ Institute, New York, New York, US

The Blurred Classroom aims to ‘unpack the box’ of the traditional school building – and blur the lines of the traditional classroom. By creating a new diversity of spaces, the children are provided with ‘depth and richness to their educational opportunities’.
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