CREA Newman School: Reinventing the School Library

CREA Newman School: Reinventing the School Library

Have you ever wondered: How can you transform a school library into an exciting and stimulating space for the collective and individual learning of children and young people?

At CR+A, we have transformed an old school library into a stimulating and enriching space. We present to you the CREA Newman School projectan innovative library that focuses on enhancing students’ learning and expressive abilities, making the most of its generous space, abundant natural light, and high ceilings to foster curiosity and unleash the full power of their creativity.

Our team of designers has brought to life a unique educational environment where curiosity is the guiding light, and creativity flows endlessly. Through clever furniture, captivating lighting, and a color palette that transports visitors to a modern enchanted forest, CREA becomes a magical stage for learning.

In this blog, we invite you to explore how CREA is revolutionizing the learning experience at Newman School and transforming the way students have fun while acquiring knowledge. Join us on this journey of educational innovation!

Creative Stimulation

We start from the reflection of David Thornburg, a renowned expert in education and technology, who maintains that the creation of creative and flexible learning environments is essential to engage and empower students in their learning process.

This premise inspired us to completely transform the traditional conception of a library. It would no longer be seen as a monotonous place students had to attend out of obligation but rather as a space they would truly want to visit. Additionally, we recognized the importance of research in the learning process and incorporated it at the heart of the project. We closely collaborated with the school’s pedagogical vision, where the promotion of research begins from an early age.

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Playscape - CREA Newman School

Colors that Inspire and Connect

The influence of color in the creative process, especially in the educational and architectural context, is a powerful tool. As architects and designers, we understand the profound interconnection between color, psychology, and human physiology. We know that it’s not just an aesthetic matter; it’s a means to shape experiences and enhance the well-being of individuals who interact in a particular space. This principle is fundamental in the CREA Project.

The use of specific color palettes in CREA aligns with creating an environment that evokes the feeling of an enchanted forest, a dreamlike world. The choice of colors is not random but based on a deep understanding of how colors influence perception and emotions. In CREA, blue and green play a crucial role.

Blue and green, besides evoking the majesty of the sky and the serenity of the mountains, are scientifically linked to concentration and relaxation. In this educational context, the use of these colors transforms classrooms into inviting and comfortable environments, ideal for tasks that require deep concentration. Students benefit from a sense of calm that promotes focus and the assimilation of knowledge.

CR+a Biblioteca CREA espacio de aprendizaje

CREA also incorporates warm colors through woods and other elements. These warm colors are essential for fostering creativity and social interaction. They inspire students to think more openly and engage in creative and group activities. Earthy and warm tones create a collaborative atmosphere that invites the school community to connect, share ideas, and explore new horizons.

This strategy demonstrates CREA’s ability to carefully balance cool and warm colors, creating a versatile educational environment that adapts to the changing needs of students. The color palette is not only aesthetically appealing but also supports pedagogical goals. Colors are not just a visual choice but a powerful tool that influences cognition, creativity, and children’s well-being. CREA skillfully utilizes this tool, harnessing the psychological and emotional benefits of colors to transform the learning and student experience. This approach showcases how architectural design and color theory can merge to create exceptional and enriching educational environments.

Forest Concept

The notion that a connection with nature is vital for the holistic development of children has been a fundamental pillar in the design of CREA. Following the reflections of Richard Louv, a prominent American writer, we recognize that nature provides an optimal environment for active learning and exploration. In nature, children find opportunities to experience, discover, and actively learn, an experience that leaves a profound impression on their developing minds.

In CREA, we have taken this belief a step further by incorporating nature, and in particular, the concept of the forest, as a central element of our design. Evoking that place of mystery and magic that still resides in the psyche of children, a realm of imagination where logic gives way to fantasy and fun.

The inspiration for CREA’s design doesn’t come solely from a literal representation of the forest but rather from an exploration into the surreal nooks of a child’s mind. We have conceived these spaces from the perspective of dreamlike architecture, which means our educational environments resemble more the landscapes of dreams than conventional classrooms. For us, education becomes a magical adventure that allows children to discover and explore places, colors, and stories that motivate them.

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Learnscape - CREA Newman School

As one walks through the corridors of CREA, users encounter columns covered in trees. This is not just a visual representation of the forest but an invitation for children to explore their boundaries and reach new heights. The carefully selected color palette aligns with creating an environment that evokes the feeling of an enchanted forest. Children can feel inspired to think more openly and engage in creative and group activities. Thus, CREA’s design achieves a balance between the inspiration of nature and the vitality of human creativity.

The dreamlike architecture that underlies CREA has transformed the learning experience. Children are no longer confined by the walls of a traditional classroom; instead, they are in a world where every corner reveals secrets of discovery. They feel immersed in an enchanted forest, where trunks and mushrooms can be moved and configured according to their desires, reinforcing their sense that learning is an exciting adventure.

This approach goes beyond aesthetics. It’s about understanding the deep relationship between the environment and the child’s experience. The environment influences the perception of the space they are in. At CREA, we have taken into account not only the physical appearance of the place but also how it impacts the learning experience and the well-being of children. Dreamlike architecture has elevated education to a realm of wonder and discovery, where every day is an opportunity to learn and dream.

Design and Elements

All these elements arise from careful exploration and deep integration into the conceived environment. Following the vision of Randall Fielding, a prominent expert in interior architecture, we advocate for space customization and participatory design as key components in the cognitive development of children and young people. These elements have been intricately woven into the architecture to complement the implemented pedagogy.

With this premise in mind, our team has designed furniture that closely embraces the concept of the enchanted forest. We have incorporated elements like steps, nests, and caves to create new spatial perspectives. Cushions shaped like stones and animal footprints on the floor contribute to the immersive experience.

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Little Researchers - CREA Newman School

Wood plays a fundamental role in the design of CREA, adding warmth and naturalness to the space while establishing a tangible connection with nature. We strategically use this material to bring students closer to the forest environment and reinforce the sense of immersion in a unique experience.

To further strengthen the bond between students and the space, as well as to make it even more intriguing and appealing, the introduction of four special characters has been proposed. These characters serve as guides, accompanying children on their journey of learning and exploration.

Spaces Inspired by Nature

While collaboration and active learning are vital in modern education, we also recognize the importance of providing areas dedicated to concentration and individual study. In line with the insights of the educator and expert in educational leadership, Peter Hutton, we understand that students have diverse learning styles, and some require a quiet and distraction-free environment.

nidos de pajaro en la Biblioteca CREA
Nest - CREA Newman School

Inspired by nature, we have created a corner inspired by bird nests, specifically designed for concentration and individual activities. These wooden structures are accessible via an elegant spiral staircase, and their interior is furnished to evoke bird eggs. This design provides an immersive experience that promotes concentration and a sense of shelter.

The Integration of Technology and the Physical Book

The team faced a crucial challenge: finding a balance between the traditional and the technological. Despite the methodological advancements in education, there are theories supported by educators that advocate for the relevance of physical books, as argued by  Susan Newman, who asserts that ‘physical books at home and in school are fundamental for the development of strong reading skills in children.

Therefore, a harmonious integration of both worlds was proposed in the design, ‘technology and books coexisting in the same space.’ The shelves designed by the team adopt sinuous shapes that interlace book storage areas with curved benches evoking valleys and mountains. These shelves, strategically placed as an integral part of the conceptual narrative of the space, organically merge with designs created by the graphic artist, playing an essential role in the overall experience of the environment.

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Little Researchers - CREA Newman School

This is the dream we have brought to life in CREA, a place where nature and imagination intertwine to foster a love for learning and limitless creativity. Every child who crosses our doors becomes the protagonist of their own story, exploring an enchanted forest of knowledge and growth. At CREA, we believe that this is the most precious gift we can offer to future generations. A gift that inspires, challenges, and transforms, reminding us that learning can be magical when we open the door to imagination.

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