Spaces that matter


A group of photographers, illustrators, writers and educators visited the construction site of the multifunctional project Huis van den Heuvel as part of a research project on sustainable architecture and creative environments in schools. Huis van den Heuvel is an extension to and transformation of a listed church into a truly social centre for the neighbourhood De Heuvel in Breda.

Also MFA Nelson Mandela Centrum in Gouda East was worth a visit. In this multifunctional accommodation at least 21 stakeholders have settled to serve the neighborhood. A major initiative that 'Spaces that Matter' highlights on the blog.  'Atelier PRO is the first to create a project at this magnitude'.

This UK-based collective goes by the name 'Spaces that Matter' and tries to raise public awareness for the need to build innovative learning environments that increase creative capacity of students. They are looking for examples where design positively affects learning. In short: what defines a creative school space?

To find answers to this question, Alex Letteboer toured them around. Here's a short wrap-up of the visit :

'After 5.30 hours on trains, being rained on, freezing to the point of shivering, changing plans we finally made it to Huis van de Heuvel in Breda and it was all worth it. A 1950's listed church restored combined with urban architecture to be transformed into a school, daycare centre, sports halls, a bar and so much more.

fascinated us here, was how the contemporary building complemented the church as they both merge in total harmony. It captures the past and opens up doors for a creative and empowered education and future.'

In preparation for a larger publication, Spaces that Matter keeps a blog of all visited projects. Read the full reports of Huis van den Heuvel en MFA Nelson Mandela Centre here, complete with photos of the buildings.

We fully support the initiative by Spaces that Matter and look forward to the book pulication with references of great creative school spaces.
To follow the words by Sir Ken Robertson (eh .. who? The creativity expert whose lectore on How Schools kill Creativity is the most viewed TEDtalk of all time):

“Creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.”

We need schools to create spaces for their students which support and encourage creativity. This idea isn't new, we just need more build examples of how to get it right.