A + I : AltSchool

In the heart of the Big Apple, the American agency A + I (Architecture + Information) delivers a new branch of AltSchool, an educational start-up aimed at meeting the individual needs of students. A colorful 2.0 school, focusing on new technologies, which designers describe as "fun, but not childish".

Housed on one of the eleven floors of a stone building dating back to the early XXe century, close to Union Square in Manhattan (New York), the 696 square meters facility looks more like an open space workspace than a primary school. And yet, each space is adapted to the educational imperatives of young students.

"As each AltSchool student has the unique opportunity to learn according to their own level, each space has been designed to be flexible enough to meet the individual needs of many students, as well as a myriad of unique styles and uses. " A + I


The set is organized around a central agora. Consisting of a wooden sky blue step structure, this area allows school children to gather during presentations or events. The azure construction also includes small nooks that children can use during their breaks. Open on this public square, an open and flexible Design Lab is installed to accommodate practical work, plastic designs and other scientific experiments. Its modular appearance also makes it possible to turn this part of AltSchool into a dining hall or playground.

Classrooms and soundproofed glass cabins - designed for small groups - line the main plateau.

Of particular interest was the use of materials and color in plywood furniture, which is used here as signage in space, in contrast to the neutral hues of the concrete floor. Dark tones announce calm, rather reflective and attentive areas, while bold, bold nuances encourage meeting and synergy. But beware, here, no question of falling into the overuse of primary colors, often used in classes. The architects do not have to go to a classical school but to a school based on the organization and operation of start-ups, an adult world. Indeed, remember, the mantra guiding all the design stages of this school was well and truly "Playful, but not childish".

A constant chorus that can be questioned in the development of a school where the imagination and innocence of toddlers must not be forgotten.

To learn more, visit the site of A + I

Photographs: Magda Biernat

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