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The Innovation Lab of the Lamplighter School

Accompanying the Development of an Education Model

Marlon Blackwell Architects

The Innovation Lab of the Lamplighter School
By Francesco Pagliari -

Founded in 1953, the Lamplighter School has been a beacon of innovative teaching and experimentation down the years, celebrating children and encouraging a path of lifelong learning.
Of key importance has always been allowing children to have a close relationship with nature and the world around them by developing concrete activities to stimulate young minds and develop their creativity. The accent has always been on broadening the experience of young children, so enabling them to become independent thinking people with a sense of responsibility towards society. A keynote feature of the school is the full commitment of teachers and pupils alike.

From small beginnings, the school continued to expand over the years, enlarging its facilities to accommodate the growing pupil intake. In 2014, a new master plan envisaged a re-organized campus circulation and established a complex series of renovations, additions and new construction. The extension was not only to accommodate more pupils but also to take on board new pedagogic thinking that puts the accent on the sciences, technology, math, and environmental studies.

Any new architecture had to mirror the enlightened ideas carried forward by the school and corroborate with the fundamental principles of closely relating to the natural world and acknowledging the complexity of the learning process. So, even if physically separate, any addition had to be part of a conceptual whole linked by pedestrian walkways to form an extended educational establishment.

Designed by Marlon Blackwell, the fluid spaces of the new Innovation Lab comply fully with the brief. Wrapped in copper and cypress, the lab has a three-pronged plan, each arm with its own sheltered entrance forming a welcoming protective transition between exteriors and interiors. It has become the heart of the campus, vibrant with pupils involved in all kinds of making and exploration. Under its folded roof, classrooms of various...

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