"We human beings are affected by the rooms we act in. In the traditional school there are always corridors connecting classrooms. These kinds of facilities consume areas without being pedagogically effective. Schools Kunskapsskolan designs, builds and operates have no traditional corridors or classrooms. We have rooms of different sizes and character because we all learn differently. All our premises are for study and learning, not only transportation, of small or bigger groups or for individual studies, and they are all designed to address different individuals different needs. That is my contribution to personalized education."
Kenneth Gardestad, Chief Architect at Kunskapsskolan.
Kenneth Gardestad has been responsible for the designing and reshaping all buildings since the start of Kunskapsskolan. Early in his career he was involved in designing educational institutions in Sweden and other parts of the world. Kenneth Gardestad has a Degree in Architecture from The Royal Institute in Stockholm and a Master of Science degree from MIT in Boston. He has received several awards for his architectural work pursuits.
The architecture in the KED program has been recognized and awarded around the world. Our architectural design space is an important tool in our formula for outstanding education. The purpose of architecture in our philosophy is not just to create an icon or a statement in the society, but to create the optimal environment for learning.
The room as a resource
The room - in the wide sense of the word - is a resource for student's different ways of learning that can be seen in two perspectives. First, all our premises are designed to suit the various needs of different students and learning tasks while in school. Second, students have the option to choose other places in the school to work with their studies - provided this is beneficial to the learning process.
Our premises are modern and innovative in design. They give an open, inviting and spacious impression, characterized by bright colors, aesthetic yet functional light and frequent glass walls. This unique design creates security that provides peace and quiet for working, while at the same time facilitates supervision.
Kunskapsskolan schools have very few corridors and spaces that are not used for learning purposes. Instead, there are a variety of purpose-designed, multi-functional facilities for lectures, group sessions and individual studies. This approach allows the faculty to use the facility optimally for each individual learning task.
Besides being a superior design for pedagogical reasons, this provides a better use of space leading economy to create greater opportunities for teaching - learning. Not the least, it creates a learning environment that resembles that of higher education and modern work life. Just what schools are supposed to be about - a preparation for life beyond and for lifelong learning.
Time is a resource for the student's learning. In a world where there is a good argument for every knowledge and skill you can learn, it is also the most scarce and limited of resources in school. The way it is utilized should therefore, as far as possible, be based on the student's individual learning style and not be organized according to a traditional collective timetable.
Each student has a personal timetable that directs how time is used, based on the student's personal goals and strategies. The school has a timetable for activities led by the teachers. From this timetable students, in consultation with their coaches, select activities that are relevant to their studies and enter those activities in their logbooks. Students also enter other activities they have planned: the development discussion/progress tracking reviews with their coaches, time for group work, their individual work tasks, etc.
The students are therefore responsible for the way they spend their time and have much influence over it. However, the personal responsibility is never greater than what the individual student can manage. The personal coach is responsible for ensuring this.
Rather than the only option being the traditional classroom format, teaching and time are arranged in various forums: workshops, seminars, communication sessions, and lectures. When planning how to teach the content, the school chooses the format that is optimal for learning, ranging from individual studies to arena lectures, and every format in between. Activities led by teachers, the individual work of the students, and their work with other students is brought together in order to provide a joint foundation for the student's learning.