Educating between Reconstruction, Innovation and Community

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Educating between Reconstruction, Innovation and Community

Fare-Scuola-tra-Ricostruzione,-Innovazione-e-Comunità

Extract from the speech by architect Mario Cucinella during the conference “Doing school between reconstruction and educational innovation” in Mirandola (Mo).

29 May 2017

«I always say that designing is the voice of the verb “to love”. In recent years it has been rebuilt, it has been designed, but above all, it has given rise to a great gesture of generosity, a gesture of love for the territory. In particular, designing schools is even more important, because it is an act of responsibility: rebuilding the places of education to restore normality to our children is a powerful action and designing schools well is essential.

Building schools with good design, giving importance to natural light and paying particular attention to the quality details of buildings, influences the quality of teaching and learning. It has been proven that you learn best in schools where design is important and where there are ideal comfort conditions. Italy is a country that has created some of the most important pedagogical models, such as Montessori and Malaguzzi. We have important roots linked to the theme of education and architecture in which the relationship with space enters into synergy with the educational part. In the last 50 years, however, not much has changed in the school system, this makes us understand how from 1916 to 2016 everything has remained unchanged.

Italy is the country that has built “beauty”, everyone recognizes it. On the occasion of the reconstruction, the relationship between pedagogy and space was put into play. Beautiful schools were built, perhaps even better than the previous ones. We must think of reconstruction as an improvement of the territory. “The architecture in which we should invest more is like a journey through time“. Schools leave each of us with an important memory. I still have the memory of my nursery school designed by a great architect. Buildings travel in our memory and since they are part of our personal history, it is important that they are beautiful and well made. Like pedagogy, architecture is one of the first forms of education.

Listening directly to the kids is a fundamental part of our work as architects. They should be listened to because if we pay attention we understand the school they want, we do them and design them for them. It is these young people who will have to face some very important challenges in the future. The environmental challenges of the next 20 years are social challenges and integration challenges. Talking about the future in schools means talking about ecological and environmental issues. We need to prepare the children. It is true that all pedagogy is important, but I am an architect and therefore I defend our work. Space determines and influences people’s conditions. […]

It is necessary to imagine a future in which beauty once again becomes one of the determining elements of our culture. Architecture has been an extraordinary example of our territories. Foreigners come to Italy (all of them) and look at our beauty as an exceptional fact. We live it every day and therefore, we must return to this idea that building is an act of generosity towards the territory and towards people. Beauty is contagious and this is a good thing».

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