Building climate adapted schools with suitable spaces
Nowadays, people cannot think of a house that is not adapted to the climate in the area that is in and has the needed characteristics for people’s comfort. Furthermore, in an increasing rate, companies are becoming aware of their employees’ need for an adapted work environment and designed to increase productivity.
For this reason, schools must evaluate and adjust space to allow teachers and students to carry out the academic activities in optimal conditions. Getting the most out of natural light, avoid exposure to continuous noise or limiting severe temperature changes, are some of the guidelines that specialists in scholar ergonomics recommend following in the class.
The scholar spaces have strong influence over the results of the students. On this matter, several researches have shown that environmental and ergonomics conditions have an impact on the performance of students and teachers.
The internal air quality, ventilation and thermal comfort, lighting, acoustic, the school and classroom sizes are some of the attributes of spaces that can make a difference on teacher and student’s performance, as Mark Schneider from the US National Educational Statistics Center.
As the year passed by, the construction of schools in Spain has evolved in some aspects such as the climate and the characterization of spaces so the teaching and learning process can be ideal.
This evolution started in the 20’s when a new legislative period began for the public schools, implementing great advances in scholar architecture.
By Royal Decree of November of 1920, the Technical Office for the Construction of Schools was created. The new projects remodeled aspects such as new classroom designs, lighting, orientation, furniture, etc.
From 1922, this institution´s designs introduced some new things in new scholar architecture. The first change was the “national-regionalist” perspective: taking into account the type of climate of the area where the school was going to be built, the materials used and the last aim of the building (temporal or permanent).
For this purpose, the just created institution intervened in the material choices, the number of rooms, the dimensions, the lighting and the distribution. These requisites were the same for every school.
From 1933 and on, the Office entered a crisis, a new generation of architects GATEPAC (Group of Spanish Artists and Technicians for The Progress of Contemporary Architecture) was very critic with the institution, calling all the work done to the time luxurious, expensive and anachronistic.
In 1934, the Technical Office published new regulations for school construction; they were trying to cut prices on school constructions and complete a schooling plan by the Republican government for the whole country, the circumstances at the time did not permit it.
In the development of the Royal Decree 1004/1991, June 14th, the minimum requisites for the non university education centers were established.
After a long period of time and with some experience in the matter, the government passed the Needs Program for Public Pre-school and Secondary Education Centers.
Moreover, some technical specifications were approved to provide schools with a higher, architectonical and structural, quality; adding new technology and with the aim of building more secure, durable and easy-maintaining constructions.
City environment integration of the schools is taken into account and its suitability for the bioclimatic conditions. Furthermore, disabled people have guaranteed access to schools and the use of new technologies and renewable energy is encouraged.
The legislation on urban planning, hygiene, livability and security will be enforced. These “norms of designing and construction for school centers” are created in order to facilitate the elaboration of public center projects.
Its phrasing aimed to sufficiently determine the spaces and surfaces that should used in a school, leaving some room for the project author’s creativity.