Recently we spent some time learning about what our clients would like to see in their new spaces, and it was energizing and inspiring.
Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Students from Crete-Monee Middle School and Sixth Grade Center recently tested the theory as they were asked to serve as the focus groups for the project team responsible for designing several of the district’s new school buildings. The architectural design firm, DLA Architects, is based in Itasca and has been selected by the Board of Education to design the Crete-Monee Middle School addition and the new Crete-Monee Elementary School.
The students were asked to think about their favorite spaces at home, at school, and where they liked to spend their free time, whether the park, the library, a coffee shop, the mall, etc.). Students were then asked to describe their favorite spaces to learn, complete homework, socialize with friends, play, eat and relax. As an added bonus, students were asked to bring with them any photo, image, drawing or computer image that best represents their ideal space.
“We always appreciate the benefit of being able to talk to the students who will actually occupy the space we design,” said project architect Brian Scully. Divided into three groups, the students were given color markers and encouraged to write their ideas, draw sketches and make color selections. For nearly two hours, Mr. Scully and his design team asked students to think of any and everything they would like to see in their new space. Nothing was off limits. “Dream big!” lead designer Matt Lowe said as he taped the chart paper to the walls. “How about animals in the classroom?” one boy offered. “Like an aquarium?” Mr. Lowe queried. “Yeah!” the students shouted in tandem. One after the other, students excitedly offered their vision of the new space as Mr. Lowe and his team took copious notes. “How about a snack bar?!” one said. “I’d like a Starbucks inside!” said another girl. “Go karts!” a boy yelled. “Could we have keys instead of combination lockers?” another asked. “What if you could swipe your keys?” Mr. Lowe suggested and was rewarded with bright smiles and eagerly nodding heads.