What happens when 16 architects & educators travel together in the wintry north?
28 Feb 2016
We met for dinner in downtown Helsinki on a Sunday night, our first night. We walked from our hotel through snowy streets to the restaurant, where many of us took the when-in-Rome option and chose reindeer from the menu. It was the first time we’d all been together as a group. By Thursday the group was laughing with incredulity that we had only known each other for a few short days.
When I first planned this tour I was hopeful to have about eight people, and overwhelmed when capped registrations at 15. Travelling from 24 January until 5 February we went from Helsinki, Copenhagen with a side trip to Sweden, Amsterdam and then a handful went onto Geneva.
Along the way we visited Helsinki, visiting schools and the Design Factory at Aalto University. Then to Orestad and Hellerup in Copenhagen, with a side trip to Sweden. We were very grateful for the input from our friends at Ecophon. Clapping and looking for reverberations seemed to be part of an assessment of all spaces, after our seminar with Mai-Britt Beldam. We spent the a day just across "The Bridge" in Sweden, hosted by Colin Campbell visiting Kunskapsskolan in Helsingborg and Landskrona, and a university in Malmo, all the while applying some of our new knowledge about acoustics.
The Amsterdam architect-led tour around the developing Oosterdok harbour revealed the thinking and planning that is connecting this city in a new way. A constant ferry links the Overhoeks district across the Ij River and the new orientation of the transport hub of Amsterdam Centraal facing the river, is ensuring that the area known for the landmark Shell building becomes a new vibrant hub, with the Eye Film Institute taking centre stage.
A “Learning Spaces” tour needs to visit more than just schools. We need to explore the places where active and unscripted learning occurs, understand where people live and work in the 21st century and allow time and space for the group to process and download their thinking.
I really want to thank the 15 amazing people who said “yes” to joining the study tour. It wasn’t just the places we visited, it was the rich dialogue, the shared problem-solving and the laughter along the way that made it all work. I have such a wonderful opportunity and feel very blessed to be able to lead these tours.
Anne is the Director: Development and External Relationships, Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning & Past-Chair NSW Chapter