Combining the pleasant with the obligatory

Going to school isn’t always fun. Just as school buildings aren’t, too, very frequently. I know that this is changing, especially in the recent years, with children-friendly and education-friendly architecture, innovative solutions that make the learning more pleasant an attractive and new approach to teaching itself. But still a majority of schools that introduce colours or create places with cushions, soft floors etc are schools for the youngest pupils, the ones that only begin their education path and such solution help them overcome their intimidation or fear and change dull learning into more relaxed method of acquiring knowledge.

However, this was not the case is Ledina – one of the oldest grammar schools in Ljubljana, which has been operating for 144 years. The respectable school decided lately to turn its old entrance into a fashionable modern lounge. The building was originally build with two entrances, that used to separate girls and boys entering the building. Due to safety reasons only one is in use today, while the second one is closed and has no function. the idea was to transform the defunct second entrance into a space where students can relax and socialise, which they named School Landscape. The idea was to create a new ‘semi-public’ school space for leisure activities of students during recess, before and after school. The task was given to Svet Vmes Architects.

The architects, in their own words “broke the hard, uneven space and transformed it into a new, soft, single space.” They retained existing mouldings and architraves, but printed a dissolving pattern of green polka-dots on the lower half of the walls. Wavy green benches used for lounging and sliding run along the side walls and are covered with large squishy cushions, while a staircase is sandwiched in between.
As technology is almost an inseparable element of student’s everydays life, the architects also incorporated many solutions into the new space – the room has WiFi internet, as well as loudspeakers and a projector to ensure a more relaxed ambience. With all this students can watch movies and study in the space, get information, listem to the music, organize lectures or performances by school DJ.

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