The “Science Lab” Elementary School Project at Peck Slip questions the concept of the school as an institution for discipline and punishment where students are divided according to age and measured from the established benchmarks etc. As described by Foucault in his book “Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison” that the transition to the industrial
system around 17th-19th century required different type of control over people in order to ensure the efficiency of the new economic system. In the 21st century we are experiencing another systematic change (from industrial to information technology society) and there has to be an adequate change in educational system. By understanding the needs of the society and the developmental peculiarities of children at the early age (they learn better by challenging different senses – sight, touch, smell,
balance, etc. rather than by following text books and that it is important to stimulate their imagination, so that they are able to be creative) “Science Laboratory” project offers an alternative to the 200 years ago established norms still widely used today.
The “Science Lab” project would set grounds for bottom up learning. The usual teacher - student (master - slave) relationship would be substituted
with something like a “smart search engine and curious explorer relationship” that could constantly open up more and more interesting horizons as one gets more involved. The knowledge would not be
taught; instead children would be discovering it themselves with mentors (the smart search engines) only to guide, give direction and to provoke
The “Science Lab” Elementary School Project will capture, keep the children’s attention and provoke learning from the moment they approach the school early in the morning to the time they go home. “Scientific cabinets of curiosity” scattered throughout the school will expose children to different types of information ranging from the most recent discoveries in quantum mechanics to most bizarre fantasies, interpreted for their age-specific learning capacities. Interactive screens in floors, walls and ceilings, digitally produced aggregations, and a variety of wild life including aquariums, terrariums, bug containers and green rooms from different climate zones will serve children as grounds for learning to use all their senses. The unusual placement of things and bizarreness will provoke critical thought on the accepted realities of our everyday life.
The critical view on accepted realities at the “Science Lab” project is also questioned by architectural means. The usual rigid structure of classrooms
along the main corridor is substituted by a continuous space a with variety of special qualities – dark, light, spacious, enclosed, continuous etc. Gym, auditorium, classroom and playground do not exist at the school as single entities with specific borders. The spaces merge from one to another based on adjacent interests.