OZ Architecture’s innovative design in Roots Elementary was recently featured in One Day Magazine, a publication delivered to alumni of Teach for America. The article highlighted a new approach to learning within different classroom spaces. Roots Elementary is one example of a school that is rethinking how space affects learning.
OZ Architects Jim Bershof and Kelly Yamasaki led the design process at Roots, and have coached school leaders in the past on innovations in holistic school design focused on flexible, collaborative space. Founding principal Jon Hanover is behind the Roots dream, which implements what he calls a “bias toward collaboration”—rethinking the traditional school and classroom in order to rethink what learning looks like.
The space at the Roots Elementary school aims to foster a different type of learning experience, one in which instruction is individualized for each student. There are no standard classrooms, instead students spend their days in “groves” which is a large space surrounded by smaller break-out rooms. These “groves” allow groups of students at different age levels and grades to be configured into different groups throughout the day. Students can easily be grouped by skill level for certain activities, whether ongoing or just for a day.
OZ was intent on avoiding an institutional feel, using vertical green panels rather than masonry to summon images of a wild Colorado aspen grove. A sloped roof over each grove was used to indicate from outside where each inside grove exists.
In a country where the average school building hasn’t been renovated in almost two decades, it’s clear that buildings themselves can impact different ways of learning, and in turn create change.
Learn more about how OZ Architecture is helping schools create change in One Day Magazine.