HERA designs learning spaces at elementary school

As any student or teacher can tell you, learning happens inside the classroom and outside those four walls. Teaching comes from educators and from fellow students. Students make discoveries both when studying alone and while collaborating in a group.

Wild Horse Elementary, a K-5 school in Chesterfield, recently received grant money for a small renovation. HERA provided pro bono programming and concept design, which will transform three corridor areas into innovative learning spaces.

Principal Amy Tongay, Designer Jinhee Lee and Marketing Manager Reagan Branham worked with students to design creative spaces that will extend learning beyond the boundaries of the classroom. Through multiple visits to the school, HERA worked collaboratively with fourth- and fifth-grade student leaders to identify their needs and project goals. Using HERA’s proprietary physical model to communicate design ideas, they came to a consensus on a design theme and aesthetic that would tie all three spaces together and create unique learning environments.

The students’ design ideas challenged our team’s creativity. They envisioned triangle work tables, which are not standard pieces in our model kit of parts. Jinhee responded by spontaneously creating one using pieces already in the model kit and masking tape. Voila: triangle tables!

The final three spaces will be themed around sunrise, midday and sunset. Bulky, dark storage will remain, but be updated with whiteboard paint to increase usefulness to students. Paper origami cranes made by the students will hang from the ceiling to introduce movement and rhythm into the space. And of course, we will incorporate triangle work tables to encourage student collaboration.

The students learned about the fields of architecture and interior design, debated design ideas and discussed budgetary limitations through the programming and conceptual design process.