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"School is a space with four walls - future inside"

“School is a building which has four walls with Tomorrow inside”

– Lon Waters

In this English saying, that a school has four walls, inside lies the future. In my opinion, that is a big paradox at the moment, because i.e. future research, also aims to show guidelines for our future. So there is a future outside the classroom as well.


We are very proud of the innovations we created when designing neew premises for the Helsinki Upper Secondary School of Languages. We knew that the challenge was at a relatively high level, after all, the design had to enable the convertibility of the spaces, as well as different ways of working , with the help of lighting solutions and an optimized soundscape, diverse and individual learning paths


In a good learning environment, every learner learns and grows in their own way and in an unhurried atmosphere 

  • The needs of language teaching are taken into account in the design solutions, especially in the number of spaces for acoustics and intensive work.

  • The city of Helsinki has separate guidelines related to accessibility and accessibility from the perspective of the disabled,

  • The building must enable a peaceful learning situation for all 900 students at the same time and the loose furniture presented must correspond to the number of users for whom the space is designed. The presentation of loose furniture must take into account the actual space required by the place of study or work. 

  • The learning environment must have a core that supports community and its identity, culture square , from which there are natural connections to all functional areas of the entity. 

  • Common spaces offer opportunities for doing things together, moving and exploring as well as for independent, quiet study, eg. wall recesses. 

  • Connections between functional areas should be smooth and if necessary blocks should be lockable into separate action areas 

  • Blocks pass through is minimized. The handling of spaces is based on the parallelism of functions, not on mixing, so that there are enough spaces and spaces that support individual learning needs. 

  • Reservations are made for all shared learning spaces for sound jets, which enable several groups to work simultaneously with the help of sound jets. Sound showers can also be used to support pedagogical solutions in community spaces and reservations will be implemented in the building as comprehensively as possible. 

  • Depending on the design solution, some yard functions can be implemented to the ceiling so that they are only used by the users of the building.

  • Accessibility is not only physical accessibility but also includes facilities social safety and accessibility.

We thought a lot about e.g. how we solved the challenges related to the operating culture of Kielilukio. Below is a small part of our presentation of solution models for the theme, how the building will best serve teachers and students.

Understanding the potential of this, like any other school building, requires quality teacher training. We are proud of what we have achieved when planning the Helsinki language high school but we would also like to help teachers and students understand how great a building they can study and work in and how to use all the possibilities of the building in the best possible way (supporting learning and teaching) .

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