(Thesis in process) Up to date, the design of institutions for early-childhood education have been defined by their formal, spatial rigidity. This rigidity, a result of outdated educational pedagogy, modernist philosophy of “form follows function”, budgetary limits, and predetermined schedules of floor areas to occupancy limits in an effort to produce the “ideal kindergarten”, has in of itself produced anti-environments devoid of curiosity, imagination, and play. As we find ourselves submerged in an ever-evolving pandemic, the need for a spatial response both in the immediate and long-terms to rethink how we inhabit spaces is required to dampen the proliferation of the disease and afford responses to unknown contingencies of the future. Is it possible that in facilitating an inquiry for a new archetype of the kindergarten to adhere to pragmatic concerns of the post-Covid19 world, we’re simultaneously granted the chance to foster environments conducive with modern educational pedagogy?
The length of this paper posits that with the arrival of new modes of education, the public health crisis of 2020, and the evolution of the disjunctive nature of modern society and culture, there now requires a deployment of a new architecture of the kindergarten that aligns with the objectives, necessities, and unstable qualities of the above. Unlike the manifestation of the conventional typology to date, things are no longer so clear-cut. Brian Jilk asserts that architectures need to align with children’s inherent need for learning through discovery and the act of deconstructing and reconstructing their worlds (Jilk), and thus point us to the disjunctive in architecture. In bridging these studies with Bernard Tschumi’s collection of essays in Architecture and Disjunction, the aim is to elaborate on the implications of disjunctive architecture in its relation with the “constructive” mindset of new-age educational models and the physical necessities for the post-covid world through designing for unknown contingencies. Ultimately, this seeks to become an exploration of Tschumi's thesis that “there is no longer a causal relationship between buildings and their content, their use, and their very improbable meaning...here we see disorder, collisions, and unpredictabilities entering the field of architecture” (16), where the idea of the follie, as introduced from Parc de la Villette, becomes an initial basis for speculation of a new kindergarten archetype in its relevance to the “classroom”.The second portion of the thesis involves a design investigation that builds upon the initial speculations posed within the paper. The aim is to produce a new archetype that explores the applicability of the follie as a mechanism to renegotiate the kindergarten’s current framework as well as its ability to mediate between a pedagogical tool for new educational models and a physical apparatus for addressing current pandemic concerns/future contingencies. Multiple sites will be addressed to probe the concept in its ability to be hyper-contextualized.
Independent Graduate Thesis, Fall 2020 Faculty Advisor: Annicia Streete