TOP FIVE SCHOOL INTERIORS – With the summer vacations drawing to a close, this september schools, colleges and universities across the country are gearing up for the new academic year. So in spirit of the new term we have compiled our top five school interiors, ranging from nursery, high school and university.

1. Fuji Kindergarten, Tachikawa, Japan

This preschool in the western part of Tokyo is a one-storey building, shaped like a donut ring around a central courtyard. The interior open plan layout is playful and bright, with partitions and moveable furniture. Wood is a traditional material used in the construction of Japanese schools and here the architects wanted to continue this tradition. From the walls, flooring and furniture, the use of Paulownia wood adds a warmth of tradition without subtracting from the modern aesthetics. The design of the building has been created for the children to be able to interact, explore and develop skills in an exciting environment catered just for them. With stackable, permeable blocks creating room partitions, the feeling of being ‘closed’ into a room vanish, increasing the levels of acceptable social behaviour in the children. The design is particularly important for encouraging some of the basic life and social skills children learn at this ample age. Fuji Kindergarten is a beautiful example of how innovative architecture plays an important role in creating a stimulating educational environment.

2. Nursery School of Callosa, Callosa, Spain

This nursery school, with nature as its backdrop, is a mixture of creative and attractive spaces that works at a scale for the children. The interiors present a white washed look with a clever use of bright colours mixed in with the furniture, flooring and extended into the exterior play areas. The idea is taken from the feelings and experiences the children get when moving around the interior space, which is all connected. Taking them through various changes in levels and textures, from the interior to the exterior, children become mindful of these transitioning spaces and how to interact in each.

3. Four Dwellings Primary School, Birmingham, UK

We carry on the theme for round-shaped school structures with Four Dwellings Primary School in the UK. This innovative school required a building that would match the creative education process adopted by its staff. The design has been based around a child’s journey from the early years up to year 6. The ingenuity with which informal, break-out styled spaces have been created adds to a free-structured learning process. Mixing soft furnishings and an open plan library provides the children comfortable and attractive spaces for reading and learning, with each area connecting in some way with another space.

4. Telefonplan Vittra School, Stockholm, Sweden

Breaking down the formal education structure and creating a school that matches a new education ideal is seen in the design of the Swedish ‘free school’ system of Vittra. No walls, no classrooms and no restrictions on learning are the big things this interior boasts. To match the classless style of teaching, this Swedish school is organised into a range of ambiguous spaces. Tables and chairs are replaced by customised seating, standing and even lying down work spaces. This design throws the generic idea of classic furniture out the window, and we see out of the box thinking at its best. Organic shapes, varying levels and spaces and ingenious use of colour add to the canvas for learning, setting a blueprint for further free school designs.

5. Adebian School of Architecture, Queensland, Australia

Matching the warm local environment and the local typography, the design of the Adebian School of architecture in Australia is a building created by architects, for the architects of the future. The external structure echoes inwards with high ceilings, natural uncovered concrete facades and a heap of beautifully though out spaces. A central lane running along the building is the main ‘artery’ linking all the interior spaces together. Branching off the lane is a range of concrete scoops used for informal discussions and workshops, brightly lit communal spaces and recreational areas. Free to move around, connect and change, the furniture is reflective of the style of design adopted throughout, with playful and colourful flexible furniture pieces. We see functionality and aesthetic design working together to create great interior spaces, inspired by the exterior environment.