THE IMPACT OF PHILOSOPHICAL AND EDUCATIONAL THEORIES ON SCHOOL ARCHITECTURE (THE BRITISH AND AMERICAN EXPERIENCE 1820-1970)

MOHAMED AGELI HAMMAD, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

The scope of this study is a historical and critical investigation of the impact of philosophical and educational theories on school architecture in Britain and the United States in the last 150 years. Implicit in this investigation is the assumption that the evolution of school architecture is a concrete reflection of changing education theories and practices. Four schemes of schools are abstracted and identified as the outgrowth of distinct educational innovations stemming originally from the "Enlightenment" of the eighteenth century. Comenius' ideas advocating separate learning spaces for each age-group and learning abilities were reflected for the first time in the central-hall schools build around the end of the nineteenth century. Comenius' concept of learning by doing and Rousseau's total education reinforced by Pestalozzi's methods of learning by experience and Dewey's concept of active education resulted in the elimination of the central-hall scheme and the emergence of the "Pavilion" type. Developments in the fields of pedagogy and child psychology after World War II, reinforced the beliefs of Rousseau, and Pestalozzi as further developed by Montessori and Piaget, that children develop in successive cognitive and evolutive stages and that each stage should have its appropriate learning space. The outcome of this educational approach was the introduction in the early 1950s of the "Functional-Unit" school. As early as the 1920s, the theories and methods of Montessori were more than anything else responsible for the gradual erosion of the belief in the efficacy of the class as the sole teaching unit was reinforced and coincided with the newly introduced team teaching practice in the non-graded schools in the mid-1960s to produce the first open-plan schools. It is concluded in the study that the evolution and developement of the school building was the logical architectural response to changing educational theories, and that other forces such as cost-generated construction techniques, health and environmental aspects were merely tools to reach the goals already established by educators and in themselves had little or no impact on the layout and organization of the learning spaces.

Subject Area

Architecture

Recommended Citation

HAMMAD, MOHAMED AGELI, "THE IMPACT OF PHILOSOPHICAL AND EDUCATIONAL THEORIES ON SCHOOL ARCHITECTURE (THE BRITISH AND AMERICAN EXPERIENCE 1820-1970)" (1984). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI8505077.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI8505077

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