Our society often regards education as a childhood endeavor, but my thesis expands this idea to education as community interaction. A community must come together to make education successful, and in return the community itself will learn and grow.
My project site, Braddock, Pennsylvania, has struggled economically since the decline of the steel industry. However, the neighborhood has maintained and grown its social capital, fighting for its own survival and rebuilding as a modern urban neighborhood, detached from its industrial past. By engaging this community, I intend to expand many of their existing strategies that focus on the arts and youth. My architectural intervention’s focus on arts education to create a community interaction which will serve as the connecting link between these established initiatives.
To guide my educational architecture, I latched onto an existing pedagogy called Reggio Emilia. The Reggio Emilia approach embraces the idea of education not only for the child, but also for the teacher, parent, and the community in whole. Learning through Reggio Emilia recognizes the impact of the surroundings on the educational process. Lessons are drawn from the local neighborhood and the architectural spaces in which education occurs are closely considered and designed, as engaging, adaptable classrooms.
My thesis is inspired both from the richness of a rebuilding community and community learning as proposed by the Reggio Emilia.