This week's inspiration focuses on a couple of projects which remind us of one of our core values: empathy.
The new Sandy Hook Elementary, designed by Svigals + Partners and completed in 2016, creates a warm, natural environment for students and teachers. The firm, known for its experience in education, establishes a "School Based Building Advisory Committee" for each of its projects. This committee brings interested parties in the community into the design process to ensure the design truly responds to their vision and needs. This tool was particularly helpful in addressing this project with sensitivity to the trauma experienced by this community. This project was built from a $50 million grant from the state of Connecticut, and the design balances increased security with a familiar, open, and comfortable design approach. "Treehouse" breakout spaces dot the corridors, footbridges cross a rain garden at the school entrance, and the front facade curves in to "embrace" the students with warmth and good cheer.
Photo Source: https://www.architectmagazine.com/design/sandy-hook-rebuilds_o
The second part of our inspiration this week is not a building, but a technology which seeks to enhance the empathy of its users: this article presents a VR tool being developed by HGA Architects and Engineers. The firm has developed VR headset filters and accessories which increase the user's understanding of how an elderly, vision-impaired, or young person would experience the spaces they are designing.