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School design that takes all areas of life into consideration

Building a school for tomorrow

Marker Hämeenlinna, Finland
When experts from different backgrounds come together and make a detailed plan, you will create a school that brings all key services for children and youth under the same roof. Once you address the needs of different user groups in all areas from planning to purchasing furniture, your school can work as a service center for the whole area.

What is it all about?

“The life cycle operation model of Nummikeskus makes it a community centre for all inhabitants of the area and promotes active life for people of all ages.”

Markku Rimpelä, the City of Hämeenlinna

School is not separate from the surrounding society, they both react and intertwine with each other. The life cycle model sees the education of children and youth as a continuous journey from baby to adult. Education is at its best when the same adults work with the child throughout their childhood. The lifespan model is therefore a great way to plan a building: all the key services needed during childhood and adolescence are brought under the same roof.

The lifespan model brings together different parties to plan the building. This allows the needs of different groups to be met comprehensively all the way from the drawing board to the finishing touches, such as the purchasing of furniture.

For example, participation from school personnel allows you to take pedagogical practices into consideration from the early stages of planning. Close communication can be established between the designers, builders and end-users, once everyone is aware of the great number of people involved in decision-making.

The lifespan service model also emphasises durability in material choices and other purchases. Therefore, the choices made will be sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Another special feature of this innovation is the competitive dialogue model, which means that the competitive bidding is a dialogue between the potential service providers and the client. The basis for bidding is the operational plan made by end-users that describes the building’s purpose in detail.

Open dialogue is encouraged throughout the bidding process, so that both the client and the possible service providers can build trust and learn more about the purpose of the building.

The City of Hämeenlinna has embraced the life cycle model into its child welfare and youth services since 2009. Examples of this include putting kindergartens and schools in the same building, inviting youth workers into schools, and building maternity and child health care services in conjunction with kindergartens.

The following steps describe the five different phases of lifespan oriented planning: the preliminary stage; creating a shared vision and strategy; the implementation; the initiation and feedback; and, finally, operating the building. These steps form a modern, functional and dialogue-based model for building a school.

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Intended Outcomes
Target Group
Resources Needed
Requires significant economical resources, commitment from a lot of people, and plenty of time.
HundrED Criteria
The core of this innovation is thinking about the entire lifespan and development of a person from infant to adult.
This model helps you plan a school with better services and for longer use, while taking into consideration different phases and parts of a child’s life.
This model can be easily be adapted to fit all kinds of services in any area, however the process requires significant resources.

See this innovation in action.


Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

Preliminary phase
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Creating a shared vision and strategy
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Training and feedback
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Building operations and initiation
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