European University of Lefke (EUL) Head of Interior Architecture Department Asst. Prof. Dr. M. Selen Abbasoğlu Ermiyagil, “Architectural Implications from the Pandemic; She made a statement on the subject of “Forward-Looking Design Suggestions in Primary Education Buildings”.
“Educational structures have a great importance in the development of human beings from the past to the present. It is known that educational structures, environmental factors and educational environment directly or indirectly affect the individual throughout his/her life. Ermiyagil said that it is a necessity to design educational buildings in a way that creates healthier and higher quality environments for students at the same time.
Ermiyagil stated that with the current pandemic, they are faced with a new process for which there is no preparedness, and from this point of view, it is important to examine and design the primary school buildings as the places where education first starts. Ermiyagil said, “The behavior patterns and needs of the children in this age group who will use the existing space should be researched and observed, and care should be taken to ensure that age groups, both educators and pedagogues, are not psychologically affected by the designs to be made in the process.” She drew attention to the necessity of designing spaces in line with the concept of social distance, which entered our lives as an important concept in our new way of life that emerged due to this process. Ermiyagil said, “Even though the primary school buildings, which were designed according to our old design approaches, meet the physical, visual and social needs in the old normal, they are insufficient in our new normal. At this point, new design proposals should be developed considering the social distance, user needs and the relationship with the psychology of the users in the arrangement of the spaces.
Depending on our new normal, space designs where contact is minimized come to the fore.
Ermiyagil continued her words as follows; “It is important to reorganize free and comfortable spaces and green spaces in primary school structures by considering the physical structure of students, especially the mobility of primary and kindergarten children in the space, to every point and their contact with each other. In the process of creating the designs and/or reorganizing the existing spaces, it should be designed by considering the user (educator-student-employee) needs and ergonomics, taking into account the criteria. In this process, there are different architectural offices and designers in the world and in Turkey that focus on educational buildings and conduct research, pilot projects and proposals are developed. In this context, space designs, in which contact is minimized, come to the fore, depending on our new normal. In the suggestions and designs developed, continuous ventilation and air circulation of the indoor spaces of the primary school buildings, the movement of the children in the space, the contact with the doors are considered. Doors are not used unless it is necessary to reduce contact, and touch technology, for example automatic doors, should be preferred when necessary. Different self-cleaning systems are preferred in toilets and sinks, and it is important to consider these spaces as easily ventilated in terms of hygiene and being the places where bacteria spread the most. Particular attention should be paid to the fact that the doors of the classrooms are automatic, door handles are not touched and ventilated, and the interior space is designed to ensure social distance between the furniture. It should be given importance in terms of hygiene to choose the furniture covering materials to be used in the educational institution from antibacterial fabrics.
Children’s spending time in natural places will have a positive effect on children.
“Apart from the changes in the classrooms with the new normal, it is considered healthier and recommended that some of the lessons be held in open areas by creating suitable environments. In this context, it is thought that certain areas of the school gardens can be designed as open-air classrooms,” said Ermiyagil, and continued with the following statements; “Especially in countries where the Mediterranean climate prevails, such as Cyprus, education can be given for a long time in these places. At the same time, it is known that children studying in primary schools need play and physical activity areas in terms of their social and emotional development. Designing the outer gardens of primary education buildings as green areas and supporting them with trees, spending time in natural places will have a positive effect on children. From this point of view, it is thought that by arranging school gardens in this way, creating natural spaces, maintaining social distance with officials, children will spend time in primary school buildings in a healthy way between classes and overcome this pandemic process.