Education is a booming sector, thanks to a growing global population with a thirst for knowledge. But how can today’s schools and universities prepare for a world that doesn’t yet exist? In the latest issue of The Possible, the thought leadership magazine my company Wordmule produces for WSP, I compiled this 14-page infographic feature on the many challenges that the Fourth Industrial Revolution presents to educators around the world. What should next-generation learning spaces look like, how can we pay for a transformation on this scale, and how do you teach a digital native anything when they can just Google it?
The Possible is about the future of buildings and cities and the ideas and innovations that can help them function better. In this issue we explore the limits on city density, the future of education, next-generation construction materials and whether we’ll ever be able to design a totally recyclable building. Chicago architect Gordon Gill, designer of the 1km-tall Kingdom Tower, talks about his responsibilities and regrets, and psychologist Naomi Shragai investigates what’s really happening when project teams collaborate. In our Connected Thinking section, contributors contemplate how drones will shape development in Africa, the seismic threat to Asia’s megacities, hospital design in a post-antibiotic world, how architects can ensure the wellbeing of site workers thousands of miles away, and why engineers should read more philosophy. It was designed by Supermassive and the cover illustration is by Noma Bar.
There’s been something of a boom in concrete educational buildings lately, and really good ones at that – to the extent that one industry awards featured an entire category devoted to them. Concrete learning spaces was also the theme of the Autumn issue of Concrete Quarterly magazine (which I edit for UBM and The Concrete Centre). It of course includes Mecanoo’s very modern “people’s palace” of a library in Birmingham, alongside the classical concrete colonnades of 500-year-old St Paul’s School in west London. And don’t miss this issue’s archive slot, which features Trinity College Dublin’s library, completed in 1967, where exposed concrete was used not only for the outer and inner walls but all of the desks, screens and table supports too…
English universities have a problem – they haven’t got any money, and will have even less in future, but they must modernise their crumbling campuses to attract research funding and high-paying foreign students. So how on earth are they going to do it? In this article for Building magazine, I found that with space utilisation rates of just 35%, their greatest challenge may be coaxing academics out of their studies and into open-plan offices. Meanwhile, more enterprising universities are taking advantage of the 2012 Olympics to find other sources of funding.