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Emilia Tomasetto: Spontaneous learning – Spaces for social interaction

Spontaneous Learning: spaces for social interaction is a master’s thesis included in the framework The Ideal School: limited resources on continuity and identity. The aim of the framework is to propose a prototype school that can respond to the needs of a limited resources area.

The country I have the chance to investigate is Nepal, where I spent one week living with locals, in the rural area of Makwanpur District, getting in touch with the features and the problematics of the school system, in order to propose a grounded design for an ideal school.

All the design comes from the observations I did during this dense experience and it is condensed in this reflection paper: my first interest was to under-stand why the school building is not anymore perceived as part of the community, since the Nepali culture is rooted to the communal social structure. This social behaviour, moreover, is clearly reflected on the architectural forms, characteristic of the country, so my focus was and it remained untill the end the social insight of the learning environment. During the research phase I underlined the main problematic of the school building assessment: it is detached from the community because it does not include spaces for a spontaneous way of learning. The aim of this Master Dissertation is to suggest a strategy that includes these spaces to improve the coherence between the school building and the architectural typology of the Nepali house and bring back the connection between the school and the society.

I believe that the education should be the beginning of the social improvement and its main apex. The best way, in my opinion, is to give to the community both a landmark, of which they can be proud, but also a space where they, especially children, can feel comfortable and that can be perceived as familiar, welcoming enough to be the fertile ground of new social dynamics. The following pages show the process from re-search by design to design by research.