School of Architecture students Cierra Johnson and Bree Shoemaker took first place and honorable mention, respectively, in OUTSCHOOLED, a design competition for creating innovative outdoor learning spaces through Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. The designs were inspired by a trip to Bernheim Forest with their ARC 551 studio, taught by Haviland Argo, early in the spring 2021 semester.
OUTSCHOOLED was launched in September 2020, and reflects Bernheim Forest’s interest in creating equitable and safe learning environments that offer students space and fresh air to be healthy at school. Johnson’s design, “Cirque du Yurt,” is a modified version of the traditional Mongolian yurt that can be transformed into a custom outdoor learning space. Shoemaker’s shade sail structure, “Birds of a Feather,” is a low-cost, low-maintenance design that allows students and teachers to interact in a COVID-safe environment.
Claude Stephens, Bernheim Facilitator of Outreach and Regenerative Design, said the current atmosphere has offered a good opportunity to introduce the value of outdoor learning as a lasting attribute of school. “Dealing with Covid has opened a few new creative doors and inspired people to value being outdoors,” Stephens said. “Reviewing the competition entries revealed how resilient and passionately creative people can be. Bernheim believes in the importance of outdoor learning – now and in the future.”