By law, in the United States, children are to spend eleven to twelve years of the most critical years in their lives in school. It is in a school that they learn not just basic literacy, but also the history of their people and their country, the relationship of their people and their country to the world beyond their home, how to make friends and to interact with others, how to make good choices, how to struggle and to succeed, how to have fun, to work, to laugh. Because our children live so much of their days inside a school, that building—its architecture, its furnishings, the social atmosphere, the academic rigor enforced within the classrooms—is of constant, utmost importance. Though most of us may not readily point out the school building as an example of architectural or design achievement, overlooking that quotidian type of construction, many of the world’s most widely recognized architects have undertaken such ordinary yet vital projects in the course of their careers, while many others have given much thought to the design and planning of the place where our children spend most of their time outside of home. Some of the features that make a structure undeniably and recognizably a “school” are ubiquitous, while others vary according to the peculiarities of climate, topography, regional stylistic conventions, and the vagaries of fashion. The form of a school building is determined to an even greater degree by the ideas about childhood, teaching, and learning favored by its builders, reflecting social behavior, ethnic and national identity, and the overall set of values guiding those in charge of the planning of an educational facility. Once built, the school continues to evolve and change in form and function, according to the evolving class sizes, grade level distribution, gender of students, and methodologies of teaching. Likewise, the furniture inside a school is paramount in expressing the guiding set of ideas of those who designed and purchased it, and acts as one of the most intimate, permeating aspects of the learning experience for students. Furniture shapes the students’ attitudes towards learning, expresses the instructors’ attitudes towards teaching, formalizes the student-teacher and student-student relationship, and establishes the relationship between mind and body through the established seating (or standing) posture. Thus, desks with attached seats render the students static and “tied” to the tabletop, while desks with detached chairs allow the students to adjust their own distance to the table, and facilitate group work with other students. Because young children’s bodies are rapidly growing, and because children spend many hours a day for the majority of their developmental period in a chair before a desk, learning, ergonomics should be of utmost importance, both to ensure effective studying and to enable healthy bodies. Due to the high costs associated with product development and production, however, and the sheer failure to determine what the needs of the young are, truly ergonomic school furniture is still largely unavailable.









Saarinen, ...





Cooper Rober





Rodriguez FAIA, ...

Corbusier (Jeanneret-Gris)







Gropius, ...