This school has two faces: an urban one, with an urban facade that is simple (facing the city and the Temple of Divine Providence), and another youthful, semi-private one, in which all the varied lives of students and teachers will take place, as if from the Dead Poets Society. These were two worlds separated by a simple, uncluttered façade of the monumental 10-metre high kind.

Behind the walls of the university, a huge tribune catches the eye

It is the universal element, a meeting place to inspire students and teachers for unusual activities in P.E., geography, biology or literature. Through this scaled-down piece of furniture, we wanted young people to get outside, but away from the hustle and bustle of the city. We wanted to design a place where young people could meet up with friends between classes. Already during our presentation to the investor, in order to exaggerate this atmosphere a little, we showed an excerpt from the film ‘Grease’, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, in which this American grandstand is more than just a place to watch athletic competitions or American football games – it is also a place for meetings, crushes, but also for discussions with teachers, etc. We wanted to give the school something that would make it a place where young people could meet their friends between classes. We wanted to give this school something to distinguish it beyond its attractive halls and interesting functional programme.

Canteen closer to trendy restaurant

This is our way of conceiving of the modern day centre. The main difference is that this place is not only open at lunchtime, but operates continuously changing its functions, from a canteen, to a cafeteria with a reading room and a living arteteca. It’s a place where you can work with literature, meet with a psychologist, wait for parents and, at the same time, sit at a laptop and do homework while preparing a paper. We wanted students there to learn the culinary arts from the kitchen in small groups, explore flavours and take inspiring culinary journeys – geography and gastronomy in one. That is why we have decided to extend this programme to include the roof space, where the garden will be located. I think there could be activities there not only related to biology, but also physics, astronomy, geography, etc. All of this will probably result in students wanting to get on that roof. Beehives could be staged there during the summer season, basil, rosemary, thyme could be grown there, used later in the school canteen. There is increasing talk in urban planning of using roof spaces to introduce – again – greenery into the city.

It will be a school without typical desks

Everyone there works in an oval table system, the teachers do not have a staff room, remaining constantly part of a certain compact educational ecosystem. This was the basis for the overall idea of creating a lifestyle atmosphere, encouraging people to stay in the school after school hours. Already the entrance area has been shaped to resemble a grotto, which is a place for young people to feel completely at ease, there are group meeting places, but also more intimate alleys where they can lie down and stretch their legs without restraint.

Visit the project page: High school in Warsaw