Creative Discipline in Education and Architecture: Story of a School

  • Thomas Bellfield
  • Catherine BurkeEmail author
  • Dominic Cullinan
  • Emma Dyer
  • Karolina Szynalska
Part of the Educational Governance Research book series (EGTU, volume 9)


The relationship between school buildings and their pedagogies is complex. There is a consensus that the built environment through its structure and organisation can impact education, but it is often unclear or unknown how this happens in individual cases. Here we examine one design process, which led to the construction of a secondary school in England. Driven by an ethos of collaboration, it resulted in a structure that aimed to favour the students, and not the institution’s need for controlling them, and it supports collaborative project-based learning.

We discuss in detail the design epistemology (‘creative discipline’) of the architectural practice that facilitated this process, and the employed method (‘spin painting’ diagrams). We argue that this unique procedure was a catalyst for stimulating collective decision-making, and the visual method employed was a tool for translating the pedagogical model into a tangible structure. It was invented specifically to facilitate generating a shared vision as a necessary condition of compatibility between the school’s educational approach and the building’s affordances for learning.


Collaboration Creative discipline Design methodology Participatory design School’s spatial organisation Superclasses Superstudios Spin painting methodology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Bellfield
    • 1
  • Catherine Burke
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dominic Cullinan
    • 2
  • Emma Dyer
    • 1
  • Karolina Szynalska
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Studio Cullinan and Buck Architects Limited (SCABAL)LondonUK

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