Space as a Teacher: Social Spaces for Learning

Giancarlo Mazzanti | PLANE—SITE

Bogotá-based architect Giancarlo Mazzanti creates scenarios for play in daily life. In this video interview from PLANE—SITE, Mazzanti elaborates on his experimental approach to design research and guides us through several of his ‘spaces for learning’, including the Baby Gym in Barranquilla, 21 Atlantico Kindergartens in Atlantico and El Porvenir Kindergarten in Bogotá. Many of these projects are situated in low-income neighborhoods and act as catalysts for social change, bringing joy and pride to marginalized communities.

Mazzanti is deeply curious about how a building’s shape informs behavior and pedagogy. His firm, El Equipo de Mazzanti, is behind numerous schools and educational centers, designed to encourage playful and exploratory movement and social relations. The passage of a student from one end of the space to another is disrupted with elements such as trampolines, plants or climbing areas. As Mazzanti says in the video: “Play has a very important role in society.” How can a space simultaneously cultivate joy and, by facilitating unexpected behaviors and relations, act as another teacher?

In the video, we see how the object interaction and modular design is integral to Mazzanti’s innovative process. Yet, beyond the form of the building, its peculiar and modular spatial geometry connects it to the community around it, in an endless collaboration.