A group of Portuguese architects reimagine rooftops as schools, provoking the question, if public education existed literally above everything else, could it be valued above everything else as well?
What if yellow schools dotted the NYC skyline?
Could putting schools atop of skyscrapers, literally increasing schools’ visibility and putting ‘public education above everything else,’ help fix the American school system?
A group of Portuguese architects, Ana Luisa Soares, Filipe Magalhães, and André Vergueiro asked these questions when they created the ‘Schools In The Sky’ concept for the recent ‘Rooftops, Why Not? contest. The contest challenged architects to reimagine new purposes for rooftops, ‘spaces on the way of desertification,’ and the team decided to channel their focus on New York City and the public education system:
Known as USA’s ‘educational capital’, it seemed pertinent the provocation: ‘what if suddenly the education would become the highest (and most visible) value of a society? What if one day all the skyscrapers would have a school on the top?’
Assuming the will to fix, or at least to discuss, a biased system, it is proposed to offer public schools in places that are usually closed to society. Using the yellow color from the school buses and New Yorker cabs, and choosing very simple and abstract volumes pierced occasionally by simple geometries, the boxes would seem like a game for children.
Visually and politically, the school would be the highest value.
Looking at the architects’ reimagined map of New York City, it’s impossible not to notice that yellow schools could be placed everywhere around the city- just like in real maps, the only one significant area that isn’t covered by skyscrapers is Central Park.
New York City was just a case study for the contest, ‘Schools In The Sky’ was purely conceptual, and turning the concept into reality would face numerous types of challenges– but it does beg the important question:
If in every city across America, the first thing children, parents, teachers, politicians, businessmen, investors, and tourists saw were schools, would the perceived importance of education in America change along with the change in visibility?