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Extra resources for El Croquis, Issue 158: John Pawson, 2006-2011, the Voice of Matter
Multi-age groups bring valuable social integration challenges. Moreover, instead of just competing, everyone has something different to give. Different experience, attitudes and values foster multiple strengths. Children learn best from children, but increasing use of child-care centres and after-school clubs mean they’re at home less. This reduces sibling interaction, increasing the importance of informal multi-age meetings. What age-ranges are compatible? Can infants mix with teenagers? As small children automatically look up to them, teenagers don’t need to force their domination to be ‘boss’.
Walking around shows up many. ) How can activity be brought to dead places? Light and mood-levity to gloomy bits? Attractiveness to the unloved? Social relationships and place 45 Additionally, where – and when – do fights and bullying occur? Are there common features, such as colliding-into-each-other spaces or out-of-sight back-lands? It’s important, however, that improvements aren’t just localized to problem areas, or undesirable activities are merely displaced. But what about new designs, with no actual places to observe?
Must they violently demand ‘respect’? For infants, the more magical their environment, the more fully can they live in their in-between world. The longer they do so, the better can they learn to manage the unfamiliar material world. The more secure they feel, the more confidently do they grow towards independence. Security progresses from parental (or similar trusted adult) proximity to having a secure physical base – trustworthy, durable and anchored. For small children, this implies heavyweight, solid buildings; and within them, private 18 Environment and children sanctuaries such as window-seats, hideaways, niches and platforms.