In the built universe of adolescence classrooms are a fundamental fixed star. Even more so, they are a second home. “Classroom, A Teenage View” allows visitors to look at, question, and reinvent what endures beyond the immediate experience of secondary education as memories of a transitional period from childhood to adulthood with a current twist: the pandemic and its many lockdowns have denied a new generation these memories.
In the “Entrepôt Lainé”, a former warehouse for colonial goods, now home to the Museum of Contemporary Art (CAPC) and the architecture center Arc en Rêve, visitors step into five classrooms under the stone arches of Bordeaux that are arranged with instantly recognizable school house furniture, its spatial organization and suspended ceiling lights. The rooms are organized by five main themes: production, body, assembly, transgression and profession. Each reveals plans and sections, photographs, drawings and videos of educational spaces, following the logic of classroom curation, where nothing is fixed and everything is in motion: on walls, tables and shelves.
The spatial setup matters. From chair circles for collective thinking to post-war wood-and-metal desk rows facing a blackboard, the exhibition invites visitors to be step back into this designed environment. Historical, modern school projects are displayed along the walls, supported by a short film that shows the experiences of teenagers who have learned with and through these buildings: classrooms that resist in different ways. They create a link to emblematic contemporary architecture across the globe, and in particular projects in Portugal, where a decompartmentalized architecture opens up to the landscape. The examples, conceived as places of limitations, lend themselves to contemplating the typology of the classroom, based on everyone’s personal experience, of teenagers past and present.
A collection of notes filled with the memories of visitors’ own classrooms are displayed in the fashion of classic school wall panels. Could these memories be a tool to push the boundaries of the classroom today?
Classroom. A Teenage View
Arc en Rêve Centre d’architecture, Bordeaux
curated by Joaquim Moreno