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Scholarship of Design
Schools that Breathe:
Studio Education in the Pandemic
Sara Jensen Carr, Ana McIntosh, Michael Murphy, John Ochsendorf
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The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically exposed the vulnerabilities of the American public school system. The architecture of educational buildings themselves became the flashpoint in discussions about equity, support for teachers, and student health. In a recent graduate architecture studio at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, students considered the proposition of the pandemic-resilient school by proposing retrofits to increase fresh air ventilation to existing school buildings and add outdoor classrooms. This seemingly straightforward exercise was a gateway to much larger issues, such as the intersections between air ventilation and educational inequality, as the studio responded to unfolding evidence and a global emergency in real time.

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