Design Trust Seed Grant

Learning at Play

People’s Architecture Office and More than Architect

Shenzhen is known the world over for its impressive economic growth and a booming population, yet it is difficult for the government to keep up and provide sufficient quality public education as it struggles to meet demand. At the same time the sector is also facing a shortage of innovative teachers, slow moving curriculum upgrades and an uneven distribution of resources. This project aims to address these issues by investigating and leveraging space as a third teaching dimension.

‘Learning at Play’ seeks to examine the influence that design and architecture can have on learning outcomes, by means of researching, developing, testing and analysing innovative learning tools. Through a series of experimental workshops taking place within schools, festivals and museum contexts and focusing on early learners, the project will develop new spatial designs and learning tools that catalyse design thinking, impacting both learners and the wider field of design and education.

About People’s Architecture Office and More than Architect

The Learning at Play project team is comprised of the organisations More than Architect and People’s Architecture Office (PAO). Together they join forces to maximize their areas of expertise within architecture, design and education.

PAO is an international practice with offices based in Beijing and Boston. Founded in 2010 by James Shen, HE Zhe, and ZANG Feng, the firm is a multi-disciplinary studio focused on social impact through design particularly within housing, urban regeneration and innovative learning environments. Learning at Play is conducted by People’s Works, PAO’s arm for self-initiated research and social design innovation.

More than Architect is an architectural public education platform for children aged 4-12, and is part of the Shenzhen Architectural Design and Research Institute. It was set up in 2012 by Feng Guochuan, a teacher and children's education promoter, helping families appreciate architecture through courses, workshops, children's books, and teaching aids.