for schools and kindergartens
It is vital for NF team to be the authors of their own lives and to design their future by themselves. On April 6, 2022 our team announced that the work has begun
on the MVP for schools.
What does MVP
for schools mean?
What do we mean
by "and kindergartens"?
What tasks do we want to solve
by the MVP for schools?
Why us (NF)?
In business, MVP is a product with just enough features to get started.
MVP for schools — is an architectural concept of a school which will be published on this website for free.
It is an architectural "tool set" which will allow to design a building according to goals and the context.
Also MVP — is a continuously conducted research, the results of which are going to be posted on this website.

At first we thought only about schools and wanted to make at some point
a separate MVP for kindergartens, but during the research it became clear that it is more wise to consider the building and its construction phases
as if it was a school and a kindergarten combined in one building.
— To emphasize the importance of educational architecture
and architecture for kids for the formation of a sustainable future
— To minimize the gap between current trends in education
and the existing social infrastructure
— To give the public and private sectors worldwide a tool to work
with educational projects
For 4 years our studio has been working almost exclusively with schools and kindergartens, and as partners we have more than 7 years
of experience in designing schools, as well as more than 18 years
of complex architectural design. We design meanings, not walls. And we design not from the position of "I see it that way", but from the position
of co-designing with the users.
Мы верим: образование
— это ключ к изменениям
How can you help
the project?
We believe that education is the key
to change
MVP for schools and kindergartens
Researching topics such as:
In-depth interviews
with stakeholders:
Architectural concept
— School tasks and concepts
— Educational technologies
— Children's and teachers' psychological needs
— User suggestions for improving schools
as buildings and institutions
— School life cycle both in general context (construction — operation — demolition
or reuse), and in the school year context
— The future and its unpredictability
— World experience and regulatory framework
— Urban context (school in the city)
— Rural school
— International Baccalaureate standard
— Economy / adaptability / fast building
and deployment
— Environmental responsibility
— Inclusiveness
— Context, scale, surroundings

We'll definitely find more insights☺️
headmasters, people in education, parents
and kids as a part of a survey
Architectural tasks
Management concepts/tasks/etc
+7 800 250-83-12
+374 93 696627
Below is a part of the research based on the in-depth interviews we conducted throughout 2022. They are grouped by topics and reflect all the diversity of school approaches and solutions. It is important
for us to share the interview data (with the permission of the interviewees), both the part that we use
as an architectural or technological solution, and the part related to management, team and finance.
We will make the conclusion in the form of the articles, and on its basis the concept of the MVP
will be formed. Concepts, ideas and statements that have already been published on the website
are now available for viewing and usage.
School concepts
Ildar Nafikov,
founder of the Heritage International School network and La Berezka Academy
The space reflects the culture of the organization and always adapts to its changes. Therefore, it is important to work not only separately with space, but also with culture.
Our task is to turn conditions into opportunities. For example, by opening access to the assembly hall, which is unused most of the time, with its resources, the school creates additional opportunities for creativity of students and teachers.
The school should also help students learn how to cope with difficulties and act effectively in situations of choice
and goal achievement.
A high rate of staff turnover within an educational organization creates a risk of losing values and blurring of meanings. The culture can be saved by unindifferent members of the teaching staff, who will take on the function of "keepers
of meanings".
The meanings and values of the organization should first of all be transmitted through its activities, and not only
be written on paper and walls.
Dmitry Sizarev,
head of the "Products" part of the Personal Potential Development Program
of "the Contribution to the Future" Charitable Foundation
The school has to be sold. The school building must have its own "complexity and beauty". Using the experience of hotels while designing schools is like using smells.
I see the need to add FabLabs, culinary classes and co-working spaces for children into school's educational model.
This task, in its turn, causes the need to educate the teaching staff to work with such educational models and spaces.
A modern way is to design several canteens with different nutrition concepts and logistically connect them to a common kitchen area. This allows to create a variety of nutritional choices for children, while effectively separate the flows,
with neither duplicating working spaces, nor increasing a number of staff.
It is important to design the school space taking into account the use of each square meter. This approach allows
to increase school's efficiency without increasing construction costs and further operation.
School's infrastructure technology is some kind of a symbiosis of an office, a hotel, a theatre, a museum, a medical clinic, a working space and a sports center. Uniting all those different concepts in one building makes the design process particularly interesting.
In modern schools, it is important to secure so-called friendly spaces, aimed at working with new clients, parents, guests and school's partners: entrance areas, like in a hotel, waiting areas, areas to meet with parents. I often recommend
my colleagues in education to adopt medical clinics' experience where the process of the patient's journey is very well adjusted. For example, such approaches can help smaller children to better navigate the building.
In order to create a sustainable school and continuously improve processes, including educational ones, it can
be worthwhile to use aviation practices and approaches. In aviation a thorough analysis of causes is carried out after each accident. And the new regulations to reduce the number of incidents in future are developed based on the results of this analysis. What does it mean for the school? It means the introduction of regulations that force designated persons to conduct a timely analysis of the situation, update the rules, refresh the knowledge of team members and teachers (pilots, for example, are retrained not to press two buttons if the regulations have been changed). This allows
to constantly improve the quality of the educational process and its results.
The use of the right finishing materials prevents the need in annual refurbishment. For example, finishing materials
that are used in airports and other public areas. This does not consistently affect the total construction cost, but requires more profound analysis of the details at the design stage.
There must be a place for the bags next to the canteen entrance, so that students don't go in with their backpacks.
It is important to teach students aesthetics and culture of eating.
While developing the school concept, it is important to focus on the fact that the school should work as a center
of attraction, where you always want to return to, because it is comfortable to communicate in, get to know each other, and spend time alone. Let's take Google office for a model – it's comfortable to stay there 24 hours a day. Such space
will help to create a love of learning.
Timetables should consider the opportunity for children to rest and communicate.
Starting with the 6th grade children should be allowed to have their own spaces, where they can do whatever they wish. Places, where adults don't give students any instructions. Surprisingly this kind of freedom created responsibility
and improves children's behavior.
We try to arrange an administration unit in one block, with comfortable atmosphere to work and communicate,
with meeting rooms and access for parents to meet school management.
Pay attention to ventilation, air conditioning and humidification, all of which influence the health and efficiency of learning. This is quiet an expensive part of the infrastructure, therefore more budget-friendly but efficient options should be found during the design stage. For example, absence of the possibility to adjust the temperature and humidity in each room
is better than total absence of the building's microclimate.
Logistics of approaching the school is of utmost importance: parking for the employees, parents, easy ways to drop
off the children.
Football field with artificial turf is a must. We try to hold all the significant events outside on this field: assemblies, graduation concerts, events for and with parents. The children are ready to use our football field day and night, regardless of weather conditions.
The terraces outside can be designed to be used also as the classrooms. It won't affect the construction budget, while teachers and students will enjoy their classes outdoors.
A separate family zone for children and parents will be helpful for the family spirit and will unite people around
the school.
The team of cooks and canteen staff play significant role in the communication with the students. It is important
to culturally involve them and organize trainings to teach them help children with their food choice and talk about
the importance of healthy eating. Proper nutrition is an essential element of child's well-being. Therefore, a right cook
is as important as any educational coordinator.
The building must instigate teachers to collaborate. It rarely works effectively at the moment, since the educational process and the logistics are not thought through. But it is teachers' mutual discussion that allows to raise a diversified child.
The necessity of creating a «smart» and safe space for children's activity. The first 2 months pay attention on to children's actions, they will tell you what space they need. What kids want? Move and run. It means that it's necessary to create space for movement. At the school of A.N. Tubelsky, for example, there is a complex right in the recreation —
it's the Sergey Reutsky's Sports complex. After the lesson the child shoots in the corridor like a spring. He sat for 40 minutes and then — just took off! That kind of behavior is common in those schools where lessons are poorly thought
out in terms of taking into account the needs of some children for movement. The question is how to build a corridor
so that the child can safely «fly» along it and the teacher would not be a «cerberus»?

Legalize window sills! Create a window sill where you can sit, where you can play and do tasks: wide, long with reinforced glass.

The walls should be alive: hang, draw, write on them!

Where can I go when I need to be alone? To the toilet, under the stairs — where? The problem should be solved
in architectural way.

Privacy as an option to be with a friend, to talk with him... There should be a place where you can be alone, creating «babashkas» on the floor, for example

The fear of height is good, so a pedagogical task of working with fear is an opportunity for educational work.
It is important to create a diverse and multifunctional space for active games in recreation with a soft ball, while
it is important that the lamps are well fixed.

The static markup is not good: children get used to it, so it is always necessary to create a variety of game scenarios.

What about petting zoo: children are not able to take care of it. You can do projects in each class - short-term or long-term.
Primary school space concept
At the lesson, you need to change the mise en scene: one child works at the blackboard, another one on the carpet,
the third on the windowsill. Individual work should be replaced by work in pairs, groups, the class can transform
into a theater. We pull the string and hang the curtain.

Necessarily two work surfaces: for marker and chalk. Furniture should be transformable and light, it's necessary to create an open area for working in a large circle.
Classroom space at the lesson. Transformation of the mise en scene of the class
Supervision for teachers is needed not as usual supervision, but as a form of feedback. There can be different forms
of education in primary school.

There may be one teacher, there may be subject teachers, but it's important that these forms of work do not lead
to disconnection between teachers. On the one hand, there may be a "school in the school" - each teacher
has his or her own school with his or her class or children «crawl from the trench to the trench» with different style
of subject teachers.
Shortage of teachers who are ready to change. Shortage of motivated teachers
What can be changed? Nothing needs to be changed, let the schools be different. The future of schools in their diversity. It's important to hear from parents who are constitutionally obliged to educate their children and provide basic general education.
Sergey Plahotnikov — teacher, psychologist, general director of the company «Babashki», project manager «Tatneft and childhood. Dialogue with the future».
The most effective way of designing social objects is designing together with the customers — the city represented
by the Directorate for Construction of the Department of Education, educational teams. It is important that the future operator of the building/premises could formulate in advance the features of their technology for a school
or kindergarten project.
It is important at the earliest stage of the project to think about such aspects as location, logistics, safe approach
and transportation of children, unloading of the food unit and garbage collection, so that the life support of the social facility organically fits into the life of the entire residential complex.
When implementing an educational object the question often arises: why is the cost of designing a school
or kindergarten more expensive than for housing or other objects? The fact is that children's institutions imply very high requirements for the educational environment and the principles that the operator lays down in his activities,
for engineering in terms of ventilation, security systems, lighting and acoustics, for finishing materials that must be as safe as possible, certified and wear-resistant. Sometimes while creating a high-quality space, it is necessary to involve
not only architects and technologists specializing in educational facilities, but also various experts from the academic environment to psychologists and nutrition specialists.
In the future, it would be desirable that, taking into account strict regulations when implementing the object of education, each institution still has its own individual features and becomes a unique and favorite space for children and families
to develop. In order to achieve this it is very important to develop cooperation between development and construction companies with education experts of various competencies.
Tatiana Paraeva. The head of Social Projects at MR Group development
The number of places in kindergartens and schools is determined on the basis of city statistics based on the availability of educational infrastructure facilities in a particular district. There are no restrictions, whether it will be a private or public operator, but at the moment there is a significant preponderance and maximum demand among residents of new residential complexes for places in state educational institutions.
Students do not have any place for relaxing and spending their free time during recess, so they hide in toilets, break barrels, ride on crossbars. To avoid such actions from children, it is important to organize space in recreation.
It is important to create for them a space for a quiet rest in order to recover, switch attention and a space for active recreation, relaxation.
It is necessary to design sensory rooms for a psychologist.
It is important to provide professional development of psychological education for teachers.
There is no individualization in education: there are no spaces for group and individual work in schools with traditional architecture.
Helena Pimenova GBOU SCHOOL №. 1476
One of the main problems of school with outdated architecture is the arrangement of furniture in classrooms: desks
are placed one after another, they are difficult to rearrange. In such conditions, even progressive teachers cannot hold the attention of students.
There is a need to create universal transformer classes, as well as specialized classrooms for subjects.
It is necessary to design open spaces for teachers where they can spend their free time and work. It is important
to create spaces for working in a small groups as well.
In school there are no office spaces for employees of new professions in education (smm specialist, nutrition specialists, etc.).
Changes are needed in the improvement of the street space. Firstly, landscaping can be used by children after school time. Secondly, to use it for residents of the district during extracurricular time. To do this, it is necessary to put more game objects and additional facilities for recreation. Also pay increased attention to safety: increase adults during a walk, strengthen street video surveillance, think about a separate entrance from residents and how to cut off the intersection
of streams: students and residents of the district.
Operating costs can be reduced by implementing energy-saving systems.
School of the future: the system will be built in such a way that the school will follow the interest of the children more, students will unite around topics interesting to themselves, and teacher will take the role of a consultant.
It is important to create spaces as for group as for individual work.
The psychological state of teacher can be balanced through architecture. Аrchitectural and interior concept — creating of coziness and feeling of care.
Lack of funding at school. Schools are forced to save on maintenance by building a beautiful picture.
Creating of individual places for consultation with teachers. Parent's money to send inside the school. (for example, tutoring)
Alexey Misyutin. Director of the «Algorithm» school
The problem of modern school: the shortage of motivated teachers, who are ready to work not in front-end format.
The big problem of school — lack of teacher's focus on individual program. This problem can be solved with creating
an individual places for work, for example, round small tables in recreation. It is important to create a more flexible space in terms of zoning. A constructor space in which a group can be divided, for example, into 3 groups of 8 people.
The lack of space for teachers, so there is no sense of involvement in the «big idea». This can be avoided
by implementing the following solutions:
— the creation of large common areas,
— the creation of a central square, as a coworking,
— the creation of a resource center of the department — we do not assign an office to the teacher, we assign
it to the department.

Allocation of places for eating food brought from home. It can be a small room for 2-3 tables.
Create a large space for psychologists to work. Use color solutions and objects that could have a positive effect
on depressive states. Find a solution to the bullying problem: mix children for different project tasks, it is necessary
to have an adult in places where children congregate, the presence of transparent walls, think over architectural solutions that promote the mixing of children.
It is important to pay attention to the fact that many children now have food restrictions.
The school should have spaces of different capacities:
— a group of up to 10 people,
— a group of 14 to 16 people,
— a group of 25 to 30 people (work of several teams),
— general tanh halls, assemblies (100 + people).

Use the corridor space as a "third audience". A corridor that transforms into an auditorium and is not a walk-through. Think about additional functionality for rooms that are used by 30%:
— assembly hall,
— dining room,
— corridors,
— library,
— gym during recess
Put project work with groups of different ages into the program, to think about architectural solutions so that students can mix.
Increasing labor productivity through digitalization of processes. It is important for elementary schools to create a space for demonstrating their work.
Modern trends in the development of children dictate that there is an urgent need for the mandatory presence
of the following specialists: neuropsychologist, speech therapist, psychologist, defectologist. Additional offices
are needed for these specialists.
— Updates on our website based on new interviews (this is going to be done on a continuous basis) — semi-annually
— Publication of articles with research conclusions and concept developments — first half of 2023
— Publication of the concept and feedback collection — second half of 2023
— Publication of the concept based on feedback — second half of 2023
— The MVP results will be used in the book — the first book about architecture of schools and kindergartens originally published in Russian — late 2023-early 2024
Future steps in working with the MVP