With all the new technology in today's world, we are hard pressed to find a "sense of wonder and awe" unless it is plugged into a wall. As Jonathan Chapman describes in his book, Emotionally Durable Design; "Modern products seriously lack ... character and allure; they are too smart and precise, removing all possible surprise, mystery and, perhaps above all, charm from the process of engaging with them" (p. 49). Children spend as much, if not more time at school than at home. The classroom plays a critical role in a child's emotional development, yet the objects in the classroom and how they impact learning has not been widely researched. Teachers use many of the same objects originally designed in the 1800's while trying to make changes by using new classroom techniques, which is like using your iPad while driving your horse and buggy. This thesis explores how design can uncover and inspire a balance between the demand for control and need for nature in the classroom to allow freedom in learning, growth and change; termed "Classroom Habitat." It challenges and argues that schools need to stop trying to adapt new pedagogical approaches to traditional classroom design and look beyond the possible into the unknown to find new solutions. It investigates solutions to providing the "feeling of nature" in the classroom environment. "When students are in harmony with nature, they feel comfortable with themselves. When they feel welcomed by a classroom's ambiance, they enter eager to learn" (Renee, 2004, p. 5).
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Classrooms--Design; Nature (Aesthetics)
Department, Program, or Center
School of Design (CIAS)
Turner, Sandra, "Classroom habitat: Natural system of movement" (2012). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus