This article explores the little understood practice of school interior design and the manner in which school interiors give form to ideas about what the work of children and teachers could and should look like. Its focus is a perceived link between the concepts of school work made material in the design of new twenty‐first century learning environments and those expressed in the design of Modernist progressive schools such as Richard Neutra’s Corona Ave, Elementary School, California. The article’s impetus comes from current interest in the inter‐relationship between the design of physical learning environments and pedagogy reform as governments in Australia and internationally, work to transform teaching and learning practices through innovative school building and refurbishment projects. Government campaigns, for example the UK’s Schools for the Future Program and Australia’s Victorian Schools Plan, use a promotional rhetoric that calls for the final dismantling of the cellular classroom with its industrial model of work so that ‘different pedagogical approaches and the different ways that children learn [can] be represented in the design of new learning environments’, in buildings and interiors designed to support contemporary constructivist‐inspired pedagogies.
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