This volume explores the architecture of places of education, with particular attention to the most disadvantaged areas and communities. Building schools for disadvantaged communities, in countries with widespread poverty, or where there have been natural disasters or armed conflict, is a complex job that requires knowing how to balance listening skills, respect for local cultures and traditions, meeting needs and sticking to contingent limitations, with the desire to introduce innovation and techniques and technologies borrowed from Western countries. Are architects able to build schools in these conditions for less than $50 per square meter? Would the result be sustainable both culturally and environmentally? And would the project be enjoyable, stimulating and constructed ethically? To build schools, universities and centres of learning means to have hope and to be optimistic. It means to believe in the ability of human beings to collectively improve their living conditions. School is not just place where culture is transmitted; it is a place where new possible worlds are outlined; worlds that are waiting to be discovered by different eyes. Architecture can promote exclusion and a sense of isolation, aggression and radical attitudes, or encourage aggregation, the joy of being together and the ability to grasp the beauty of diversity. It can reveal new hopes, defend tolerance and stimulate imagination and creativity. Today the crisis and the current conflicts are undermining our ability to make our lives better, and to provide for the betterment of the community and its collective growth. We are losing our ability to dream and hope. Today, more than ever, it is time to rebuild the future: let's start with our schools.
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