Design Project 2 | Interviews

Journal Entry For
Project 2 - Interviews

Class Survey & Individual Interviews

Class Survey results (see key insights at bottom of this page):


Theo’s initial question ideas:

  1. What are some common friction points that come to mind when you think about the school designs you’ve worked in?
  2. If you could change two things in school designs across the board, what would they be?
  3. What would be the most valuable sustainability change a designer could make to a school that would benefit both students and staff (climate control, shared garden spaces, use of solar and integrating the tech into classroom material)?

Interview 1 (Theo's conversation with her sister, who is a school administrator):

Friction points for school designs:

  1. Communal/collaboration spaces need to be in a central location and be ideal for small groups and large groupsf
  2. Transition flow/spaces – hallways, doorways, etc. – need to be built with moving through the building in mind (e.g. if it’s a small school in terms of #s of students, you don’t want to be walking through cavernous spaces all the time… (And if it’s a large school, it has to be designed so people can move through the building safely, efficiently and simultaneously.)
  3. Darkness: spaces that don’t have light or are painted dark really send a strong negative message, imho
  4. Safety: Many traditional buildings have too many ways for people to get in and out that aren’t safe. in today’s world, we need to think about safety and ensure that not only the design but also the systems can be built effectively around the design to maximize safety


  1. More intentional gathering spaces: traditional schools often only have an auditorium and a gym. I wish there could be more spaces that foster collaboration and gathering outside of the auditorium and gym. For example, outdoor green spaces, flexible eating and meeting places, etc.
  2. Warmth and lighting: traditional schools are dark and cold. They feel heavy and sad.
Interview a college student for examples of things that work and don’t work
Interview a faculty member

Interview 2: Thomas w/ brother

Questions to ask:

  • Do you have experience with regular public education? How did GMS compare to that?
  • Did the layout of GMS have anything to do with the atmosphere there, or was it mostly the different curriculum
    • Theres a skate ramp right
      • It’s fun. The PE teacher used to take people on field trips to go surfing and stuff
    • Any problems? With teachers, classes, classmates?
      • Real problems exist, you can’t just sweet these under the rug
    • Did it… feel inclusive?
  • “Public education is technically education like fast food is technically food.”
  • What do you like about San Jose? Or Foothill?
    • Do they have a lot of opportunities for “theater people”?
      • Most opportunities I took myself, separate from even GMS
        • but GMS got me into the mindset that I could feel comfortable doing whatever extracurriculars I wanted
  • Is it hard to take public transportation to school?
    • Why do you believe in public transport?
      • It’s been unfairly pigeonholed as “for poor people,” but transportation should be a right and not just for people who have or can afford cars
  • Students should feel like they have an adult they trust, but loading students with homework is a quick way to breach that trust
  • Problem with GMS is it’s really expensive, 15k per year (basically a college tuition just for 6-8th grade)
  • Rigor-based education needs to be heavily regulated. Like capitalism
    • Makes too much of a man eat man world


Feedback about gym and dining facilities:

  • Dining Hall
    • What do you think about the food on campus?
      • the food is fine but it all tastes the same
      • Is it very healthy? healthy? greasy?
  • Gym
    • equipment isn’t well maintained - need a maintenance plan
    • need larger gym facilities, more access to machines
    • need more weight and machine availability
  • Transportation on Campus:
    • why are the busses empty all the time?
    • what about quick rides between buildings on campus rather than the main loop?
  • Climate Control and Waste of Energy on Campus
    • Lack of airflow / fresh air
    • Seeing buildings that have air conditioning but that keep windows open?!
    • More exhaust fan systems maybe?
  • Study Spaces/Areas
    • more quiet study and group study spaces
    • pop up privacy spaces

Notable insights/feedback from survey (based on 27 responses):

41% of our class have bikes

52% walk everywhere

4% use the bus system


23% of class need AC in their dorm room

70% do not have AC

8% do NOT want AC for environmental reasons