Wonder, By Design

We are celebrating making it to the final round of the XQ Super School Project with the Twelve Days of XTH! Each day we’ll release portions of our XQ application so you can learn more about the vision for Crosstown High. 

XQ application question: How will you make the most of conventional and unconventional spaces to realize your school model?

Through our partnership with WONDER, By Design, we have come to believe that we cannot recalibrate the mindsets we bring to the learning process unless we recalibrate the spaces in which learning unfolds as well. We recognize that whereas schools of the past needed to be predictable runways through a set curriculum and set of experiences, schools of the future need to be equally purposeful — and less precise. We believe our unique design will make that possible.

Architect Trung Le, of WONDER, By Design, presents his first floorplans to the Crosstown High board in May.

Architect Trung Le, of WONDER, By Design, presents his first floorplans to the Crosstown High board in May.

Crosstown High is designed more as a basecamp than an all-encompassing container. Instead of doing the simple math that figures out how many classrooms you need in order to evenly distribute young people across a fixed number of spaces, we have designed the school to be agile, adaptable, and highly reconfigurable. What this means in practice is that instead of students moving between subject-specific classrooms, they will be anchored in different home bases, and working in smaller teams to ask questions and prototype solutions to pressing problems facing Memphis and the larger world. And it means that instead of a series of similarly sized, one-size-fits-all classrooms, XTH will have a range of spaces that have been designed intentionally for different learning modes, scales and levels of intimacy.

Second, Crosstown Collaboratory (XTC), which will serve not only as the ground-floor entrance to XTH but also as a kind of research and design lab, will be set up as a more public-facing variation of XTH. The mission of XTC is to ensure that our school’s approach to teaching and learning spreads beyond the walls of the Concourse.

Finally, because of our location in Crosstown Concourse, our students will have numerous other spaces to take advantage of, from the Church Health Center’s fitness center and lap pool, to the various offices and artistic spaces of fellow tenants, to the studios of the Concourse’s artists-in-residence. Taken together, we believe this will provide our students with a truly unique platform for reflection, discovery and finding what they love.

Note: Some XQ application elements have been lightly edited for clarity or brevity.

Loaded For Bear