SPARK 2020 06/12: SPARK and the art of knowing nothing

“One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing” –Socrates

We encourage SPARK staff to build awareness, understanding and control of their thought processes to improve learning, this is not just related to architecture and design as we think the making of cross-connections between industries with a degree of invention is the hallmark of great designers like Achille Castiglioni.

Plato created the Academy in Athens to teach how to think like Socrates. “The Socratic Method”  was born, a habit of questioning in the manner of the master who’s life’s philosophy was to find someone who knew more than he did, as though he knew nothing. Asking questions helps draw one’s own conclusions, to think critically of the information learnt and to reassemble it in perhaps a unique way rather than regurgitating it by rote.

SPARK Rochester Park Executive Adult learning centre: outdoor auditorium

It was worrying to read recently in the Economist that educators in Hong Kong are being “encouraged” to strike critical thinking from the curriculum, the basic prerequisite of a child’s education that provides them with the foundation to problem solving in favour of a more robotic form of learning. You could argue that the idea of critical thinking is needed more than ever in this “age of disruption”  when the majority of  jobs of this fledgling generation will work in have yet to be invented.

The projects illustrated below are places we have designed that hopefully are places that gladden the heart, work well, and shows thought, imagination and dedication in its design to make educational environments that are fun and stimulating to be in. Even if design had no measurable outcomes, students of all ages should have access to good learning environments that stimulate positivity and critical thinking in smart classrooms that take advantage of new technologies to improve learning and progress questioning in the spirit of Socrates.

Shaoxing Primary School

Client: Shaoxing government

Façade studies for Shaoxing primary school

Local culture a source of inspiration

Aerial perspective showing sports hall, outdoor sports field, administrative and classroom blocks 

Fai-Fah Prachautis

Client: TMB

Workshop at Faifah Prachautis

Transformation: combining two shophouses into a community school

Night Perspective, façade and colourful interiors

Transformation: Façade screen to unit two disparate shophouses

Collaborative design process between SPARK, the client and the community

Children and community volunteers at Faifah Prachautis

Section illustrating new “utility stick” and yellow staircase

Pudong Living Room

Client: Kerry Properties

SPARK Kerry on Living room: Parents and kids learn together at this new social space in Pudong, Shanghai.

Conceptual sketch : Enchanted forest

SPARK Kerry on Living room: isometric

SPARK Kerry on Living room: Stadium seating and storage

SPARK Kerry on Living room: a treehouse and fence entrance

SPARK Kerry on Living room: Library and terraced seating

Rochester Park Executive Learning Centre

Client: Perennial Real Estate


Street perspective

Programme distribution in Master plan

Indoor Auditorium

Lobby and shared space

ITE West

Client: ITE West

Aerial perspective, sports facilities and linear court

Concept sketch: classrooms around a central green space

Perspective: water court

Master plan

Aerial perspective” Street fronting façade and auditorium