A very interesting new high school has just been built in my hometown Pirkkala. The building is very modern and features some innovative design choices both inside and outside the classrooms. Students and faculty were involved in the designing process, which is probably why this school differs a lot from most other high schools.

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This a view from the second floor overlooking the dining hall. Space is very open and modern. The stairs are a common place to hang out between classes. Some even thought to add pillows for making sitting more comfortable! ☺

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This classroom is also on the second floor. What’s notable is that it’s very open, no doors or walls to separate it from the main area. The large TV is a touchscreen that teachers can write notes on.

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A view from the teacher’s desk. This seating arrangement is meant to make working in groups easier. The furniture and space dividers are noise absorbing, in order to make the atmosphere more peaceful and quiet.

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A view from the second-floor balcony, above the dining hall.

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This is another break area for students. Pretty cool area compared to older schools where seating often is wooden without any cushions.

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This is the teacher’s break area. Interestingly, it’s also completely open and not private, like in most schools. The teachers do have a private area for working in the back.

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The students also have lockers for personal items. Inside the lockers, there’s a power outlet for charging their phones and laptops. Schools in Finland are very digitalized, and every student must have a laptop. Most exams are already done on a computer instead of pen and paper.

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This funny looking closet is actually a phone booth. It’s soundproof so you can make calls without distracting other people.

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These pictures are from the same classroom. It can be used as one large room or separated into two smaller rooms when needed. The chairs in this room are ergonomic.

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This is the music classroom. Students can use this room to practice when it’s not in use.

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The music classroom has three soundproof rooms for practicing or recording music.

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This is the cafeteria for school lunch. School lunch, which is by the way a Finnish innovation, is free of charge. The idea behind the lunch is to ensure students have enough energy to focus on studying. Seija Kurunmäki, Executive Director of the ELO Foundation, an organization that promotes Finnish food culture has recently said: “Finland was the first country in the world to serve free school meals in 1943. Gradually, school meals in Finland have become more varied and are today part of a holistic pedagogic tool which extends far beyond the school lunch.”

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The school building is equipped with eco-friendly solar panels on the roof of the building.

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The idea behind all these seemingly peculiar design choices is to create the best possible learning environment for students. I think they did exactly that. The school is a very comfortable place for its students to come and study and also to hang out with their friends. The new innovative spaces go well together with the new National Curriculum that emphasizes learning in multiple different ways and working in cooperation with other students and teachers. I think Pirkkala high school students are very lucky to be able to study in their new school.

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Tuomas Aimonen
I'm Tuomas Aimonen, a 18-year-old high school student in Tampere Finland. In my blogs I offer a young persons perspective on the Finnish lifestyle. I hope you find my posts interesting and entertaining.