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Title: A study of the historical development and evaluation of the present day performance of primary school architecture in Mexico, with special reference to Veracruz
Author: Zacarias, Iliana Carolina Miranda
ISNI:       0000 0004 2740 7556
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2011
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This study investigates how Mexican primary school architecture has developed, and how it responds to the needs of its users at the present day. Mexican educational policy and programmes for primary education have changed during the last decades; whereas school design has been at a standstill. Therefore this study examines the relationship between primary school facilities and the activities they accommodate nowadays. The research was carried out in two phases, using a qualitative approach, and combining interpretative-historical and empirical research. In the first phase, the history of Mexican educational architecture was explored in order to identify the relationship between educational trends and school design from the 1930s to the present. Findings indicate that school construction programmes from the 1930s to the early 1960s were related to the national educational agenda at least at some level, but from the late 1960s onwards there is a mismatch between school design and educational policy. The second phase involved the identification of existing international guidance in school design recently produced in the UK, USA, and by international organisations such as UNESCO and OECD. These design principles and best practices were used as a framework to evaluate the appropriateness of different types of school buildings; special attention was paid to standard prototypes currently supported by Mexican authorities. Fieldwork consisted of surveying eight case-studies in the City of Veracruz. The performance of standard and non-standard schools was compared, the latter were found to perform considerably better. The most significant finding to emerge from this research is that, in Mexico, the use of standard primary school buildings provides a number of advantages for the civil servants in charge of the school construction programmes and for building contractors, but it is clearly detrimental to the quality of learning environments. The results of the present study were used to develop practical recommendations aimed at improving current primary school prototypes which, unlike previous studies in the field, take account of users' opinions and international best practices.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available