Illich – Reclaming Learning Environments

A Design Kit for Shared Spaces in Elementary Schools


Illich Design Booklet – Click for further reading (hebrew only)

The kit enables a unique PBL process for study groups for children in the age of 8-10 years to evolve better feeling of belonging and linkage towards the physical space and educational process, in order to improve the quality of education.


Illich was my bachelor’s final project (Instructed by Prof. Kenneth Segal) in Hadassah AC Jerusalem.

I chose to focus on elementary schools in Israel – as a territory and as a pedagogical interface – because for me they were design hazards, mainly because most of them ignore many needs of the main user – the child.


Indirect Learning at Hanisuiy Elementary School – Jerusalem.

Most of my field study was made in Hanisuiy School, Jerusalem. Out of many schools I fell in the charm of this one – an “experimental” approach, very open and accepting – as long as my ideas are good for the kids. Many of the study hours in the school are spent not in classes, but in dedicated areas in the corridors and niches generally referred as Merhavim (“Shared Spaces”).


Toho Va’vohu (Chaos) – my first activity in Hanisuiy School, Jeusalem. Children reclaiming the shared space, changing it’s designation.

These “Spaces” are areas for different courses involving working in groups, Project Based Learning processes and crafts, and indirect classes such as studying math through card games or monopoly. These courses go twice a day, each lasting 1.5 hours.


“Creating Spaces” first booklet – Building our own tools – Click for further reading (hebrew, with many illustrations)

I looked at how children created and interfered with their space and wanted to create a platform to help them make school their own, the way they want it to look. I created a course for environment design and furniture building with two groups of 12 children.

DSC_0580 DSC_0597 DSC_0598 DSC_0557 DSC_0568 DSC_0573

In the course we re-thought the different possibilities existing in the shared spaces and examined specific needs, and came out with prototypes and re-designed a small space for relaxing, playing and watching movies. I tried to include as many reversible manipulations in the products, to make the experimentation less despondent and more exciting.


Through this process I found children were motivated by making relevant decisions about their environment. This made me decide to make a platform for design-groups that could design their own space from a kit, and chose to focus on a table, and a stool and a divider. The furniture is made mainly from birch boards, textile and connectors for different structures and assembling.


illich is all about sharing knowledge and experience – inside the community and between communities. The kit parts are made in local workshops to enable a continuous bottom-up relationship between schools, designers and the industry. The kit is hack-friendly and as modular as can be – all parts are reusable and 100% recyclable/eco-friendly.

Please contact me for more details.

ללא שם


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