As office buildings sit empty and more companies make the decision to remain remote indefinitely, architect Danish Kurani has turned the unfortunate circumstances into an opportunity and has designed an office-to-school conversion to transform these unused offices into educational spaces.
The project is being pioneered in California where an office building in the San Francisco suburb of Fillmore has been turned into the Acton Academy East Bay. Although this is his first full office-to-school transformation during the pandemic, Kurani draws from his experience creating the Khan Lab School in an office building in Mountain View and the Black Girls Code Lab inside Google’s New York office.
The transitional design makes use of existing materials at a fairly low cost, making it an ideal space for small schools and startup programs. The few walls that were removed to create a more open floor plan were repurposed into bookshelves, desks, and other practical tools. “Real estate is the barrier to entry. So by being able to take what’s there and make the most of it, you really give these types of programs a chance to get off the ground,” Kurani told Fast Company.
As more office space becomes available after the pandemic, cities will be faced with the challenge of what to do with this square footage. Fortunately, we have the unique opportunity to create ample learning spaces for school districts stretched to capacity without having to invest in large-scale construction projects. This office repurposing project is a great solution for transforming underused spaces into functional havens of learning.
Image Source: Kurani Architecture