Supporting the idea of outdoor learning, David Salmela designed the Bagley Outdoor Classroom, a LEED Platinum building at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, a wonderful sustainable learning centre. The new sustainable learning center was built on an old, unused volleyball court, encompassed by a maze of trees. Although the area has a nice setting for running, hiking and exploring, the university never made the most of it. The construction itself occupies a small area, accommodating only the indoor open classroom. The outdoor classroom, envisioned as a patio, supports courses in biology, physical education and recreation, environmental studies, engineering, and many more.
“The outdoor classroom is created by the paved area defined by the fireplace, wood storage and reclaimed wood benches. The indoor classroom is a rhythm of exposed recycled timber structure punctuated by large openings to the South that create the connection between the outdoor class-room and indoor space.” Boasting large openings and exposed timber beams, the interior brings more of the exterior inside. The idea was from the very beginning to establish a connection between the two types of classrooms.