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Photograph: Dave Burk|||
Photograph: Dave Burk
15 Nov 2018

WeWork pilot WeGrow: a tactile, interactive school in New York City

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The school, intended to be the first of several, is based on the Montessori Method. 

WeWork — the co-working giant that recently became the largest office tenant in both London and New York — has opened the pilot scheme for its first WeGrow school.

The education centre is based in Chelsea, Manhattan, and was designed by Bjarke Ingels Architects (BIG).

3 BIG WeGrow Image by Dave BurkThe school features sculptural pods which children can interact with, including two that are suspended from the ceiling. Photograph: Dave Burk

The school, which it educates children between the ages of three and nine, is modelled on the Montessori Method, in which children are encouraged to learn through working with educational objects and materials rather than direct instruction. The WeGrow circumulation will include mindfulness, meditation, farming and cooking, as well as activities that develiop an understanding of traditional subjects such as English and Maths.

In order to support this system, BIG’S design is expansive and open plan. The classroom — Montessori schools place children of all ages in the same class — is punctuated by movable circular platforms in green upholstery and pebble-like cushions. The use of organic shapes and natural materials and colours alludes to nature.

3 BIG WeGrow Image by Dave BurkThe school features a range of soft pebble like units, which can be used to sit on or rest against. Photograph: Laurian Ghinitoiu.

A series of wooden constructions, some of which are suspended from the ceiling, encourage children to play with and clamour inside, as well as to enact individual learning processes. Pupils will be given one-on-one tutorials with WeWork employees, in order to stimulate thought regarding their future careers.

WeGrow is available to local children as well as those of WeWork members and employees. In 2019, the school will move to WeWork’s new headquarters in Lord & Taylor’s former flagship store on Fifth Avenue. WeWork founding partner Rebekah Neumann has plans to eventually expand the school to other locations.

3 BIG WeGrow Image by Dave BurkCurving shelfs allow teachers to store teaching materials. Photograph: Laurian Ghinitoiu.

WeGrow is WeWork’s latest expansion from their co-working model, which include co-living apartments and a health centre. Earlier this year, Bjarke Ingels was announced as the company’s chief architect.

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