Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 38

EDUCATION

Danish Kurani knows firsthand how education can level the playing
Community-centric design
field. An immigrant of Indian and Pakistani descent, he parlayed his
Take Code Next, a 1,500-square-foot programming and engineering
love of Legos into degrees in architecture and urban planning from
space that Kurani worked on with Google. Located in Fruitvale Villiage,
Rice University and Harvard Graduate School of Design. But Kurani
a predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhood in Oakland,
never forgot the lesson he learned during the afternoons spent in the
California, the lab, which opened in 2016, aims to increase diversity in
back of his parents' dry cleaning store, creating buildings from
the next generation of tech leaders; it was sparked by the finding that
cardboard shirt boxes: "Education is vital to your survival," he says.
less than 50 percent of minority children had access to computer
Fast forward, and now it's Kurani who is trying to ensure all
sciences in school. Through discussions with Google researchers and
students have a fair chance. His target isn't curriculum or teacher
local nonprofits, Kurani realized that aside from creating a resource for
quality, both of which he says, "brilliant minds are working to reform,"
an underserved community, the space would have to address student
but rather the physical layout of learning environments. "The way we
misperceptions. "There's a lack of minority role models in the STEM
design schools hasn't changed much in 100 years, even though how
industries and that breeds Imposters' syndrome in the kids," he says.
educators teach, and students learn has," he explains.
"That feeling like the people who do tech are really smart and nothing
Traditional lecture-style set-ups remain predominant despite
like us."
mounting evidence of their lack of effectiveness. Schools, especially in
To show that wasn't the case, Kurani covered the walls with
urban areas, stay fortress-like, with high fences and barred windows
images of tech innovators of every ethnicity. He replaced the
separating students physically and mentally from their local
traditional classroom style with clusters of small moveable tables, ideal
communities-and the intellectual and social capital that resides there. for one-on-one instruction and group work. A maker lab stocked with
Atlanta-based Kurani warns that the situation is "a slow-moving
3-D printers and laser cutters lets student experiment and learn by
crisis...a catastrophe in the making." But he also sees it as a huge
doing, with their finished work displayed throughout.
opportunity to flip the script and use learning environments to address
As a result, the students who attend are realizing that "being a
academic and social inequalities.
computer scientist or engineer is not only attainable, but also cool,"
he says. Plus, the greater community has noticed, he adds. "People are
stopping by to check it out and get involved."

38

contractdesign.com

Google Code Next Lab
Located in East Oakland,
California, Google's first
Code Next outpost/lab is a
1,500-square-foot programming
and engineering space. The
project's design team-which
included Danish Kurani,
Navajeet Khatri, Ralph Walker,
Miron Nawratil, and Bogdan
Borbei-wanted the space to
expose more Latino and AfricanAmerican students to computer
programming and engineering,
with walls that feature images
and stories of tech innovators of
all different ethnicities, so that
the students can see someone
who looks similar to themselves
succeeding in the field. There
also is a classroom with flexible
seating and a maker lab.

SEPTEMBER 2018


http://www.contractdesign.com

Contract Magazine - September 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract Magazine - September 2018

Contract Magazine - September 2018
Contents
Editorial
Industry News
Agenda
Viewpoint: Letter to a Design Student
Product Briefs: Textiles
Black Girls Code, Google Code Next, The Khan Lab School
Lassonde Studios, The University of Utah
Matrix: Learning Environments
Product Focus
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - Contract Magazine - September 2018
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - Cover2
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 1
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 2
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 3
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 4
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 5
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - Contents
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 7
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 8
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 9
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 10
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 11
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - Editorial
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 13
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 14
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 15
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - Industry News
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 17
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - Agenda
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 19
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 20
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 21
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - Viewpoint: Letter to a Design Student
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 23
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 24
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 25
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - Product Briefs: Textiles
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 27
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 28
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 29
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 30
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 31
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 32
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 33
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 34
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 35
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - Black Girls Code, Google Code Next, The Khan Lab School
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 37
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 38
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 39
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 40
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 41
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 42
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 43
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 44
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 45
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - Lassonde Studios, The University of Utah
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 47
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 48
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 49
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - Matrix: Learning Environments
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 51
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 52
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 53
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 54
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - 55
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - Product Focus
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - Cover3
Contract Magazine - September 2018 - Cover4
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