Located in the Russian capital’s Khamovniki District, Moscow State School 57 is competitive. But, while the school’s known to be progressive, its facilities were locked in the ‘architectural shell of the much regulated Soviet past,’ until Mia Karlova, the renovation designer, recently brought it into modern-day. Though public, the institution – open since 1877 – is renowned for its specialised, rigorous curriculum, and it needed a space that'd help kindle its students growth.

Steadily, learning spaces are coming to emulate the trends brought forth by workspace trends. It’s a sensible connection – before people become strong workers, they are engaged students. To be either, learning and working environments for the young and the old must foster growth and naturally must be designed to do so. And, when they are, it can create a chain reaction: because of the school’s positive reputation, ‘completion of this project made a strong social impact, triggering other schools to initiate similar projects,’ according to Karlova.

Completion of this project triggered other schools to initiate similar projects

The previous design of School 57 had imposed a stagnant atmosphere for the 1,000 students from primary to secondary school enrolled. Karlova’s work left the layout of the 600-sq-m school unchanged, but the designer introduced new functional zones to the learning spaces, like a public talking area, and livened up the premises with colour and smart, interactive surfaces. Modular furniture and bespoke objects were produced by small start-up companies, allowing them to experiment in a new market segment. Every decision was geared toward making the space modern, fertile for development and comfortable for long hours of use.

‘It was important to [create] an environment of freedom, letting new behavioural habits emerge in the community of young and bright children,’ Karlova remarked.


School 57 has been submitted to the Frame Awards 2020 for consideration for the distinction of Learning Space of the Year. Inspired by the project? Keep an eye on its progress, or submit your best work to compete, here.