Math Hive STEM Center

  • area / size 4,198 sqft
  • Completed 2022
  • Location Sofia, Bulgaria,
  • Type Schools,
  • Lusio architects designed the Math Hive STEM Center as a bright and playful space for students in Sofia, Bulgaria.

    Bulgaria is one of the leading countries in the EU that has a problem with obesity and the immobility of children. One of the main reasons for that is how Bulgarian school environments and schedules are organized. Students barely have any physical activity with just 2 hours of sports per week and a huge concrete yard and long empty corridors fail to engage their senses for action and movement. That’s how students spend, on average, 9 hours per day sitting.

    The main focus of the Math Hive STEM Center was to break with the average school lifestyle. We, as architects, used small hacks in the interior to allow students to move unconsciously in their new space. Each zone offers different types of seating, so students can switch between them and change their body positions. All the furniture is mobile so that every room configuration could easily change. All of the walls are workspaces, and students are encouraged to use them. However, the most significant change is that students can move from one zone to another by climbing, not just walking.

    The design of the Math Hive is deeply rooted in the process of project-based learning and collaboration between students. Their projects start in the co-working area. A small glass nook provides a calm and quiet environment for preparation, experiments, and concentration. A semi-transparent curtain separates the students working in this “cave” while the teacher can still keep an eye on him. Adjacent to this zone is a group-working area where buzzing ideas are generated. Lightweight mobile tables quickly transform the space for different work modes. The high counters on both sides of the room are perfect for stand-up work. A soft corner with a carpet that continues to the wall allows for relaxation in this busy area.

    The red carpet in the following zone calls for a chillout atmosphere for presenting ideas. Every student could show their ideas on the mobile screen or sketch them on the glass board. Audiences have comfortable seats at different heights. Each listener can hear the presentation clearly thanks to the acoustic ceilings.

    Even in the corridor, a lot of noise is usually generated, and acoustic ceilings provide a pleasant atmosphere. The centerpiece of this space is the long traverse for climbing. Different routes challenge the students’ mobility and endurance while allowing them to take reasonable risks. That way they improve their capabilities and upgrade their balance and coordination.

    Crossing the traverse, the students reach the end of their journey – the Makerspace. This is where their ideas are brought to life. and where each student can finish the cycle: from a concept to something physical.

    Design: Lusio architects
    Photography: Viztinct Studio