The Tumo Center for Creative Technologies is an innovative and free educational center in Armenia. It focuses on bringing technology to the hands of the youth, with the vision that the country’s children can create exciting change and development in the future. There are now multiple centers throughout Armenia. On our recent trip, we were fortunate enough to receive a tour of Tumo Yerevan. This is the flagship venue and where everything started for the digital learning hub back in 2011. Here’s a look at the innovative design of the space, mirroring the inventive learning methods happening within its walls.
Collaborative Open Learning Environment
Stepping inside the entrance to Tumo Yerevan and we are greeted with an educational space like nothing we have seen before. Bernard Khoury, the creative genius behind the project, has built an open self-learning space that lies before you as soon as you pass through the entrance. This reflects Tumo’s pedagogical approach towards education. Its location is key to its function, as every student and teacher must pass through the hall and engage with others. The space breathes feelings of togetherness and collaboration. Yet, simultaneously, the area also allows students to work independently and at their own pace.
Mobile & Multifunctional Workspaces
Within the innovative learning space, there are contemporary wooden seats with desks. Each chair and desk is on wheels, making them mobile, allowing the space to be dynamic and multifunctional. Students and teachers can move the layout around depending on how they wish to work or utilize the space. Suspended from the ceiling are the spiralized wires that power the iMacs where the students do their work. This intelligent design creates a futuristic and modern interior. At the same time, it also mirrors the center’s approach to learning. Tumo Yerevan prides itself on flexibility, transparency, and technological creativity, and this setup allows for just that. It also further helps with the mobile functioning of the space, allowing desks to move as far as the cables stretch from the ceiling grid.
Learning Spaces & Collaborative Areas
Branching off this communal workspace are smaller rooms for running workshops. The curriculum includes workshops on animation, video game design, web development, and music. On our tour, we were fortunate enough to see samples of the work of some students. Each is celebrated on their unique vision and individuality, with Tumo Yerevan’s view that new approaches to technology will be what makes the future. Khoury has also designed multiple spaces for students to share their work with others. Examples include the open space comparable to a public auditorium and a cinema-style room for children working on creating films.
The Geometric Tumo Park, Yerevan
Stepping outside of Tumo Yerevan itself and the gardens, known as Tumo Park, are equally as impressive. Again designed by Bernard Khoury, the outside architecture seamlessly links the technological center with the pre-existing public park. Between the two is a circular fountain from the Soviet era when Armenia became part of the USSR. Within the grounds, Khoury has used many different materials, such as concrete, grass, decking, and beds of water. These have been positioned in a three-dimensional geometric patterning that compliments the natural topography of the surrounding landscape. The result is a beautiful abstract creation from multiple triangular planes that offset the central fountain and curved windows of the Tumo Yerevan building itself.