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A qualitative exploration of cardboard architecture in post-pandemic schools

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-10-25, 22:38 authored by Craig DeedCraig Deed, P Cardellino, E Matthews, Anne SouthallAnne Southall
Governments have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with social distancing measures, school closures and society lockdowns. The disruption in the functioning of schools have evoked a myriad of emotions among students including the pervasive fear of others and anxiety about a virus that cannot be controlled. As schools reopen, one immediate focus is to ensure proper sanitary measures in classrooms. While important, it is also equally critical that schools effectively support students’ transition back to the classroom environment. This paper considers how cardboard architecture may support transitions between remote home learning and formal school-based education. We use a case study of the Unboxy project, a kit of cardboard shapes and connectors, provided to 18 schools in Australia following the school reopening after covid lockdown. The case study reports a qualitative analysis of how a cardboard architecture project aided students’ transition back to school. Key themes revealed that students created safety structures and spaces for collaboration, thus highlighting the processes with which students interacted with spatial materials to narrate their affective response during the pandemic. Drawing on both research literature and our case study we identify design features of future cardboard architecture resources that can influence student wellbeing upon return to school.


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International Journal of Educational Research Open



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© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

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