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AUGUST 14, 2009   

Old school, new school

Exterior view of new Buhrer school buildingJoanne and I walked down West 25th to Buhrer Avenue to see the new school she'll be at this year (Buhrer Elementary).

It's bright, colorful, and welcoming both inside and out. Its style is playful and friendly, showing accessibility rather than authority.

Postcard illustration of Buhrer School from 1906I was curious to see the building it had replaced. Here's a postcard illustration of the old Buhrer School, built more than a hundred years ago. Stern. Imposing. You are here to learn.

(Thanks to Cleveland State's invaluable Cleveland Memory website for this image.)

Luis Munoz Marin school buildingSchool architecture, like all of society, goes through styles and trends that reflect the mood of the times.

Buhrer School was fortunate to miss the 70s massive hard-edged look shown in the nearby Luis Munoz Marin MIddle School.

This style, often built with poured concrete but here softened a bit with brick, is a defensive style that may well be a reaction to the social unrest and riots of the late 60s.

If you were a parent—or a student—which school would you want to walk into?

Obviously a building doesn't equal a school: what goes on inside the walls is more important. But the building does create a mood, and I'm encouraged to see that the Cleveland School District is aiming high with buildings like Buhrer.

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