The STEM Centre: a space to think, create and innovate!

Great Philanthropy at Ecolint. - 13.05.2021

Conceptualised in 2014 by ABCP Architecture, the STEM Centre was inaugurated in 2016 in collaboration with INITIAL, EPFL and the LGB STEM project design committee. This monumental project was brought to life in no small part thanks to the financial support of donors like Richemont, Pictet, UBS, Loyco, and many members of the Ecolint community (parents, alumni and staff). For those of you who were familiar with La Grande Boissière (LGB) campus prior to the STEM Centre era, this space, located in the basement of the Salève building, used to house music and pottery classes! 

This innovative, cross-disciplinary space is the perfect place to "make STEM magic happen". Learn more about this colossal project and its impact on the Ecolint Community.

So what is the STEM Centre?

The STEM Centre is an open space divided up into four major areas of approximately 102 m2: the Idea Lab (for idealisation, collaboration and creativity), the Innovation Lab (for critical thinking, building and developing), the Bot Lab (for robotics, product design, prototyping and testing) and the Bubble (for implementation, reflection and presentation). The colourful lights of the enchanted wall create a very special atmosphere found only in the STEM Centre!

With bright open spaces to imagine new worlds, wall-to-wall whiteboards to brainstorm and hypothesise and state-of-the-art equipment to explore and experiment, the STEM Centre creates the perfect atmosphere for students to ideate and problem solve in an ever-changing world.

What specific goals did Ecolint want to achieve with this building project?

The STEM Centre was designed with three goals in mind: facilitate productive, cross-disciplinary collaboration, emphasize non-formal teaching and learning, and encourage divergence in thinking and experimenting through hands-on learning opportunities. I thought that it was also important to foster every student’s design thinking learning journey (i.e. feel, ask, imagine, plan, create, discuss, reflect, and share). 

 By combining different disciplines, but also different year groups, we aim to merge various elements of the curriculum and thus encourage innovative ways of thinking and building. As a result, our students can become ever-more curious about the world around them and come up with projects that captivate both their classmates, teachers and the rest of the Ecolint community. 

What partnerships have been developed to support the STEM Centre programme? 

Over the years, the STEM Centre teaching staff has worked in close collaboration with the Centre des arts at LGB, to marry arts and design in order to bring together the best possible conditions for learning and innovating. The school’s PTA is also an active supporter and promoter of the STEM Centre. Collaborations are also made with the other Ecolint campuses.

Some impactful projects were developed with key academic institutions such as the EPFL, Chili Lab, Rocket Lab, UNIGE, Geneva SDG Solution Space and the University of Basel’s Astronomy Department. 

Partnerships were also made with leading organisations in the technology and engineering sectors, involved in initiatives linked to the environment, bioinformatics, nuclear research as well as information and communication technologies.

The STEM Centre, along with its official partners (i.e. EPFL, Hands on Technology (LEGO®), Makeblock Education, TechLabs, Animatas and Monada) enable students to gain understanding of big ideas in science, mathematics and key STEM methodologies, to develop core skills to be ready to tackle their future. 

What has been the overall impact of the opening of the STEM Centre?

The STEM Centre offers the students the chance to explore new ideas, satisfy their curiosity, use industry-like equipment and technologies (e.g. VR) and learn new skills. Product/prop design & creation, 3D printing, robotics, creative media & programming, electronics, DJing & digital music, fashion design, drone making, woodworking, film & animation... the learning opportunities are endless. Nowadays, the STEM Centre feels like a mini-school where students have become the teachers; there is nothing more gratifying than seeing students in action!

With a variety of sustainability and international cooperation projects, students and teachers alike are able to contribute to making our world a better place. They also can develop their personality and grow as lifelong learners within the STEM Centre. The STEM Centre and its comprehensive programme have also attracted many new families to the LGB campus. 

The STEM Centre Impact Report can be read here.