We’ve researched what the experts are saying, and have put together a list of what we believe are current trends in school designs…
1. Design that makes a statement
This is not a new trend but an everlasting one. For centuries, massive university structures were built to make a statement and enhance their reputation, with many of them becoming local landmarks as the years passed. Images of the quadrangles of Oxford and Cambridge, the University of Bologna’s porticoes, the collegiate Gothic of Princeton and Yale, all prompt instant recognition worldwide.
These days, some universities are built to grab attention and to seduce students into studying there, demonstrating by their design (both internal and external), that they are an inspirational and stimulating place to be.
Being green these days is no longer just a catch-cry, but actual practical application. Architects and designers are rising to the “green” challenge in many creative ways, one of them being re-purposing old buildings and turning them in to schools and universities, or re-using previously redundant materials and re-working them into projects.
3. Flexible learning environment:
In a traditional “chalk and talk” class or lecture room, rows of chairs and tables face the teacher and a whiteboard or overhead screen. These days, learning spaces require the flexibility to quickly reconfigurate to suit an individual professor, activity or topic.
Furniture manufacturers have recognized the need for flexible classroom furniture and recently offer a wide variety of choices. Tables, chairs and whiteboards can now flip, nest, stack, roll and link together. By specifying individual tables and chairs, educational institutions have the flexibility to go from a seminar layout to break-out groups and back again, in a matter of minutes.
4. Noise Management:
Co-locating different disciplines within the same space is an increasingly common tactic, encouraging a more effective learning process, higher-quality research, and greater creativity. Higher levels of innovation result when academics from different backgrounds and disciplines work in close proximity, however, to ensure the benefits are realised, it is imperative that the space is designed with a thorough understanding of the appropriate noise levels and how sound will be managed. Good acoustics are fundamental to good academic performance.
5. Integrate Technology:
Keeping pace with the latest technology is a critical component in the design of new and renovated university facilities. Given the technology-savvy nature of students today, creating spaces for students to utilize technology to enhance their learning experience is vital.
Multiple screens, access to wireless connections, flexible furnishing and numerous electrical outlets need to be included in the design, and control of light level and AV equipment to allow both teachers and students to travel within the space, interact with others and create and present engaging presentations.
Times Higher Education
Building Design and Construction