Good school design & why it matters: 9 point checklist #RIBA #TopMarksSchool

In 2015 the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) awarded the coveted  Stirling Prize for the best new building to Burntwood School, a large comprehensive girls’ school in London. It is the UK’s most prestigious architecture prize. As Paul Monaghan, Director, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, the winning architecture firm, said, “Schools can and should beContinue reading “Good school design & why it matters: 9 point checklist #RIBA #TopMarksSchool”

Enabling Spontaneous Learning Environments: 5 keys to breaking free of (or within) the 4 walls

  Are you comfortable with spontaneity, creating a context for learning that is fluid and able to respond to ideas? One of the underpinning factors in the design for Manhattan and The City, the newest precinct at Northern Beaches Christian School, has been to enable the creation of spontaneous spaces. “We have created a structure wherebyContinue reading “Enabling Spontaneous Learning Environments: 5 keys to breaking free of (or within) the 4 walls”

What happens when 16 architects & educators travel together in the wintry north? Part 2

  We spent five nights based in Copenhagen, including a weekend, which enabled the group to explore city and visited Hellerup Skole and Orestad Gymnasium (Senior High School) both are considered inspirational designs. We were grateful that the principal of Orestad took time to talk about the vision – “the open plan office as a school”. AtContinue reading “What happens when 16 architects & educators travel together in the wintry north? Part 2”

What happens when 16 architects & educators travel together in the wintry north? Part 1

We met for dinner in downtown Helsinki on a Sunday night, our first night. We walked from our hotel through snowy streets to the restaurant, where many of us took the when-in-Rome option and chose reindeer from the menu. It was the first time we’d all been together as a group. By Thursday the group was laughing withContinue reading “What happens when 16 architects & educators travel together in the wintry north? Part 1”

Insight for schools: Trends in university learning space design, big shift from lectures to collaborative learning

For many school-based educators, one of the justifications for maintaining a traditional teacher and content focused culture is the need to prepare students for university. But what if universities are changing. There are many examples of tertiary institutions that understand the need for change. Information, lectures and resources can be accessed online, so why wouldContinue reading “Insight for schools: Trends in university learning space design, big shift from lectures to collaborative learning”

Designing spaces for learning: 10 questions to STOP asking and 10 questions to START asking for choice, flexibility & connection

Currently I am reading Design for the Changing Educational Landscape: Space, Place and the Future of Learning (Harrison & Hutton). The book was published in 2014 and cites research and white papers dating back to the early 2000s. People were having the conversations then, the same ones that we are having now. A quote inContinue reading “Designing spaces for learning: 10 questions to STOP asking and 10 questions to START asking for choice, flexibility & connection”

Repurposing unlikely spaces for a school: A photo essay

A school doesn’t need to be purpose-built. In Australia, the commonly held view that a new school needs to locate a greenfield site to grow a school. In other parts of the world it is more common to local a disused building, a brownfield site. Greenfield sites have not previously been built on. This includes the greenbelt landContinue reading “Repurposing unlikely spaces for a school: A photo essay”

Well-designed learning spaces can boost student academic performance: University of Salford, Manchester

The University of Salford in Manchester has gained a reputation for looking at the physical aspects of the learning space and their impact on the quality of learning. In 2013 the project on the sensory impacts on learning found (here): “almost three quarters of the variation in pupil performance could be attributed to design andContinue reading “Well-designed learning spaces can boost student academic performance: University of Salford, Manchester”

What happens when there is an intersection of design and education? From disaffected to engaged #IfYouBuildIt

Design + Education Design for education – the physical construction of improved spaces, Redesigning education – creating the conditions to make change possible, or perhaps, Design as education – learning design thinking for a community purpose I have long held the idealistic view that when something is sparked in young people, when talents and skillsContinue reading “What happens when there is an intersection of design and education? From disaffected to engaged #IfYouBuildIt”

Immersive Learning Environments Matter: Designing places we all like to be

The physical environment matters to me. Have you noticed how social, open public places spend time and money creating the right ambience? Last night, while having a refreshing beverage in an establishment called The Local Taphouse I looked around at the space. They had created a real ‘pub’ atmosphere that locals would visit, living up to it’sContinue reading “Immersive Learning Environments Matter: Designing places we all like to be”