Space must be efficiently and effectively utilised – as a consequence, space planning in universities is an important factor for architects and interior designers
Space planning involves a detailed analysis of how a room or building will be used, taking into consideration various aspects, including but not limited to the following: the purpose of the space, requirements for flexibility, the number of occupants, the space required per occupant, budget and time constraints, furniture, fixtures and fittings, colour scheme, legislative and environmental requirements, access and how the space is connected to other spaces.
In an increasingly diverse
The number of universities and other HE institutions employing individuals for the specific purpose of space and timetable planning is on the rise. Some universities have a designated in-house team for space and design management, whereas others contract external parties to perform audits and help plan space usage. Effective timetabling is an integral part of space planning, ensuring that rooms are not overbooked or left empty – unused space needs to be identified quickly as it wastes valuable resources.
The majority of UK universities categorise their space into two distinct types – non-specialist teaching space and specialist teaching space.
A non-specialist teaching space typically describes a designated space or building which can be used by a variety of disciplines and accommodate various usages – there is nothing inherently special or different about this space which would preclude anybody from using it.
Today there is an increasing trend within the UK’s HE education sector towards enhancing its civic identity, making it more outward facing and accessible to the wider public. This change has placed a distinct emphasis on the creation of flexible learning spaces during space planning, with more and more institutions focussing on the provision of dynamic spaces which facilitate and encourage collaborative learning. Such spaces typically include multiple uses, connecting and establishing the university as an integral part within the local community, as well as ensuring it is ‘open for business’ – able to accommodate and provide facilities for third parties and variable capacities.
Examples of non-specialist teaching spaces include:
The specialist teaching space is either specifically designed to accommodate the teaching of a particular subject or activity, or it may hold a specific license or be covered by a legal restriction.
Examples of specialist teaching areas include:
The lecture theatre design differs from that of a traditional classroom, it is typically a larger space which encompasses an auditorium design, optimised for an audience to performer relationship. The design of the lecture theatre includes the incorporation of a number of key elements to enhance the learning experience.
In many universities, a key area of academic teaching space is designated to the lecture theatre; a non-specialist, multi-purpose space, which can be utilised for a wide range of uses such as teaching and presenting, staff meetings, conferences, performances, public speaking events and interactive learning and discussion to name but a few.
The design and use of space within the lecture theatre can have a significant influence on the learning experience and performance. Poorly designed spaces can have a negative effect on learning and engagement, discouraging rather than encouraging – the overall design of the theatre must stimulate absorption and concentration.
Whilst there is still a demand within universities for large lecture theatres, the overall design has shifted away from the traditional theatre in rows, towards reconfigurable furniture arrangements which allow individuals to move around freely – there is a distinct
Effective space planning is key to supporting and enhancing a range of learning pedagogical approaches.
Good design not only refer to aesthetics,
The active learning approach acknowledges the active role in which learners play in the learning process; this differs from traditional learning styles where knowledge is transmitted from the teacher to be absorbed by the student. Space planning, use of furniture and fittings, and the successful implementation of appropriate technology into the overall design, plays a fundamental role in the
The Flipped Classroom refers to an inverted form of conventional
The science behind the idea of learning and how to teach and communicate knowledge to
A collaborative learning space enables successful group engagement, allowing students to work with one another as well as with the teacher. For a successful collaborative learning space, space planning is key – the architectural design, seating, technology and so forth, creates a space which promotes peer-to-peer learning, critical thinking, cooperation and sharing, as well as engagement and stimulation.
The seating design plans
Seating solutions for lecture theatres should meet the individual specifications of each institution, optimise the available space, whilst providing uninterrupted sight-lines, comfort and an inclusive learning environment for all demographics.
Students should be able to write or use laptops and tablets easily, and take notes within their seats without feeling cramped or restricted. The patented A3 Wrimatic Integrated writing tablet is suitable for both left hand and
Also referred to as raking, stepping or risers – tiering is a platform on which seating is secured to. Fixed tiered seating is one of the most popular seating arrangements for the lecture theatre – it allows the implementation of improved sight lines, due to the staggered raised height.
In large rooms intended for multiple occupants, as part of space planning, consideration must be given to ventilation systems, air exchange rates and air conditioning.
The importance of colour and how it can affect productivity and engagement within the learning environment is not to be
The ‘Phygital Experience’ – a term used to describe the interaction between a physical and digital space, where the traditional ‘physical’ experience of the campus merges with the
As part of space planning, accessibility must be considered for those with mobility challenges. Designated disabled access spaces should be incorporated into the design to allow ease of access and adjustments to the built environment, such as the appropriate furniture, fittings and fixtures.