School design around the world is shifting to meet the educational demands of the 21st century. This was the key message disseminated at the 2016 Learning Environments Australasia Awards, held at the Learning Environments Australasia Conference in Melbourne, Australia on 30 May 2016.
At the forefront of innovation is Australian architectural firm Hayball, which took both the overall winner award and a category prize at the conference for its learning project at independent Melbourne co-educational school, Caulfield Grammar School.
The firm has coined the phrase “sticky campus” to describe its work at Caulfield and other sites across Australasia. The idea, says Hayball, is to create spaces where students really want to be.
“The [Caulfield] project explores the nature of purposeful and flexible settings. The quality of experience for the user is increased as the lighting, acoustics, furniture and resources available can be made appropriate to the specific learning activity being undertaken.”
At a recent London, UK, conference on “Next Generation Learning Spaces”, delegates learned that “sticky” schools and universities “should not be seen as simply a place where students come to for formal classes and then leave; instead it should be somewhere they can study in private or in groups, relax, meet their friends, grab a coffee, etc. Active, collaborative learning is key to forming so-called learning communities, and social participation is a contributor to student success.”
Back at Caulfield Grammar School, principal Reverend Andrew Syme has publicly said that his “students and teachers are enjoying the flexible learning spaces the new spaces offer, including
interactive screens, writable surfaces and breakout workspaces.
“They have allowed further exploration of self-regulated learning and trialling a range of different pedagogical approaches to maximise student learning opportunities.”
Warren and Mahoney is another design firm interested in exploring how education-based spaces could evolve. Says the firm’s director, Graeme Finlay: “Facilitated by laptops and access to online resources, much of today’s learning occurs outside the traditional teaching environment. The opportunity lies in the ability to create a more vibrant campus, greater social interaction and an improved student experience.”
Category: Spring 2016