Designing a campus for college kids and their wellbeing. Half 1 – The Lecture Theatre


brainybirdz are typically commissioned to jot down articles and blogs for different organisations. This can be a re-post of a weblog written for Milliken earlier this month, the place we argue for a unique method in the direction of campus design.

A college campus is not only a office for educational {and professional} providers workers, but in addition the each day ‘office’ for 1000’s of scholars. How college buildings are designed has a significant influence on how areas are used, and this in flip can have an effect on the wellbeing, sense of belonging and studying success of scholars. On this quick sequence of two weblog posts, we need to elaborate on the significance of design on scholar wellbeing, but in addition have a look at frequent spatial settings – the lecture theatre and communal areas – and ask how these may be designed in a different way. On this first publish we are going to discover the lecture theatre and mirror on problems with spatial flexibility.

The Covid-19 pandemic has introduced the bodily design of college campuses into sharp focus, however many facets that appear related now have already performed a task earlier than the pandemic and are thus doubtless related within the long-term future. One such side is the position of area in shaping our behaviours and affecting our wellbeing. For a very long time now, we have now identified that area just isn’t impartial. On the easiest degree, an open area permits us to see and be seen; a wall limits visibility and channels motion; a door invitations passing by way of; a glass panel allows us to see however not go. The late Invoice Hillier, a well known scholar in structure has argued that “human behaviour doesn’t merely occur in area. It has its personal spatial kinds. Encountering, congregating, avoiding, interacting, dwelling, instructing, consuming, conferring are usually not simply actions that occur in area. In themselves they represent spatial patterns.” Throughout the pandemic, disadvantaged of all social contact and restricted in our standard patterns of inhabiting buildings, we realise how a lot we miss the on a regular basis encounters, the togetherness with others and the alternatives bodily co-presence brings.

All through Britain central and devolved governments have insisted on preserving college campuses open all through the pandemic. To remain open universities have needed to make some radical adjustments to the way in which instructing is delivered and most have adopted the identical mannequin. Weekly lectures to full cohorts of scholars have sometimes been changed by pre-recorded lectures that may be accessed on-line adopted by small group seminars which can be supplied on campus and on-line. These preparations have been partly needed due to the bodily constraints imposed by the Covid disaster. It was not potential to cram lots of of scholars right into a lecture theatre due to the necessity for social distancing.

The method of pre-recording lectures is nothing new, nevertheless, and has been identified in schooling as a flipped classroom for years. It has a number of benefits to college students – permitting them to view the fabric at a time handy to them and crucially at a tempo that fits their studying. The flexibility to pause recordings to cross reference the lecture to the textual content e-book or rewind and play once more part of the lecture that didn’t sink in first time spherical, permits a tempo of studying that’s way more inclusive than the one dimension matches all inherent in giant face-to-face courses. The small group seminars that observe the pre-recorded lectures can then be devoted to making sure that the fabric has been understood and the small dimension of those seminars improve the possibilities that people shall be heard.

These developments in instructing – accelerated however not induced by Covid – have implications for the spatial design of lecture theatres. Let’s take a programme of 150 college students for instance. Instead of the set piece lecture that requires a single, giant purpose-built lecture theatre, for the seminars we now want 10 rooms able to accommodating small spaced teams of 15 college students. As an alternative of all going through ahead to a display displaying PowerPoint slides, we now want a room the place college students can work together with one another in addition to the tutor. The issue universities face is that they only don’t have that many small seminar model rooms and the lecture theatres haven’t been designed with the pliability to sub-divide them. The result’s that universities are bodily unable to adapt to those adjustments in pedagogy and instructing supply simply.

Flexibility in structure doesn’t simply apply to school buildings; in actual fact, it’s a a lot aspired to high quality, however onerous to attain in observe. Profitable examples of flexibility from different settings may assist to encourage the dialogue on campus design. The Dutch structure observe XML for instance have designed a collective area known as ‘Settings’ for an arts centre in Amsterdam, whereby a set of moveable white seats may be configured in 4 other ways to type a lecturing area, a debating space, an exhibition area or an area for a masterclass. Like on a sports activities subject, the position of the seats is marked on the ground in several colors to ask adjustments to the setup and remind of previous, future and different potential usages. In a design competitors entry for Letchworth City Corridor, Henley Halebrown architects prompt an meeting chamber in a easy but natural, curvy type with 4 apses that can be utilized for various potential seating configurations, for instance internet hosting a council assembly, a smaller cupboard assembly (left picture), a marriage (proper picture), but in addition musical live shows or lectures.

(c) Drawings by Henley Halebrown

These examples present how areas may be designed with flexibility of utilization in thoughts. The standard fastened seated college lecture theatre might be reimagined as a altering configuration, internet hosting completely different sized groupings to match evolving pedagogies and types of instructing supply.


Proceed studying half 2 of this sequence on communal areas.

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