Education Architecture plays a pivotal part in every individual’s life as a student. The architecture of educational spaces provides the experiences that create a conducive learning environment, needed for effective growth in the direction of their learning pursuits. The design of these spaces plays the much-needed role that forms a pivotal part of the student life memories of people. The public domain in educational infrastructure is where the people spend most of their time, and these spaces are designed in a way so that they can have a hybridised and flexible program to their spatial definition. There are many renowned campuses with Flexibility as an inherent trait to their overall architectural design.

1. AltSchool

10 Examples of Flexible spaces in education architecture - Sheet1
Flexibility in Learning _©Magda Biernat / https://www.trendhunter.com/trends/flexible-learning-spaces
10 Examples of Flexible spaces in education architecture - Sheet2
Flexibility in Learning _©Magda Biernat / https://www.trendhunter.com/trends/flexible-learning-spaces

An educational institution in San Francisco and New York, AltSchool focuses on individualistic needs and requirements for study styles. To bring the most out of the school experience, several flexible learning spaces have been allocated to the overall area. To resonate with the institution’s mission and core values, the firm chose to introduce vibrancy via colours and tiered seating.

Architecture+Information design permits students to gather on the blue-coloured stairs for events and lessons. The structure grants privacy as well, via integrated small nooks, so that children can have some private time. The example perfectly showcases the resonance between the firm Architecture + Information’s design approach on flexible learning spaces and the values of AltSchool.

2. Unity School

10 Examples of Flexible spaces in education architecture - Sheet3
Common Areas _©DSGW Architects / https://dsgw.com/flexible-space-education-design/
10 Examples of Flexible spaces in education architecture - Sheet4
Common Areas _©DSGW Architects / https://dsgw.com/flexible-space-education-design/

The Planning and Design team for Unity School analyzed the limited space for people to move around during concerts, plays, and sporting events. Hence, a newer entrance was given, one that led straight to the auditorium, gym and a large student lounge that was created as well.

The lounge consists of flexible seating, providing students with a place to congregate or study before and after school as well as during breaks. It is also an inviting space for community members, who would use the space for events.

The positioning of the concessions booth in the commons area was another way of drawing people into the space during events. This not only stops people from crowding up in the main hall and preventing movement but also encourages the users to utilise the space to its full potential.

3. HMC School

10 Examples of Flexible spaces in education architecture - Sheet5
Common Walls _©HMC Architects / https://www.archdaily.com/128504/flex-flexible-learning-environments-hmc-architects
10 Examples of Flexible spaces in education architecture - Sheet6
Common Walls _©HMC Architects / https://www.archdaily.com/128504/flex-flexible-learning-environments-hmc-architects

The clients wanted to provide a creative, progressive response to the problem of creating flexible learning spaces and not just dressed-up modular buildings. The approach challenged the traditional box shape of the classroom by looking at how under-utilized the room currently is. The end product became a portable classroom solution, one which can be used for any school footprint. The designers hoped that their design would inspire other school districts to think differently when it came to portable classrooms.

In the case of the classrooms, form follows function is the philosophy that is used, as the space reacts to the needs of the students and teachers. The uniform shape allows all beams, columns, and wall panels/storefront systems to be of the same size. Using Flex’s design philosophy, entire schools can be mass-produced and shipped on-site for quick construction and assembly. An additional trait is that the panels are interchangeable and customizable with endless possibilities. The interior modular learning system can be integrated via a kit of parts to create multiple configurations. The hexagon itself can be configured to accommodate a plethora of spaces such as administration, library, food service, multi-purpose, or indoor dining.

4. Khan Lab School

10 Examples of Flexible spaces in education architecture - Sheet7
Overlaps and Openings _©Kurani / https://www.boredteachers.com/post/flexible-learning-spaces-future-of-education
10 Examples of Flexible spaces in education architecture - Sheet8
Overlaps and Openings _©Kurani / https://www.boredteachers.com/post/flexible-learning-spaces-future-of-education

The Khan Lab School was designed to be a testing ground for new learning designs and practices. Educators are allowed to take an open-source approach to education, working towards sharing their findings with the world.

The school replicates the traits of a lab, becoming a place where people at the school have access to various setups and tools. Students can afford the freedom to move between collaboration rooms, reading nooks, and quiet phone booths (to be used for video conferences with a teacher, mentor or community expert).

Galleries encourage students to learn from each other’s work. Teachers share their ideas, like a manifesto on digital displays, inspiring the hundreds of educators who come to tour the school every year. Khan Lab School hopes for visiting teachers to be inspired by the space and the ability to implement aspects of it into their own learning spaces.

Many speciality spaces have been added so that faculty can test different courses and experiences. Large interior windows allow everyone to see the experiments live. The breakout rooms, common areas, and cafes give users places to meet and converse. And a bit like a lab where scientists are expected to share the results of their testing, the varsity is provided with displays for student and school work. By dedicating a display area for faculty, they’re encouraged to supply more experiments and share them with colleagues and therefore the many educators who tour the varsity annually.

5. Arviligruaq Ilinniarvik School

10 Examples of Flexible spaces in education architecture - Sheet9
Colors in the Commons_©https://www.parkin.ca/blog/designing-flexible-educational-spaces-for-students-and-community-two-northern-canadian-examples/

The entranceways to the design were considered precisely. The design of a student commons, quadrangle, or gathering space is what pulled several program elements together, meeting the requirements of an ultramodern educational installation. This central design point co-anchored several elements, creating maximum flexibility through connections with multi-purpose classrooms, resource centres, gym, and other program spaces.

The impactful atrium is a gathering area and welcome space with integrated seating. It features double-height ceilings, a broad staircase, and rudiments like natural stone along with wood accentuations.

Colour plays a pivotal part in the overall design of the school. Blue and green feature within the patio and are echoed within the student lounge, where further of the salvaged stone is employed. The academy’s surface features textured aluminium siding and corrugated essence, accented with bright colours, that are reflected within the interior spaces. Colours and natural materials work to connect the inner space with the edifice’s natural surroundings, other common areas, and classroom décor, to deliver a cohesive, yet multi-purpose, facility.

These biophilic design elements are known to foster better literacy issues and reduce stress for college kids. The cohesive inflow from the biophilic connection to the natural setting of each academy, together with the use of colour and other visual elements, reinforce the connection between academy and community.

The square- foot of Arviligruaq Ilinniarvik School features gathering spaces to accommodate various group sizes and provides spaces for specialized and traditional activities.

6. Ecole Kenwood French Immersion School

10 Examples of Flexible spaces in education architecture - Sheet10
Learning Step by Step_©William Manning/ Photo courtesy of Fanning Howey/ https://www.edutopia.org/article/architecture-ideal-learning-environments

At Ecole Kenwood French Immersion School, a pre-K to a sixth-grade public learning academy in Columbus, Ohio, designed by Fanning Howey, the stairway has been extended to accommodate blanketed student seating and features a projector, an outsized screen, a sound support system, and wireless access. The position is a popular spot for lectures and pupil presentations as part of project-based learning (PBL).

7. Peter Pitseolak High School

10 Examples of Flexible spaces in education architecture - Sheet11
Double Heights and Circulation_©https://www.parkin.ca/blog/designing-flexible-educational-spaces-for-students-and-community-two-northern-canadian-examples/

The entranceways of this structure were precisely considered. The design of a pupil commons, patio, or gathering space is what pulls several program rudiments together, meeting the requirements of an ultramodern educational installation. This central design point co-anchors several elements, creating maximum inflexibility through connections with multi-purpose classrooms, resource centres, gyms, and other program spaces.

Nestled among hills near the original ice lake on Dorset Island, at the Southern tip of Baffin Island. Its natural wood alongside green/ blue colours connects the structure with its natural surroundings. The long, wide hallway doubles as a gathering space where tables and chairs are frequently added when demanded. The surface colours and wood accentuations that hail druggies in the double-height hallway are also seen throughout the academy.

These biophilic design rudiments are known to foster better knowledge outcomes and reduce stress for institution youngsters. The cohesive inflow from the biophilic connection to the natural setting of each academy, together with the use of colour and other visual rudiments, support the connection between academy and community.

The Peter Petseolak 34,000 square-foot facility features an NBA regulation-size spa, and the fitness installations can be used by community members outside academy hours. The academy also features a devoted classroom for tutoring traditional harvesting and thus the use of natural materials.

8. Wagner secondary school

10 Examples of Flexible spaces in education architecture - Sheet12
Eat and Watch It Too_©Huckabee/ https://www.edutopia.org/article/architecture-ideal-learning-environments

Wagner Middle School, a public academy in Georgetown, Texas, the cafeteria is the heart of the lot and features a stage for performances and a learning stair for solo and group work. This space thereby has the potential to transform into a highly active area where the gastronomical experience of having a meal is fused with live or practice performances of music, dance and drama.

9. Deerfield High School

10 Examples of Flexible spaces in education architecture - Sheet13
No Walls in Between_©James Steinkamp Photography/ Courtesy of Perkins Will/ https://www.edutopia.org/article/architecture-ideal-learning-environments

By removing a wall from breakout spaces, Deerfield high school, a public school in suburban Deerfield, Illinois, puts learning on display and makes it easier for school teachers to supervise students working alone or in groups.

Opening a line of sight into adjacent spaces makes learning collaborative, encourages collaboration, and creates a public forum for celebrating and observing pupil work, harmonious with leading educational architects.

10 Examples of Flexible spaces in education architecture - Sheet14
Seating on the Steps_ ©Menno Emmink/ https://www.archdaily.com/970117/ashram-college-nieuwkoop-broekbakema?ad_source=search&ad_medium=search_result_all

With Common Seating areas that can be used for interaction and normal seating, certain seating areas are overlapped onto the wooden platform adjoining the staircase. The staircase itself can transform into an amphitheater, once the seating spaces are removed. Thus providing a great Flexible area for collaboration and performance.

In Conclusion Education Architecture is an untapped area where flexible solutions are up and coming. Although the aforementioned documented examples are predominant in only one particular region around the world, innovation in education architecture can shape how we learn.

References

Kalina Nedelcheva; Trendhunter (2018). Architecture + Information Boasts Color & Community-Enhancing Seating. [online]. (Last updated 1 May 2018). Available at https://www.trendhunter.com/trends/flexible-learning-spaces [Accessed 22 October 2021].

DSGW Architects (2021). Flexible Spaces in Education Design. [online]. (Last updated 2021). Available at https://dsgw.com/flexible-space-education-design/ [Accessed 22 October 2021].

Alison Furuto; Archdaily (2011). Flex: Flexible Learning Environments / HMC Architects. [online]. (Last updated 19 April 2011). Available at https://www.archdaily.com/128504/flex-flexible-learning-environments-hmc-architects [Accessed 22 October 2021].

Bored Teachers Staff (2021). Are Flexible Learning Spaces the Future of Education? [online]. (Last updated 7 September 2021). Available at https://www.boredteachers.com/post/flexible-learning-spaces-future-of-education [Accessed 22 October 2021].

Parkin Blog (2021). Designing Flexible Educational Spaces for Students and Community: Two Northern Canadian Examples. [online]. (Last updated 13 April 2021). Available at https://www.parkin.ca/blog/designing-flexible-educational-spaces-for-students-and-community-two-northern-canadian-examples/ [Accessed 22 October 2021].

Emelina Minero; Edutopia (2018). The Architecture of Ideal Learning Environments. [online]. (Last updated 2 March 2018). Available at https://www.edutopia.org/article/architecture-ideal-learning-environments [Accessed 22 October 2021].

Paula Pintos (2020). Ashram College Nieuwkoop / Broekbakema. [online]. (Last updated 2020). Available at https://www.archdaily.com/970117/ashram-college-nieuwkoop-broekbakema?ad_source=search&ad_medium=search_result_all [Accessed 22 October 2021].

Author

A final year architecture student, currently studying in SVKM-NMIMS Balwant Sheth School of Architecture, Mumbai, he has allied interests towards architectural photography and writing. Having a penchant for films and philosophy as well, he is of the belief that architecture and design have the ability to capture the most pivotal moments in life itself.

Write A Comment