Planning amazing spaces

In an increasingly diverse education environment with ever-shifting parameters in terms of approaches to learning, effective space management has become paramount in the overall management of a campus

Universities and other higher education facilities are increasingly prioritising investment in their estates, with a focus on facilities and buildings – according to Forbes contributor Christine Comaford, today’s generation of students want “to be mentored in an environment where they can advance quickly”, and where they “have the tools to win”.

Space planning involves a detailed analysis of how a room or building will be used, taking into consideration various aspects, including: 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.

Ferco works with universities to create bespoke seating installations for non-specialist teaching areas, including lecture theatres, seminar rooms and active learning spaces.

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.

While there is still a demand within universities for large lecture theatres, the overall design has shifted away from the traditional theatre in rows, towards fixed reconfigurable furniture arrangements which allow individuals to move around freely – there is a distinct emphasis on group working, collaboration and flexibility.

Ferco’s seating arrangement are designed to optimise the following:

  • Knowledge retention
  • Active learning
  • Flipped classroom
  • Didactic
  • Collaborative learning
  • Transition to the world of work.

The seating design plan is fundamental to space management, both in the lecture theatre and throughout the rest of the university; where individuals sit and what they can and can’t see, and who they are able to interact with, plays a vital role in performance and output.

Seating solutions for lecture theatres should meet the individual specifications of each institution, optimise the available space, while providing uninterrupted sight-lines, comfort and an inclusive learning environment for all demographics.

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