What Makes a Great Learning Environment? Designer Blogs

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Scotland has a wealth of design talent. Our design community is building better places with user needs at the heart. They are innovating, adapting to changing needs, addressing the rich and varied contexts of Scotland’s communities and landscapes.

This blog series brings together a collection of these experiences. It invites debate the “how” of realising great learning places. The reflections also articulate a role for design as a tool to shape collaborative conversations with learners, teachers and clients about the future of learning and teaching experiences.

Lucy Plumridge, HLM Architects

“Rich learning environments that support collaborative learning are also key in school designs. Students and pupils require spaces to reflect individually, and also to work together for well-rounded learning and sharing of ideas.”
– Lucy Plumridge, HLM Architects

Chris Malcolm, Ryder Architecture

“Discovery, exploration and imagination should be promoted through the use of flexible space and outdoor environment in all school years, not just through early years and primary school”

– Chris Malcolm, Ryder Architecture

Maggie Barlow, Space Strategies

“A great learning environment is more about culture than physical space.”

– Maggie Barlow, Space Strategies

Paul Stallan, Stallan-Brand

“Critical to the learner development is a learning environment that allows you to be yourself.”

– Paul Stallan, Stallan-Brand

Mark Ellson, Holmes Miller Architects

“The architecture of the school […] must act as a canvass for teaching, providing maximum flexibility and offering a variety of learning spaces, without being prescriptive.”

– Mark Ellson,
Holmes Miller Architects

Jonathan McQuillan, Anderson Bell + Christie

“[…] both the building and the external environment can provide direct and indirect learning experiences.”

– Jonathan McQuillan, Anderson Bell + Christie

Ian Alexander and Henry McKeown, JM Architects

“The use of technology as both a learning and teaching tool will steer school design more and more toward a much more workplace-like model, where mobility and flexibility are essential.”

Ian Alexander and Henry McKeown, JM Architects

Sam Brown, O’DonnellBrown

“We need to create delightful environments for learning – adaptable spaces that can enhance free thinking or encourage focus”

– Sam Brown, O’DonnellBrown

How Architecture and Design Scotland can help

You can find out more about how we work to  enhance learning experiences by design by getting in touch today, and checking out our online resources and case studies at www.ads.org.uk/smarterplaces.

We collaborate with local authority partners to unlock problems and potential in the learning estate by design.

  • Our process is to encourage early participation and engagement to identify learners and teaching needs;
  • Collaboration with decision makers to shape the briefing, design development and assessment stages;
  • Facilitate the sharing of learning through networks, events and online resources informed by the needs of local authorities.

Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can help you.

Smarter Places

Learn more about our work across the learning estate and our collaboration with local authorities to regenerate spaces for learning, by design.

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