ECO Friendly Design

Do Learning Spaces Matter?

Architect, Karolina Szynalska outlines research being completed at the University of Cambridge looking to answer this question.

Our knowledge of school building design in relation to its effects on learning is surprisingly underdeveloped. This is due to the complex nature of the environments, a lack of consensus about the criteria for their pedagogical assessment, and attendant methodological challenges. Post-occupancy evaluations typically fail to assess whether the school estate can support a particular institution’s pedagogy and they don’t consider the views of their key constituency, i.e. students. The conventional methods do not yield findings that are accepted amongst the diverse range of professionals and communities involved in procuring, designing, maintaining, and inhabiting school buildings. We know that school buildings matter, but we have a limited understanding of why or, indeed, how they matter.

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