Learning Spaces

From DT Online

It is clear that children at different ages experience different activities and these demand different types and sizes of spaces. It is clear also that different subject areas make their own demands on the design of learning spaces.

The aim should be to create spaces which are:

  • Agile - allowing users to change the organisation of the space in minutes to suit the activities at that instant.
  • Flexible - such that different Learning styles can be accommodated lesson to lesson and spaces may be linked together for example
  • Adaptable - to suit longer term changes arising from changes in the curriculum or the size of the school population for example.

Describing Spaces

The Schedule of Accommodation lists the type, number and size of spaces required for each school and the technical requirements for each space. There needs to be sufficient spaces of an appropriate size and type to suit the number of students and the planned range of activities.

For each space listed, designers will have to think about:

  • unique reference number, name, type of space and the number of each space type required.
  • area of each space and how this compares with national guidelines
  • details of how the spaces will be used

Create a Schedule

Look around the space you are sitting in and complete a table for it similar to the example shown below.

Image that you had to do this for a whole school - and even before it is built!

Reference number Type of Space Floor Area Number of occupants Number required Group Services Description of use
a unique number to identify each space room name and type (e.g. classroom, workshop, store, etc.) measure the floor area in square metres and, if possible, compare this with national guidelines the number of pupils or students the space needs to accommodate the number of this type of space needed (e.g. 6 science labs) the name of the subject area, department, zone of faculty each room is associated with (e.g. Maths) list the services required (e.g. water, gas, electrics, IT, heating, ventilation) what is the space used for and are there any special requirements (e.g. does it link to other spaces, is there any community use, does it need to be on the ground floor)

Space design

All spaces, including circulation spaces, within a new school, provide opportunities for new thinking . . . and why do all Learning Spaces need to be inside the building?

  • Faraday Project

Project Faraday was a major research and design project to radically rethink how science is taught in schools and develop designs for new science facilities in UK schools. The main outputs which we produced from Project Faraday can be accessed HERE.

  • Outdoor Learning

Project Faraday was a major research and design project in 2007 to radically rethink how science is taught in schools and develop designs for new science facilities in UK schools. The Project Faraday designers were very imaginative in their treatment of external spaces for science. Creating external teaching spaces using the natural environment and including items such as space sign posts, large sundials, interactive pavements and glass sided ponds.

  • what would emerge if such a project could be focussed on Design and Technology - ‘Project Brunel’ or ‘Project da Vinci’ perhaps?
  • what ideas might you have for the design of an outdoor learning space for Design and Technology?
  • what activities might go into such a space?

To find out more about Project Faraday go to

Circulation Spaces

Spaces should be designed to be as multi-functional as possible - even Circulation Spaces can have at least 3 uses.

For example :

  • movement between spaces
  • display
  • storage
  • break-out area
  • demonstration space
  • collaborative work area
  • social meeting place
  • dining, cáfe or bistro

. . . and all Learning Spaces need to accommodate a variety of teaching positions.