Designing inclusive, alternative and flexible learning environments for schools



Architecture & Design released a recent article that focuses on how it is important to engage learning environments in order to create a sense of place, purpose and community for students and staff. A recent project was developed in Hester Hornbrook Academy, Australia, which involved design and research, and that proved the importance of authentic inclusive design.


Let’s review the most interesting findings:


  • When it comes to designing a campus, it is important to understand the diverse experiences, backgrounds and needs of students. This will create learning environments that promote collaboration, connection, fosters a sense of safety and belonging and helps also unifying the variety of personalities, by being respectful of the needs of all.


  • The key: a community-focussed approach. Schools should be designed in order to reflect a relational pedagogy and it should also support a network of staff and community wellbeing services.


  • What should be featured? Variety of learning hubs, mindfulness spaces and recreational facilities that empower students to engage and handle their educational journey.“Inclusive and trauma-informed design principles were the foundation for HHA, and we worked closely with the Hester Hornbrook team to realise these outcomes”.


  • Interior design should offer a calm sensory stimulation for students throughout the day. “Study areas have been created with a range of furniture options and a balanced mix of colour hues, materials and textural finishes. This variety gives students the choice of which spaces they use, and more importantly, how they are able to use them”.


  • Biophilia should be considered since it always promotes physical and mental wellbeing. Plants can create mindfulness through the connection to nature “and these nature motifs extend to other interior details like furniture upholstery and calming colour palettes”.


  • It is recommended to offer functional spaces that look to engage physical activity and team building, since it can create a vibrant campus culture and community. “An internal basketball court, fitness rooms and impromptu recreation spaces encourage healthy work-play habits for students and support positive lifestyle practices which students will adopt for life”.


At MKThink we are also looking at how learning environments can adapt to our evolving needs over time and how those spaces are designed considering factors such as wellbeing and safety.


To read more: https://www.architectureanddesign.com.au/features/comment/key-learnings-from-designing-inclusive-alternative



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