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Higher Education Design Trends

New and existing colleges and universities are looking to improve the quality of their interiors for aesthetic and health/environmental reasons to attract new students and to prepare current ones for the demands and expectations of the work force. Here are some recent higher education design trends to suggest to your college or university clients:

Going Green

This phrase has been used ad-nauseum for a variety of reasons, but when it comes to interior classroom spaces, going green can lead to a healthier and more productive working environment for instructors and students. In addition to creating sustainable classrooms that include refurnished furniture that has been recycled instead of thrown away, green classrooms are centered around natural light sources. Getting natural light through windows will reduce utility costs and improve students’ overall productivity since humans respond better to natural light than fluorescent bulbs. Window treatments that can darken the room are important for lectures that require a projector or other source of light without the distraction of natural light. 

For health reasons, classrooms and buildings should be furnished with desks, carpet systems, and paints that are low VOC to improve air quality and reduce the amount of toxins circulating throughout the buildings’ air filtration systems. Students are becoming more and more aware of the impact that the Going Green movement has on their health and are more likely to consider the sustainability of a college or university when they are making enrollment decisions than students were even one generation ago.

Focus on Collaboration

The business world is becoming more and more focused on collaboration versus individual action, and college and university classrooms should reflect this in their pedagogy and their classrooms. Institutions of higher education should consider how they want their students to learn. Some ways to encourage collaboration in the classroom include:

  • Long tables instead of individual desks
  • Circular formation instead of straight rows
  • Movable furniture that can easily transport around the room
  • Outlets throughout classrooms for laptops

Providing comfortable meeting spaces for students to meet before or after class carries the collaboration outside of the classroom and makes it inviting for students to work together. They also provide comfortable spaces for professors to meet with students individually or as groups.

Today’s student is getting ready for a new workforce, one that is concerned with the environment and one that expects a high level of collaborative effort. For more information on what buildings of higher education should be considering when they are designing buildings and classrooms, contact us today.