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Education Spaces - A 5-point Fitout Checklist

School and University learning spaces are a long way from rows of desks and chairs with a blackboard out front.

The chief markers of a modern classroom fitout are flexibility, adaptability and sustainability.
Good planning and detailed discussion with a fitout team can cover all the main topics and produce a great report card at the end of the project.

So, to help with homework on this, here's a 5 point checklist.

1 Classroom design should maximise clean, green benefits.
Things like plenty of natural lighting and ventilation which can minimise the need for artificial heating and cooling at certain times of year should be at the top of the design and planning list.

2. Spaces should be thought of as home to both large groups and small groups sometimes all at the same time.
Private individual learning, collaborative learning, and small group work can all happen in the same space and at the same time. No need for fixed walls or closed doors.
Totally flexible, nicely adaptable and very sustainable, these are creative and active learning environments.
Walls which slide or fold, which have excellent acoustic abilities, and provide openness and closure are the go-to item in the modern school and university design and fitout.
These operable walls can be transparent with sound-rated glass or hold whiteboards, pinboards, fabric or acrylic panels the list is long!

3. Furniture choices should be considered as very much part of a learning fitout.
They need to pass the test of being modern, changeable, robust and adaptable.
Desks with adjustable heights, stools which double as tables, shelving which adapts to benches, stackable, light weight chairs, mobile lock-up storage carts for IPads and Laptops.
These are the essentials of a furniture fitout checklist.

4. Recyclable & Efficient Materials are a must.
Flooring made with recyclable backing, low VOC paints and glues, energy efficient lighting, efficient water fixtures, recyclable fabrics on walls and furniture all should be connected closely to a sustainable environment.

5. Aesthetics should always be on the agenda.
A space may be functional, but it has to instill energy and creativity, and that's where aesthetics enter the equation.
Pattern, colour, texture, scale, light are important factors. Opportunities for all of these are endless in an education fitout.
Think of incorporating shapes and colours on a wall or in the flooring, of textures in the furniture and playing around with scale in various ways.

Learning spaces should be part of the overall vision of the school or institution when planning a fitout.
Doing your homework on these 5 basics will mean passing  the test of flexibility, adaptability and sustainablity with flying colours.

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