Designing for Education

The agony and ecstasy of delivering to the public sector:
the challenges and opportunities for architecture and design.

In January FX magazine Editor Theresa Dowling hosted a group of top designers, architects, clients and key collaborators at our Great Portland Street showroom in London. The guests were invited to discuss the challenges of interior design for education.

The participants were asked to consider how key stakeholders cooperate for the greater good, what progress has been made through various era’s, whether money is the deciding factor in the search for excellence in designing for education and to share examples of successful (and unsuccessful) design in the sector.

The various guests were uniquely placed to give opinions from all angles as to what state education design is in. Participants included KSS Architects, Penoyre & Prasad (architecture), Hawkins\Brown (architects), CleverSpaces (interiors), Bowmer & Kirkland (build), Blacc Consulting, the Sheffield UTC Academy Trust and the principal of John Madejski Academy.

To spark discussions, the following questions were asked:
•   Are new schools fit for purpose? What is that purpose and who evaluates it?
•   How has design changed over 50 years? What’s new or radical in design?  How has designing for schools changed in the UK? How does UK education design compare with school design in Europe and the rest of the world?
•   Does improving school design lead to better results? What is most influential? How does school design compare to university design layout and other educational institutions? 
•   Does school design deliver best value, and who’s assessing the value?
•   Does the current investment in new schools deliver - who’s investing, who’s benefitting, who gets the credit and who gets the profit?

The conversation that ensued drew form a huge pool of knowledge, from those working in education, to those analysing the same spaces and some very experienced builders and designers of educational environments up and down the country. 

To find out what was contributed by the assembled experts look out for the April edition of FX Magazine.