The poll question trending on www.ASUmag.com currently is “Does your school or university offer spaces and furniture that are flexible enough to accommodate new approaches to instruction and learning?”
Much of the focus on education facilities typically revolves around large, holistic concepts such as sustainability; safety and security; daylighting; energy efficiency; indoor air quality and healthy schools. The incorporation of furniture and furnishings, and how it interacts and functions in an educational setting, often gets only a cursory look. Yet, its impact on the learning environment should not be underestimated.
Education construction continues to be the largest nonresidential building construction market in America. At an annual rate of more than $74 billion, the massive amount of dollars spent on school and university facilities impacts communities everywhere. And how the interiors are planned, designed and furnished will determine how successful these facilities will be in nurturing this and the next generation of students.
Today’s education spaces must be flexible and include a variety of furniture and furnishings types to accommodate myriad teaching and learning styles. And all spaces of a school facility should be looked at as “learning” spaces, as today’s dynamic does not confine teaching and learning to the classroom—putting more emphasis on the importance of how the interior spaces are designed, furnished and subsequently used.
Perhaps the largest event in the interiors industry is next month’s NeoCon at Chicago’s historic Merchandise Mart. Attendees will be exposed to some of the most innovative and inspiring products available for interior spaces—with many that are ideal for use in education environments. Among some of the companies that will be showcasing innovative interiors products targeted to education are Construction Specialties, Forbo, Metroflor, Patcraft, Smith System and Tandus Centiva. We’ll be at the show and will be sure to feature some of these products in future issues of American School & University.
So, does your school or university offer spaces and furniture that are flexible enough to accommodate new approaches to instruction and learning? Weigh in at www.ASUmag.com.