Why Creativity in the Classroom Starts with How it’s Designed and Built
We are all responsive to our environment, which is why designing the right learning environment is so critical for creativity and attainment. If creativity is one of the skills we want to nurture in young people, it follows that we need to be creative about how learning spaces are designed.
In fact, there’s plenty of evidence to show that room layout, lighting, ventilation and colours can be just as important as the latest learning technology in helping students to achieve more and be more creative.
But does a more creative learning space mean a higher cost? In 2020, it really shouldn’t. For one thing we are not constrained by traditional building methods where any added design complexity can ramp up the project budget and add financial and timing risks.
Those risks can make designers and contractors nervous about adopting ambitious designs. But MMC featuring panelised offsite construction is an effective way to control those risks. It’s a design-led process coupled with precise manufacturing of components – so however ambitious the design, the buildability and cost are assured.
Environment and Learning Outcomes
So, what does that mean in practice? Designers and architects can feel less constrained. They can concentrate on the outcome and the type of learning environment they want to create. The flexibility of the panelised offsite product usually means that there is a cost-effective and reliable way to make that vision a reality.
Precision manufacturing also means that large window openings can be specified without having to be concerned about the fit and any leaks or draughts. That precision and engineered-in performance also ensure that the new learning space will be warm in winter and cool in summer without a massive input from HVAC systems.
If you want to see what a visionary learning space could look like this £24m build at West Nottinghamshire College will give you an idea. In this case, SIPs were used to wrap the steel structure. The result was a striking, state-of-the-art, thermally efficient building delivered to a tight schedule.
As we enter a new phase of education frameworks and school building programmes, being creative about how we build will help students of the future be more creative about how they learn. SIP building systems should be part of achieving that aim.