A natural choice: HLM designs future learning spaces

Image credit: Rob McDougall

DESIGN and architecture practice, HLM, has utilised biophilic designs to transform existing teaching classrooms throughout the University of Glasgow campus.

The firm said that with “significant research” indicating that levels of productivity increase in environments containing natural elements, HLM has refurbished the spaces with forward-thinking designs and aspects of nature, particularly in rooms with limited access to natural daylight.

In partnership with the University of Glasgow and its Inspiring Spaces Group, HLM has completed this second phase of the Active Learning Spaces Pilot Rooms project. These new spaces will inform the design of future learning and teaching estate across the campus.

The biophilic designs include the use of natural materials, textures and patterns as well as lighting with variable temperature settings which HLM said respond to the body’s circadian rhythm. The result is teaching spaces that are said to increase comfort levels and provide more relaxed learning environments for the students.

David Greig, associate at HLM said, “We are working closely with the University of Glasgow to evaluate what elements and aspects contribute to the most active learning spaces, and then we plan to incorporate these designs in the broader Learning and Teaching Hub project which is due to be completed in 2019.”

Aline Browers, senior interior designer at HLM added, “We are really excited about the project and have received positive feedback from the students already. The design truly brings the outdoors into the learning space, allowing us to move away from the traditional classroom and create inspiring environments.”

Karen Lee, director of strategy, performance & transformation at the University of Glasgow commented, “The refurbishment of the rooms to create active learning spaces is a fantastic opportunity for the university to test and understand what designs will be most successful in our new developments and buildings. We are really impressed with how HLM have transformed the spaces to enable more interactive and flexible teaching, and can see how it is having a positive effect on the student community.”