Restorative Environments for Wellness and Well-being

Learning involves complex cognitive processes. However, too much focused attention on tasks or multiple tasks can cause mental fatigue and related health issues. Howe can we create learning environments that help restore and shift a student's focus in order to give them the brain break they need to be able to reset; restorative spaces that can nourish the mind, body and spirit. Stephen Kaplan, one of the original developers of attention restoration theory, defined the four characteristics of the physical environment that contribute to recovery from directed attention fatigue: soft fascination, the sense of being away, extent, and compatibility. Through several learning environment case studies, we demonstrate the success of incorporating restorative spaces that create opportunities for students, faculty and staff to take the breaks they need. Spaces for relaxation, reflection and rest integrated into the learning environment is crucial in supporting the physical, mental and emotional health for the entire campus community. In addition, we will discuss the planning processes that enabled the design team to better understand the unique needs of the users.

Learning Objectives:
1. Understand the importance and difference between wellness and well-being.
2. Explore Kaplan's attention restoration theory and how it applies to learning environments.
3. Discuss the planning process to understand how to achieve a deeper connection to student and staff well-being.
4. Outline strategies on how to integrate restorative spaces into the design of learning spaces.

Jomay Chan, Educational Facility Planner, LPA Design Studios
An A4LE Advanced Academy graduate, Jomay has dedicated her career to educational facilities planning and architectural project management. Jomay has been with LPA for 18 years and has led district-wide Facility Master Planning processes and facilitated steering committees, community engagement activities, educational user group and operations and maintenance committee meetings. As an Educational Facility Planner, she has assisted districts in developing educational program vision and standards, design guidelines and conceptual master plan programming.

Julie Zoellin Cramer, PhD, Education Research Consultant, Wayfind Education
Dr. Julie Zoellin Cramer is the founder and vice-president of Wayfind Education. As an education research consultant, Dr. Cramer is dedicated to the development of deeper learning environments to help all students find their place of impact in the world. As a school design strategist, she works with integrated design firms, districts and schools to align learning and teaching goals with physical learning spaces.

Winston Bao, Design Director, Programming & Furniture Services, LPA Design Studios
Winston has over 25 years of professional experience and has dedicated his career to focusing on how design can influence experiences and, ultimately, shape quality of life. As an Associate and (CID), he has designed high-performance learning environments for all ages. With career highlights in the education segment, his ongoing passion has been working with clients to deliver solutions that provide practical value and celebrate their unique culture. 

Association for Learning Environments (A4LE)

LearningSCAPES 2021

October 14-17
Hyatt Regency | Denver, CO