Ace the Space: Designing Effective Learning Environments without thinking about furniture


Jon Moroney
Kendall College of Art and Design

Alan Rheault


1 Learning Units (LU)

How applies to HSW:

Why should we begin designing classrooms by first discussing issues like risk management or the school’s relationship with the community? Why should an Architect or Designer care about what’s keeping a Superintendent up at night? We will demonstrate how starting with high level educational system concerns can lead to insights that will inform design decisions within specific educational spaces. We will share a design thinking approach from an Industrial Designer’s perspective, showing how our frameworks of Understanding Key Concerns and Needs of the Learning Environment, plus a set of specific design principles called ACE, have lead us to discover new insights into creating effective learning environments. We will share a design exploration case study that will demonstrate how beginning with high level concerns of the school (concerns that may seem to have nothing to do with space or furniture) can actually be tied directly to solutions that affect an individual student and the classroom environment. We will share how we “ACE the Space”.

Learning Objectives:
  • Discover why you should start a learning environment design project by understanding key concerns of a school that may appear to have nothing to do with space or furniture ;
  • Learn how to discover all the needs of an educational environment
  • Learn about a specific set of design principles to activate key learnings and insights;
  • Learn how a recent design exploration leveraged frameworks and design principles to create a more effective learning environment
Primary Competency:

Design of Educational Facilities: Acts as a resource to the design team in providing ongoing guidance and support to ensure that the emerging and ultimate design aligns with the established community vision, education goals, future programming, written design standards, best/next practices and education policy.

Primary Domain:

Toolbox: Content of this session/workshop will focus on the approaches, methods and applications when transitioning from design and concept into reality, actual existence through quality performance, execution and/or product.

Secondary Domain:

Context: Content of this session/workshop will focus on the circumstances that form the setting for the design and construction of specific learning environments and characteristics that distinguishes the project from other applications.

Additional information: We would like to share our Industrial Designer point of view and methods on how to design effective learning environments.  Industrial Designers are trained Human Centered Design Thinkers, we begin our design process by understanding the problems to be solved at the highest level.  We use research, find insights and prototype to refine our solutions. We are not just furniture designers, we are experience designers. Architects and Interior Designers often want to design furniture but are typically too eager to jump to solutions …the shiny object. HereÕs the secret, it’s not about the furniture!