Making Room – customizing the classroom planning process


Nicola Springer
Kirksey Architecture

Michael La Nasa
Kirksey Architecture

Michelle Old
Kirksey Architecture

LU: 1

Learning Units/Health, Safety, Welfare (LU/HSW)

How applies to HSW:

21st century Learning environments with a focus on flexibility and adaptability and allowing for student independence cannot be designed with out considering the furniture that will be used in them. Furniture can clutter spaces and cause hazards from an accessibility point of view, and certain configurations can leave some students out. through a discussion about planning and the improvement of the quality of spatial design this will address issues that are relevant to HSW


This session will explore how a playful and collaborative programming process, can allow for the creation of unique and engaging learning spaces. By addressing the issue of furniture early in the design process, educators should think about not just having the right number of seats but the types of spatial arrangements and the quality of environments that engage all types of learners. This session will be in a work shop format where participants get to test an analog version of an interactive process that we hope to reproduce as an APP. Participants will learn about the value of considering the design and layout of furniture as part of their process, and some of the strategies for optimizing the spatial experience where educational design is concerned.

Learning Objectives:
  • Understand how to layout furniture with universal design and accessibility in mind
  • Understand how to engage the user in creating and utilizing flexible learning spaces that will promote healthy movements and posture in the students
  • How to specify furniture for specialty spaces, libraries, maker spaces, examine the ergonomic effects on safety and accessibility
  • Provide strategies for planning furniture layouts that work with the building design


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:

Process: Content of this session/workshop will focus on the importance of quality processes and practices implemented by the project team when creating learning environments. The who, what, when and how of various disciplines and applications.

Secondary 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.

Additional information:

This interactive workshop will take the format of a series of brief presentations and hands on group exercises. The exercises will challenge the participants to think about and program their spaces from the perspective of furniture and the quality of the learning environment and the advantage of engaging the educator and the designer in a conversation about what is in the room.