Challenging Spaces for Learning: through research, design, education, learning

Published: Tuesday 13 August 2013

In August 2013, CEFPI members enjoyed a tour of the QUT Kelvin Grove campus library during which they learnt about the nature of the recent redevelopment project in which the spaces, places and design of the previous library were challenged by changing circumstances and the presage of learning and learners in contemporary times.

The tour of the library provided a worthwhile overview of the redevelopment and was followed by presentations by QUT staff, the architects and the leader of a research study.

Over 40 CEFPI members had the opportunity to view all levels of the multistorey library building. Of particular interest were the multiple furniture and accommodation styles employed by the architects to create a variety of different environments for users. These ranged from quiet, individual areas to group, social spaces and utilised a number of different seating and studying styles.

The presentations by QUT staff highlighted for members some of the practical aspects of the design including useful observations such as students' preferences for furniture styles, mobility of equipment and even the best style of whiteboards.

The architects, PeddleThorp and James Cubitt, outlined their approach to the design of the refurbished spaces and discussed some of the challenges they faced.

Dr Hilary Hughes, Senior Lecturer and Co-ordinator of the Master of Education (Teacher-Librarianship) and the Master of Education (Information and Learning) in the Faculty of Education at QUT provided an overview of the recent study: 'Reimagining Learning Spaces'.

The purpose of the study was to conduct an empirical study that would result in findings to inform the design and use of physical school facilities and examine the ways in which these constructions influence pedagogy. The study focused on newly-established school libraries in Queensland, many of which had been established with funding from the Federal Government's Building the Education Revolution economic stimulus program.

CEFPI members will benefit from the study's findings and recommendations due to their direct relevance to the facilities planning undertaken.

The activity was kindly sponsored by ASV Audio and the group heard briefly from their MANAGING Director, Rod Fishwick, regarding the wide range of services they offer.


Mike Keily

CEFPI Member