QLD Symposium: Creating Learning Environments for Wellbeing

Published: Tuesday 30 July 2019

The Queensland Chapter's Creating Learning Environments for Wellbeing Symposium hosted by QUT at the new Faculty of Education Building was well attended.

The Symposium opened with a talk by Janet Buchan on Frameworks for Education Design derived from national research projects. Frameworks discussed included CAFEBAR design principles, COALFACE design philosophy, and the E3C model for learning space design.

This was followed by presentations from Jill Willis, Hilary Hughes, and Jill Franz, the co-authors of the now available book School Spaces for Student Wellbeing and Learning. Each presentation focus on a different approaches to wellbeing’s conceptualisation and incorporation into current pedagogy and school design.

Hilary Hughes, Jill Franz, Janet Buchan, and Jill Willis

Following this, a robust panel discussion featuring Hamilton Wilson (Wilson Architects), Kathryn Bekavac (BCE), Ray Giarola (Giarola Architects), and Jill Wills (QUT), and facilitated by LEA Committee member Derek Bartels took place. The panel discussed topics ranging from recent media commentary on the education sector, the value of wide consultation with project stakeholders and the need for more research into education facilities in Australia.

Derek Bartels, Jill Willis, Kathryn Bekavac, Hamilton Wilson, and Ray Giarola

LEAQ members were then able to tour the Peter Coaldrake Education Precinct.   Intended as a statement to the community about QUT’s commitment to the training and development of educators, the Precinct is very elegantly detailed with a focus on textured finishes, plants and acoustic treatments.   

The scheme, designed by Wilsons Architects and Henning Larsen, consists of a glazed form nestled into the steeply sloping site of the previous E Block. The existing terrain is addressed via a series of internal, verdant landscaped terraces, pulling the outdoors into the heart of the building, and blurring the boundaries between what is inside or out. Above these terraces floats a three storey atrium, providing ample light, circulation and connection to the adjacent library building, and abundant places to gather.

Peter Coaldrake Education Precinct – Landscaped Terraces

The design encourages peer to peer learning and collaboration, with the added benefit of illustrating to  pre-service teachers the benefits of this approach.  Accordingly, the design is based around the creation of opportunities for informal learning rather than traditional lecture theatres, with clusters of flexible learning areas.  

Article: Kerri May, Bickerton Masters Architecture
Photos: Kerri May, Katerina Dracopoulos, James Lewis