Well designed classrooms can make a 25% difference in alumni performance, according to a study made by the University of Salford in Manchester, and architects Nightingale Associates.
Educational buildings are one of the most regulated buildings of all, sometimes so regulated that makes the possibilities of design complicated; this is what is happening right now in the UK with the change in the regulations that defines the norms for educational design, which is being questioned by architects and thanks to this kind of studies they have more tools to refute this changes.
These studies were conducted for a year and it took place in seven Blackpool LEA primary schools in the UK, where they studied the environmental conditions of several classrooms with different alumni groups evaluating two main aspects:
1. First it was gathered information on more than 750 pupils, obtaining their academic performance in math, as well as reading and writing when the study started and on the end of it.
2. the environmental information of the classrooms were the classes were being held, evaluating their spatial comfort with parameters such as illumination, ventilation, noise control, temperature and orientation; and also parameters related to sensorial design as colour, height, tidyness, flexibility of the space, organization.
As it is stated in the study at least a 73% of the variations of the pupil´s performance in class could be explained thanks to these by the building environment parameters measured.
“It has long been known that various aspects of the built environment impact on people in buildings, but this is the first time a holistic assessment has been made that successfully links the overall impact directly to learning rates in schools. The impact identified is in fact greater than we imagined and the Salford team is looking forward to building on these clear results.”
Professor Peter Barrett, School of the Built Environment, University of Salford
“This will support designers and educators in targeting investment in school buildings to where it will have the most impact, whether new build or refurbishment.”
Caroline Paradise of Nightingale Associates‘ THiNK
studies like this one reveals that there is a tremendous importance in the design of a building, showing that it could make a big impact if is compared a well designed space with a bad designed space, let´s keep this in mind when we make our policies and let´s focus on desing more than in something else so something like this don´t happen again.
IF you want to check the results of the conducted study, these have been accepted in an international peer reviewed journal: the permanent link is http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2012.09.016[P.S.Barrett, Y. Zhang, J. Moffat and K.Kobbacy (2012). “An holistic, multi-level analysis identifying the impact of classroom design on pupils’ learning.”Building and Environment.]
I leave you some good examples of Leed designed schools.
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