Every now and then a relatively modest brushstroke has a transformative impact. That is the case with this project. The Nexus Learning Hubs reimagined a series of traditional learning spaces into two light-infused interactive classrooms. The reaction to them by students is causing instructors across the campus to drastically rethink their approach to teaching.
The classrooms are located in Hayward Hall, a mid-century, art-deco revival structure that is one of the busiest buildings on main campus. Traditional in nature, most of the classrooms in this building are modest in size with desks and chairs arranged in rows facing the front of the classroom.
The redesign threw this approach on its head, creating completely flexible spaces that can be re-configured rapidly to accommodate a variety of activities in a single session. The rooms feature bright, modern furniture that is movable and multi-purposed, affording near effortless transitions from one configuration to another. Small clusters of collaborative seating, as well as lounge seating, give students the opportunity to spread out and work in a dynamic environment that feels comfortable to them while facilitating team-based, collaborative learning. The addition of interior hall windows showcases the activity inside, which is visible from the main lobby.
Based on research conducted by the University, the bright and airy design seems to increase the energy and attentiveness of students. Meanwhile, the design is pushing instructors to try new approaches to active, collaborative learning.
– Philadelphia University Faculty Member