Designing future FE & HE Learning Environments

19 Oct 2022
Design Stage

Nothing is permanent except change: design and use trends across education’s built environment - Richard Golledge & Richard Mallinson, IBI Group

Over the past decade, further & higher education sectors across the UK have witnessed technological change, shifts in economic and social factors, Government policy and resourcing and last but not least a global public health emergency.

Celebrating Education Estates’ tenth anniversary, we’ll investigate how and why these factors have driven significant innovation in the design, build and maintenance of education estates. Our paper seeks to explore IBI Group’s experience of key trends and design responses, with ‘take away’ learning points for further and higher education conference delegates when assessing future design and refurbishment projects. Key points include:

  • Optimising design for better estate flexibility, resilience, and whole life cycle
  • Design practices for supporting extended tertiary education and new forms of vocational & employer-led learning
  • Estate master planning & rationalisation to better support FE-HE collaboration in delivering ‘skills for jobs’ and lifelong learning
  • The lecture theatre is dead - reconsidering the learner’s blended collaborative needs, alongside motivational inclusive learning spaces, when designing space and smart campuses
  • Likely futures for HE space and utilisation standards, in the context of tuition fee income, international markets and student demand for tangible facilities and equipment
  • From beer hall to private dining - collaboration trends in private sector-led development of estate and accommodation
  • Mental health, wellbeing, and wellness, and how design of education estates has responded

Future Learning Environments – aligning learning and space to the fast-shifting paradigm - Afshan McKay, Associate Director, Bond Bryan

With our rapidly changing world and the diverse forces shaping the future, it is imperative that we adapt our approach to learning; to prepare the future generations for the evolving career prospects in an environment which responds not only to technological advancements but also addresses the big cultural shift toward flexible learning, well-being and a user-centred approach. This presentation will explore key emerging themes and their impact on our learning environments. It will share concepts and ideas from across the world and offer food for thought on how we could align our learning spaces to reflect an education model for modern times.

Collaboration in HE / Public Private Partnerships the future for higher education - Laura Sherliker, Fairhursts Design Group

Businesses and governments are facing the challenge of high levels of youth unemployment and a shortage of job seekers with critical skills. The landscape of space is undergoing a radical transformation. In the workplace a period of unprecedented change has created a mix of responses observable worldwide - the need for less space, better distributed space, high tech environments – and we are seeing learning environments following suit. If we can shape and develop partnerships/communities that bring significant societal and environmental impact by putting learning at the centre of our lives, blending all aspects into one seamless experience through the development of collaborative space.


Lucy Plumridge, Associate Director - HLM Architects
Richard Golledge, Studio Principal - IBI Group
Richard Mallinson, Associate Studio Director - IBI Group
Afshan McKay, Associate Director - Bond Bryan
Laura Sherliker, Director - Fairhursts Design Group



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