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Designing for the Future of Sustainable Learning

19 Oct 2022

Nothing is permanent except change: design and use trends across education’s built environment - Chris Pickup & 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

A holistic example of creating a socially sustainable education setting - Robert Hopkins, Director & Head of Sustainability, AHR & University of Huddersfield

The new 10,000 m2 Health and Wellbeing Building for the University of Huddersfield will be one of a handful of buildings designed to WELL Platinum and the first University building ever to achieve this accreditation. The university needed to house cutting-edge medical facilities, whilst accommodating the changing nature of applied education and learning in a university environment. Occupant wellbeing has been further prioritised, with the WELL Standard used as a design approach. Our presentation will explore how an innovative approach to education design can impact people’s health, influence how learning spaces are designed and inform the future of healthcare design.


Trevor Wills, Director of Estates & Facilities - University of Plymouth
Chris Pickup, Studio Director - IBI Group
Richard Mallinson, Associate Studio Director - Arcadis
Robert Hopkins, Director & Head of Sustainability - AHR



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