Fulton Trotter Architects Education Forum

The landscape of Education is shifting. The ways in which we design learning spaces are constantly changing, sometimes so fast it can be hard to keep up!

On a mission to untangle the expanse of researched models and theories, Fulton Trotter Architects hosted Part II of our DAZED OR DAZZLING forum series, this time uniting a range of educational experts. Our speakers shared ideas on how to interpret and nurture innovation in the changing environments of learning institutions in order to design a brighter future.

To kick off the presentations we learned of ‘Eight Important Things that the Client didn’t ask for’ presented by our Director, Katerina Dracopoulos. She described the built environment as the ‘other teacher’ and shared some of the ‘Big Picture’ ideas and small details that Fulton Trotter Architects has employed to respond to our client’s needs – often answering much more than just the briefed requirements.

We then welcomed Professor Stephen Winn from The University of Southern Queensland. His presentation covered how good design assists in student engagement and the importance of adaptable learning environments that can provide comfort and accommodate change! His experience working with a school who renovated an abandoned shopping centre into a new learning environment in which the students responded positively, was particularly interesting.

The story of Ambrose Treacy College is unique and innovative in so many ways. In order to ‘thrive’ rather just ‘survive’ sometimes a large change is necessary. It was wonderful to hear from College Principal, Michael Senior, about the opportunities and challenges of their journey in transitioning from a junior school to a Year 4 – 12 college. Michael highlighted that it can be daunting to stray from strong college traditions but having a culture that maintains a student focus and is inclusive has meant successful outcomes in the delivery of their vision and Masterplan.

Doctor Tracie Harvison from Mackay Regional Council shared her research on the benefits of intergenerational learning and exchange between senior citizens and universities. She provided an insightful discussion on successful ways that academic communities are incorporating opportunities for older persons to participate and why these activities are of mutual benefit for all involved.

To close out our forum Steve Collis, Head of Strategy at Amicus, engaged our audience with insights on designing for emergence. Steve shared his experiences working with schools to transform both their learning environments and culture, by developing a strategy suited to their individual needs. A key emphasis of his talk illustrated that designing impressive, flexible spaces is not enough; it’s teaching people how to use the spaces that makes them a success!

Thank you to all who participated in the inspiring discussions evoked as part of this forum. From the five incredibly diverse perspectives, emerged a collective idea that we as designers need to become experts in listening. Having the skills to unpack and enhance the unique requirements of each individual school project is how we can best ensure a bright future.