Monday, 3 August 2009

Indoor outdoor spaces...

Visiting a new office block recently I was asked what I thought of the new foyer, really a covered courtyard. Despite the pouring rain, it was light and very airy. Whilst some attempt had been made to create a welcoming reception with informal seating for visitors, it was still a bit stark for me. I like minimalism but even allowing for circulation space the furniture did look like a bit of an afterthought.

What I really did like was the informal seating in all the window areas on all the other floors looking over the courtyard. People were meeting informally, eating and working extremely hard in a relaxed comfortable environment. I was told that those seats were very popular already and people often met and worked there by choice. Doesn't that say something as so many working environments are being reconfigured to be less formal? (Obviously, before someone challenges me, there are also spaces for formal meetings as well!)

As we continue to design schools there is much that can be learnt from a number of non education work environments. Interestingly, there is a trend of Heads and teachers looking at spaces that have nothing to do with education and incorporating what they see there in to new schools to make more effective working environments. At last - hooray!

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