Architectural Design for Learning: Lessons in Lighting
When students learn in a classroom today, a wide variety of learning activities fill their day. Students learn in almost all parts of the classroom and when designed correctly, all parts have a purpose. Architectural design for learning means that an architect has provided space for a quality educational experience – and it is interesting to understand where lighting fits into the big picture.
Randall Fielding has written a paper, Learning, Lighting and Color, which is quite informative as it describes where educational architecture has been and where it should be today. He explains how students do not think and learn in a “linear path”; thus the surrounding architecture (and lighting) should reflect this. In addition, Learning, Lighting and Color explores how architecture should “nurture a broad array of learning styles” as each student learns differently.(1)
As diverse lighting types are combined, educational environments can capitalize on different lighting effects for different uses. In the paper, Fielding explains that when codes call for a “uniform brightness of 55 foot candles in academic spaces”, this unvarying illumination does not provide for different types of learning within a classroom.(1) Learning spaces should me multi-faceted as they provide for students to learn individually, in groups, by listening to a lecture, by conducting an experiment, by socializing and so on.
A school’s design should not only motivate students; it should simultaneously guide their focus and inspire curiosity. Randall Fielding explains that “[s]cience education at its best takes advantage of all of our senses […]”.(1) Wouldn’t it be great to learn by doing more than just reading from a textbook and listening to a lecture? More hands-on experience or interactive digital media tutorials can really work to make learning more meaningful.
(1) Fielding, Randall. Learning, Lighting and Color. DesignShare.com. 2006.