Today I re-visited the The State Library of Victoria. I love this place it has books and things!
Whilst viewing the reading room I noticed this:
These students were attempting to collaborate. I studied them for about 10 minutes and noticed that the student on the left was unable to properly participate in the collaboration. This clearly indicates how straight rows of chairs are not desirable if collaboration is intended. I would like to say at this point that the space is, and probably never was, intended for collaboration. Never the less the picture illustrates the point.
So if the intention is to provide collaborative spaces the design of the tables is paramount as is the circulation capability within the room. Of course much of this is academic if the main objective of the space is to maximise the number of bums on seats. This approach eliminates the possibility of creativity for the design team, in fact if straight rows of desks with chairs is what is to be provided the project probably does not require a design team.
I also saw this quote from T.S.Elliot which I think is most appropriate for this post.