Thursday, 17 March 2011

Queensland University of Technology

Derek Powell of UQ was good enough to introduce me to John Vikstrom of QUT. I am starting to get abbreviation  burn out and I have not been to RMIT yet. It occurs to me that Aberystwyth University is AU which if said in the wrong tone could come out as Hey You and start all sorts of trouble.

Anyway John gave me a comprehensive tour of the campus for which I am grateful.
Here are some pics.
This is part of a suite of 3 rooms that have connecting sliding doors. John and I discussed the pros and cons of this method of dividing spaces. I am not a great fan of them if the rooms are centrally time tabled for reasons I have discussed in other forums. Perhaps John will explain more about this set up and how often the room configuration is changed.

Good use of colour and the tables can be rearranged as you can see in the next picture.

This picture shows the in house developed teaching station. It was part of the design remit to get away from a lectern based teaching station to encourage the teacher to walk about. However it is noticeable that a segment of table has been placed near the equipment console. I suspect this is for the teacher's notes etc so I am not convinced this has been 100% successful but an interesting approach.
Is this correct John?

The next three picture are of an area directly outside the rooms shown above. I liked these very much. There are two sunken areas with computing provision connected to a large format screen. I saw both areas used by students before and after classes and used as a lunch area also.
I have often thought that areas such as these would be very useful for the lecturers to discuss matters with students at the end of the lecture so as to allow the next class to start on time.
Do architects and designers always consider the spaces directly outside the lecture theatre?
Notice the glass roof letting all that day light in. Fantastic.

Another teaching room with similar shape tables to the teardrop shape Peter often uses.
Once aging daylight plays an important factor in the room. of course where there is lots of day light and data projection good quality black out is essential. I know this seems like an obvious statement but it is often not considered or an area where 'savings' are made.

This area is the student support desk in a library and is brand spanking new.
The desk was designed in house by a member of John's team. It has two levels to allow for sitting or standing with a client.

An interesting thing about this area relates to something I mentioned in the blogs 'Accounting for the Human Condition' and ' Should human instinct be considered in the learning space design process?'

In the last of these pics you will see a glass wall with a small bookshelf, this was installed after the space had been in use because the staff did not like that students could approach from behind and tap them on the shoulder to gain attention, they found it threatening.

Once again I am very grateful to my host John Vikstrom. Thanks John.

These pics were sent by John to help with Az's comment.


  1. Hi Nigel, more really good and useful stuff. In the first picture of the student help desk in the library, in the background there appears lots of social space with a variety of soft furnishings and tables, I would like to see more photo's of that area if you managed to take any. These types of spaces are lacking here at Newcastle and it would be good to see how this was developed in relation to a help desk area. If John can add to this that would be good. Many thanks. Az

  2. Az
    I was unable to get anymore pictures of this area due to student activity. If John can get some and mail them to me I will post them.

  3. Thanks for the feedback Nigel, hope John can do the biz :-) I'm a bit disappointed that the comments on the blog are not very forthcoming considering the number of views it's getting !!!! Are people too shy to post ? Come on people lets have your input to this as thats the best way for us all to be able to move forward in the learning spaces design. Doesn't matter if you don't know what you're talking about, me and Nigel haven't a clue either LOL ;-)

    Best wishes, Az.

  4. But key thing is we are learning from Nigels visit down under :-)

  5. Az
    I would also like more comments. I want people to use this blog as a vehicle for discussion and debate. We are fortunate to have the collegiate spirit and not be restrained in the way private companies are.
    Let’s celebrate that and use it to the benefit of all.

  6. John kindly sent me three photographs which I have now added to the post.


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