In late October, Kansas City welcomed the EDspaces 2017 Conference and Expo; a destination for professionals who design, equip, and manage creative learning environments. Our Interiors department was represented by interior designer Heather Winkel and AIA|LEED Green Associate Karen Knauss. Our team had the opportunity to learn more about the future of educational facilities through innovative school design tours, accredited EDsessions featuring experts in the field, and exploring new product developments at the EDspaces furniture exhibit. They also made sure to eat some great KC barbecue and shoot hoops at the all-industry EDfest Party held at The College Basketball Experience!
The Olathe West High School tour gave our designers an insightful look into the transformation of classrooms. The traditional classroom boundaries have expanded to accommodate a wide variety of teaching and learning styles. In a fluid and flexible space, students can engage as a whole, collaborate in small groups, and have ownership of personal space for individual study. The Olathe West model emphasizes how large open “Blended Learning” environments with adaptable seating areas and furniture types can benefit students, allowing several disciplines to comfortably function within the same space. Smaller collaboration rooms with windows offer students a breakout area while maintaining a visual and physical connection to the classroom and instructor.
As design for learning environments evolve, we at LSW continually seek a deeper understanding of how to successfully address the needs and challenges facing schools today and looking forward. Each school we design is in pursuit of creating a richer learning environment that serves our community best.