Woods Bagot has restructured their in-house education sector with the new leadership appointments.

Sarah Ball, the new Global Leader of Education, will oversee the sector while continuing to be extensively involved with clients, research and projects encompassing the Australian, New Zealand and ASEAN regions.

Alan Duffy will move into the role of Australian Regional Leader based in Sydney. Having been actively involved in the education sector over many years as a senior design leader of a series of successful projects including universities in Australasia and China, Duffy said the appointment provided many exciting challenges and opportunities.

Duffy observes that diversity and customisation of space continue to inform architecture, with adaptive and transformable components becoming more prevalent in design response. This creative approach, he noted, will help Woods Bagot continue to evolve their understanding of education paradigms through thoughtful and purposeful architecture and interior design that inspires and stimulates positive learning outcomes.

According to Duffy, universities are looking for ways to engage and partner with private enterprise as part of the education process. Noting that interconnectivity and social cohesion were part of the equation, he added that it was important for them to be adaptable to these trends.

Two of the major issues facing the Australian education sector today are competition between universities and education funding, with Innovation and Science being targeted as the main levers to stimulate economic growth. There is also an increasing trend to attract international students, which requires a need for more dedicated student accommodation. The emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurial talent requires universities to evaluate their asset management and space utilisation much more to facilitate collaborative and creative learning environments that will support the next generation of knowledge sharing.

Duffy will work closely with the Education leaders in each of the Australian Studios: Sarah Howden (Adelaide), Sarah McMahon (Brisbane), Emma-Louise Hannigan, Albert Fraval (Melbourne), William Schofield (Perth) and Chris Sava (Sydney).

Globally, Jo Dane and Kenn Fisher will continue to lead Education Futures, the consulting arm of the Woods Bagot Education Sector, which is focused on leading academics and designers on the future of learning environments.

Image: Alan Duffy and Sarah Ball