Being launched in Melbourne this week, Learning Spaces is the new book on education design by architect/education academics Clare Newton and Kenn Fisher.

Designing for education is a specialised business and requires expertise in contemporary educational models about how design influences and enhances learning, and can benefit the development of school and university communities and local neighbourhoods.

Learning Spaces is intended as an aid for better communication between designers and educators and explores the links between learning and design in its combination of journal articles and papers, case studies, interviews and advice from practitioners, professionals and academics.

Schools and curricula are changing. Young people today are natives in the world of information technology, and adept at learning using digital media. This increased connectivity between students and their local and global environments is transforming school environments from teaching institutions to learning organisations.

Schools are also becoming stronger assets for their local communities, with facilities used after hours and as a setting for lifelong learning. And briefs to architects are increasingly seeking design responses which address issues of sustainability.

“Space is irrevocably linked to teaching strategies. Elements such as the shape and size of the spaces, the furniture and finishes are silently influencing how teachers and students behave,” said Ms Newton.

Newton with Fisher joins a long line of successful Australian architectural researchers to publish books in the Australian Institute of Architects Take series after winning the 2008 Sisalation Prize. Previous recipients of the Institute’s award include Geoffrey London, Keith Cottier, Noel Robinson, Ken Woolley and Philip Cox and Newton and Fisher are the first interdisciplinary team to win the award.

The Sisalation Prize is a long-standing prize offered by the Australian Institute of Architects and has been sponsored since its inception in 1956 by Fletcher Insulation (formally Insulation Solutions). The company has had a long and distinguished history in the building industry and has manufactured SISALATION reflective foil sarking for more than 50 years.

Book details:
Take 8: Learning Spaces – the transformation of learning spaces for the 21st century
eds. Clare Newton and Kenn Fisher
Available from Architext bookshops in Melbourne and Sydney.

Book launch event:
Thursday 29 October, 2009
4.45pm for a 5pm start
Architecture Building, University of Melbourne