Effectiveness in action

Monday 31 Jan 2011

Studies demonstrate the impact of effective architecture in schools

Recent research suggests that subtle changes to a learning environment can significantly alter a child's academic performance. The study, compiled by the Girls' Day School Trust (England and Wales) indicates that girls and boys will respond differently to certain spaces, conditions and temperatures, and emphasises the importance of utilising these factors in a positive way.

While girls seem to learn most effectively at a temperature of 24°C, boys prefer a cooler 21°C. Further scientific studies suggest that large atriums may produce a negative impact on girls, who learn better in small, intimate spaces, while soft surfaces produce a positive effect. Longer, hour-long classes suit girls better than boys, who perform better in short bursts of 30 minutes. These findings highlight the responsibility of the architect to design with these outcomes in mind, reiterating the power of effective architecture to change society for the better.

Amy Knight

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United Kingdom

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