MODE brings a wealth of experience to the primary, secondary and tertiary educational sectors, as well as extensive experience working in the creation of public and community buildings.

Design for education requires an understanding not just of the functional and technical requirements of facility users, but also an understanding of the governance models of teaching/learning and the regime of facilities maintenance and management, as well as other technical demands placed on facilities.

MODE has worked with various institutions throughout Australia and through working with these education communities, we have found that all projects present different challenges for education-focused design. In relation to those challenges, we find that new paradigms in education and educational space are a response to several critical pressures for change in the community: namely a growing awareness that conventional modes of teaching are simply not meeting the needs of all students.

As a result, the common thread in our design approach is to encourage enquiry based learning, collaborative project based learning, and innovative approaches to the curriculum. The new educational space is polyvalent: open, multi-share, adaptable,informal, has great variety in size; indeed is more like the workplace. New models of educational delivery are characterised by a number of ideas, principles and strategies including personalisation, small learning communities, block scheduling, co-operative learning, project based curricula, peer tutoring and instruction, team teaching, integration of wireless technology for anytime, anywhere learning, and community involvement in education.

Moving beyond educational buildings, the needs of educators and staff for more collaborative workspaces is distinct, and now needs to be balanced against the individual-office-only model. One has not superseded the other, as there is still a need for ‘creative isolation’ for focused, solitary academic work. Rather, we find that diversity and variety are increasingly the rule – spaces where people can congregate and share information and social exchange, coupled with retreat spaces for solitary thinking and writing.

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