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Project – Final internal check-in regarding the renovation and interior design plan of the MBO College building, located in Utrecht (Kanaleneiland).

The main goal of the workshops was to get clear on the educational vision of the faculties and courses, and to find out how this vision impacts the use of each space.

D/DOCK’s role
Connector and facilitator during the workshop processes
Visualizing / mapping out the ideas that come about during the workshops.
Offering inspiration for the interior design plan and possible functions of each space

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Voice of the Faculty (‘Academie’)

Each workshop group included an education director, a coordinator, a teacher and a student of each faculty. Together, they represented the ‘voice’ of their faculty and determined their avatar. Their avatar was the group’s interpretation of who their courses are for, what their faculty stands for and what they want to exude. These avatars were kept in mind for the duration of the workshops to answer questions like: what kind of space would feel like home for this person? What does this person need to function well?

Activities and Domains

Then, the outcomes of a brainstorm session on the Activities level were mapped out to establish the type of activities that happen in the school. These activities were linked to pre-determined Domains (an exercise specific to the D/DOCK Learning Landscapes method). This part of the workshop indicates which qualities and functional requirements belong to an activity or group of activities in each Domain (or space).

The third step was to group these activities and place them on the floor plan as Domain Bubbles; an exercise that evoked ideas for the design as well.

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Broad support

After all the outcomes of the workshops were shared through presentations, the group noticed that most of the ideas from the different subgroups showed crossovers and similarities. This resulted in a collective outcome with broad consensus regarding the advice for the architect.

Several areas of improvement were highlighted; particularly regarding the practical training locations and the use of outdoor spaces for education, such as an event space and a vegetable garden of which the harvest could serve local restaurants and the school itself. Other important outcomes were the effective use of the generic classrooms with the broader community in mind, and carving out a strong school identity.

The student’s perspective

The workshop was preceded by a conversation with students about their vision for education now and in the future. This activity added tremendous value, because students have a very different perspective on education in the future compared to their teachers, coordinators and school directors.

These workshops underline that the Learning Landscapes team can help facilitate school departments in their pursuit to figure out who they are, what they stand for and what their wants and needs are. It is important to note that the best result are yielded when the Learning Landscapes team is involved in the process from the beginning, because the ideal design process starts from the inside and works itself outwards. Learning Landscapes ensures that the voice of everyone involved in the school is heard in order to reach broad consensus and a create a collective responsibility.

Want to know more? Contact Tessa Jol via

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