The coronavirus pandemic is an opportunity to rethink the design of educational spaces.

After their report on the future of restaurant design, Dubai-based design studio Roar have published a White Paper examining COVID-19’s impact on educational spaces and the design solutions that could future-proof the education system.

“Home learning has really made us think about the physical spaces in a school where the magic happens, both in terms of educational attainment and personal enrichment,” says Pallavi Dean, founder and creative director of Roar. “We need to create more of these spaces – and not waste precious real estate on spaces for humdrum tasks.”

Roar’s white paper, ‘7 Perspectives: How COVID-19 Will Transform the Design of Education Spaces’ features 10 leading industry professionals including psychologists and designers, as well as feedback from 135 education professionals.

Here we share the key findings.

Quick design fixes can COVID-proof schools and help them re-open. Reduce density with fewer kids per classroom; create new classrooms by repurposing gyms, canteens & corridors; graphics on the floor and walls can reinforce behavior; touchless toilets; anti-microbial materials; HEPA filters.

Don’t waste a crisis: education spaces will never be the same again. 79% of industry experts agreed that there will be a long-term legacy for the design of education spaces. Only 21% ticked “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” Blended learning, ‘phygital’ spaces, and ‘sweating the asset’ are all here to stay.

Fewer classrooms, more ‘WeWork’-style spaces. 85% of teachers agreed that schools need spaces inspired by co-working offices. Spaces such as individual deep work pods; 1-on1 meeting spaces; breakout space for small groups; café-style social spaces.

The magic happens in science labs and sports halls. While lecture-style classroom teaching lends itself well to ‘Khan Academy’ style video learning, specialist spaces cannot be replicated at home. Science labs, sports halls, maker spacers, drama theatres, and playgrounds produce some of the most meaningful outcomes in terms of educational attainment and personal enrichment.

Do ‘more with less’ in affordable schools. While many premium schools were already embracing blended learning, it has been a steeper slope for many affordable and mid-market schools, which often have less space per student and less technology, in school and at home. Designers must ‘do more with less’ to make sure that all students are served in a COVID and post-COVID world.


To download the report, please click here.