Flexible Classroom for Active Learning
The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) sought to convert an existing shared dry laboratory in the Towne Building into an Active Learning Classroom to support the evolving needs of 21st century education. Located within the National Register’s University of Pennsylvania Historic District, Towne was once home to machine shops and related facilities used to train students in modern industrial practice and now houses several SEAS departments and administrative functions. The renovation of the Active Learning Classroom signifies the continuum of cutting-edge education at Penn as a new generation of students are educated for the modern world in this historic building.
The design addresses essential concepts in 21st century education—curiosity, innovation, flexibility, and collaboration—to empower instructors and students through the built environment. Large movable tables fitting up to nine students allow students to work in small or large groups while unobstructed sight lines provide clear views from any seat in the room. Audiovisual systems including whiteboards, monitors, A/B switching, cameras with preset controls for whiteboards and lecturer, microphones, and speakers are designed to allow free flow movement of the instructors and can adapt to almost any discussion or lecture setting. Fully tech-enabled and flexible, the Active Learning Classroom facilitates remote or hybrid learning and can evolve to meet future needs of 21st century learners and educators.