School design: Active hallways

Publicado el 12 Jan, 2023

Taking advantage of transit spaces, such as school corridors, and using them as teaching areas provides a great opportunity to break space limitations to truly adapt to the individual needs of students.

The wellness goals that we prioritize as a society face major obstacles within a classroom. When children don’t have a place to go when they feel, for example, nervous or troubled, they can feel trapped inside the classroom.

The classroom problem is compounded by the adjacent space. In most schools, hallways are not designed to be learning spaces.

Non-learning hallways serve two primary purposes: (1) as transit areas and (2) as places to store students’ personal items (ie, lockers). This may seem like a good use of space when the design focus is isolated classrooms, but we can organize the space in another way.


The consequences of hallways without learning.

Hallways can represent almost 30% of the total area of a school. Therefore, non-instructional corridors not only contribute to isolating classrooms, but also create large tracts of underutilized surface within the school. Recovering this area is a great opportunity, both from an economic and an educational point of view.

Fortunately, there is a design pattern called Active Hallways that claims to solve the problem. If it’s not possible to fully transition to a Learning Community model, which essentially gets rid of conventional hallways, making the most out of your hallways is the next best option.


What does it mean to take advantage of a corridor?

Taking advantage of a hallway means making physical changes so that hallways can be spaces for learning. When this is combined with a shift in the educator’s mindset about where learning occurs, the results are powerful. The physical changes can be carried out in several ways, and each school has its own features to take into account, but by understanding this, we have seen trends towards fewer and smaller lockers around the world that can support making the most out of hallways.


Creativity allows you to take advantage of the corridors

To be clear, there is not a right way to use a hallway, but creating seating options and workstations is always a good way to promote usage. At the same time, considering how the walls are used can spark creativity and interaction. Through the use of writing surfaces and learning walls, hallways can become places of collaboration, curiosity, and play.

In order to improve these common spaces in schools, it is vital to have furniture that adapts to each place in a versatile way and in correlation to its functionality. We have compiled the best school furniture for common areas: