Creating Spaces without Walls

Furniture plays a key role in any space. It defines areas, enhances the feel of a room, and can inhibit or promote a room’s function.

Nebraska Center for Advanced Professional Studies at Sandy Creek is unique in its design in that rather than being defined by walls, it is defined by the absence of them. The only fully enclosed classrooms are a few science and lab spaces. For this reason thoughtful furniture selection was essential to help define open spaces and create areas for activity. In order to help define and communicate intent, we created different space typologies:

  • Launch Pad: Tiered seating with a tall table and stools behind, facing a monitor, for instruction before students break away into project-focused work.
  • A Huddle: Groupings of tables and chairs for small group work or class size instruction.
  • Think Tank: Lounge-like seating for individual focused work, to solve complex problems or perform research.
  • Forum: Space to discuss, debate, gather, and understand through storytelling and audible study.
  • Studio: Create, explore, and invent through hands-on learning.
  • Lab: Experiment through hands-on exploration
  • Shark Tank: An area to present work and ideas while receiving constructive feedback
  • Base Camp: A hub providing supplies, storage, communications, and space for respite
  • Fish Tank: an area to flesh out ideas in a focused semi-enclosed space

Soft furnishings throughout help in acoustical control, while mobile furnishings mean you can move your seat to better see, hear, and engage with the content and peers. We used acoustical baffles wherever we could to keep the open space’s acoustics manageable, and used glare-reducing whiteboards and screens to make sure students can see presented content.    

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