Cardiff University – Creating engaging + dynamic learning environments

We recently collaborated with Cardiff University to develop some exciting spaces in the new ABACWS building.

For this particular project we focused on two rooms, a large Collaborative IT Space and a Cyber Forensics Lab. For the IT Space, the University wanted to employ an ‘all eyes on the lecturer’ style, which required students to maintain eye contact when the lecturer is presenting at all times whilst avoiding fixed screens which would obscure the line of site.

For the Cyber Forensics Lab, the University wanted a solution that would allow for students to have access to two screens for project based work, without encroaching on the worktop space of the students either side.

Key Project Criteria

  • Create dynamic learning spaces that are exciting for student to work in and that also promote team and project based working.

  • Collaborative IT Space: Help implement an ‘all eyes on the lecturer’ style, whilst maintaining access to IT without using fixed screens.

  • Cyber Forensics Lab: Allow students to use 2x screens at once without encroaching on worktop space.

  • Create spaces that facilitate students bringing their own devices (BYOD).

Decision Process

Having previously worked with TOP-TEC, Cardiff University were confident we could work together to help overcome some of the barriers they were facing.

Over several meetings with Senior AV/IT Project Manager Pete Dunsire, a series of 3D renders, line drawings and concepts were created for the University to consider and discuss with our in house design team.

Rise & Fall Screen Concept

  • ‘All eyes on the lecturer’.
  • No fixed height screens.
  • Maintain access to AV/IT for student group work.

Cyber Forensics Lab Concepts

  • Open plan classroom space.
  • Students must have access to 2x screens.
  • No encroaching on the worktop space of the next user.
  • Teaching staff were required to walk around the tables to see what the students were doing during classes.

Rise & Fall Collaborative Tables

  • “Create exciting new spaces in the new ABACWS Building for students to work in that promote team and project based working.”

Our Quad worktop shape helps encourage collaboration for all participants and encourages discussion between users, making it the ideal for project and team based learning.

  • “Help implement an ‘all eyes on the lecturer’ style where all students can have a clear line of sight to the lecturer, whilst maintaining access to IT without using fixed screens.”

The screen can be retracted when it is not needed, providing clear line of sight for students. The unit can also be raised and and used for IT based group work when required, eliminating the need for fixed screens in the room.

  • “Create spaces to encourage students to bring their own devices (BYOD).”

Each table incorporated power modules allowing students to charge their laptop devices alongside a worktop mounted control panel housing with a HDMI connection for students to connect and share content on screen.

Cyber Forensics Lab Cluster Desks

  • “Implement a system where students can use multiple screens at once without encroaching on the worktop space.”

We designed a custom solution with substantial space for students to work whilst having access to two vertical screens. The lecturer can cast information to screens above eliminating the need for large wall mounted screens.

One of the main requirements for all of the PC labs was that teaching staff could walk around the tables to see what the students were doing during practical classes, this was made easier with hexagonal tables rather than linear rows.

The Result

Since the installation, the University are delighted with the end result and are excited to provide students with the opportunity to work in these professional, dynamic and technology rich spaces.

Download the PDF version here.

“The new learning spaces in the ABACWS building have created a huge buzz around the University. The rise and fall screen solutions are a new TOP-TEC design developed in collaboration with the team at Cardiff University. They have a wow factor and have helped create an engaging & technology enhanced learning environment. The overall outcome is a next generation IT/AV room for team & project based graduate training.

We have received some great feedback from both faculty and students and all of the rooms are being utilised for classroom, group and individual work with people really enjoying using the new dynamic learning spaces.

TOP-TEC we’re great to work with from start to finish and helped develop several solutions from scratch to meet our requirements in full.”

Pete Dunsire
Senior AV/IT Project Manager
Cardiff University


T: +44 (0)208 814 5950