Collaborative teaching and learning spaces are key within education environments. In fact, research shows that students in new, technology-enhanced collaborative learning spaces exceed grade expectations (Insider Higher Ed, 2022).
Cardiff University wanted to populate two large spaces for 300 students that would encourage group and team-based learning in their engineering department. One of their key strategic objectives was to create spaces to support their goal of transitioning from lecture-based styles of learning to more project-based learning environments.
Having worked with TOP-TEC in the past on various projects across the university, they reached out to us again knowing we would be able to contribute to the task.
Key Project Criteria
◉ Create a collaborative space that would encourage students to develop team working skills and prepare graduates for working in the industry.
◉ Any furniture solutions should be tailored to accommodate the ceiling drop-down power which was deployed for this project.
◉ Collaborate with the university to provide two high quality learning spaces which could accommodate up to 300 students.
Following discussions and meetings with the project team & architects at Cardiff University, we started to gain an understanding of what the Engineering department wanted to achieve. There were a range of options considered for this space, however the referencing of already existing TOP-TEC furniture solutions at the University was a useful benchmark for the team.
The requirements evolved and TOP-TEC was happy to support the project team as they worked out the priorities – particularly in regards to the power and IT connections. It was decided that our Unity Collaborative Tables would be the perfect solution for the space, with their focus on collaboration and their ability to accommodate the power boxes that hung from the ceiling.
In addition to our Unity Tables, the university also wanted screen solutions where tutors could cast content from a single lecturer’s workstation to large displays around the room for large classroom teaching. We supplied our free-standing aesthetic AVI Towers to meet this requirement.
Working with the architects, 2D and 3D layouts were created to maximise the use out of the space to accommodate all 300 students, accounting for the right amount of space for each user and the correct distance between tables for clear walkways for tutors and students.
How Did We Help?
“Create a collaborative space that would encourage students to develop team working skills and prepare graduates for working in the industry.”
Our Unity Collaborative Tables are specifically designed with teamwork and collaboration in mind and were the ideal solution to help encourage collaboration during engineering lessons.
The Blade worktop shape tapers towards the end of the table which enhances group interaction between the six participants. The tables were also placed in pairs to further foster communication and engagement between students and also allowing multiple groups to effectively work together.
“Any furniture solutions should be tailored to accommodate the ceiling drop-down power which was deployed for this project.”
Each Unity table was customised to feature a grommet hole at the end of the cable channel to allow power and data to be fed from the ceiling into the unit, providing power to the worktop 13A / USB charge ports for students to change their own devices during longer sessions.
This bespoke feature also allowed for more student spaces to be placed in the open plan area without the requirement for floor boxes, helping reduce the overall infrastructure spend.
TOP-TEC Unity Collaborative Tables also include an internal cable storage system under the worktop and in the legs, providing a neat all in one tamper proof solution and a hazard-free environment.
“Collaborate with the university to provide two high quality learning spaces which could accommodate up to 300 students.”
Utilising our vast experience in education, TOP-TEC worked with Cardiff University to supply two high quality and professional learning spaces to provide the best possible environment for students and support how the Engineering department wanted to teach their course.
With over 65 years of manufacturing experience, we pride ourselves on our quality and dependable solutions, and make all of our products at our factory in Birmingham.
Since the installation, the new space has received positive feedback from both students and lecturers who have been loving the fresh experience it provides! The university are delighted with how we were able to accommodate the power boxes hanging from the ceiling and are really pleased with the functionality of the room and the quality of the products supplied.
It was a great experience working with Cardiff University to provide engineering students with a brand new learning space, giving them the opportunity to become fully immersed into their projects while encouraging and developing team working skills.
“TOP-TEC provided a very professional service.
All the products requested arrived on time and the installation was fast and effective.
The products are in place, and it looks great!”
Estate Space Manager