University of Glasgow – HLM Architects – Technology Enhanced Active Learning Spaces

TOP-TEC collaborated with HLM Architects on creating a Technology Enhanced Active Learning space at University of Glasgow


The University of Glasgow is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the UK. Being committed to deliver an excellent student and staff experience, the University wants to further enhance its global standing and provide state of the art facilities. In line with the University’s strategy for a Smart Campus, new facilities consider changes in technology and pedagogy to provide flexible, multi-use teaching space that will be configurable to address changing teaching patterns in the years ahead.

The Brief

The University of Glasgow set up the Inspiring Spaces Group to investigate how existing teaching spaces in various buildings across the campus could be refurbished to test new pedagogy methods and encourage collaborative activities.

HLM Architects assisted with this study by designing these rooms utilising innovative furniture and equipment layouts. Seminar and teaching labs of various sizes were refurbished with capacities ranging from 12-85. One of the key objectives was to pilot a TEAL space (Technology Enhanced Active Learning) and two rooms were required in the Main campus. Each room had distinctive shapes and sizes and keeping the required capacity of 30 and 60 students was key. The project had to be completed in time for the new academic year.

“TOP-TEC provided an excellent service before and after installation. The TOP-TEC tables and lecterns to support our active learning spaces have been well received”

Eleanor Magennis
Head of Space Planning
University of Glasgow

The Solution

The Inspiring Spaces Group discussed what teaching and learning activities might happen in these spaces and what was needed to facilitate this. HLM identified a requirement for tables that would seat group of students, ranging from 6-8 with integrated monitor screens.

TOP-TEC’s collaborative Synergy range was specified into the project due to its integrated technology and innovative design. After analysing the current space, HLM decided to use two different styles of Synergy tables that maximise the space and use of furniture. The Synergy Quad and the Reverse Plectrum were the perfect solution as it fit the exact requirements outlined by the Inspiring Spaces Group. Disability Discrimination Action (DDA) compliance was another key consideration in designing these rooms which resulted in a height adjustable table in each room that allows for wheelchair access.

Each Synergy desk is equipped with two monitors mounted to the mast which can be controlled from the TOP-TEC Gemini Duet Lectern, or used by students to share their work. Taking the user experience to the next level, the Hugh Fraser Room experiments with the Gemini lectern being positioned in the centre of the room to create an immersive and interactive way of teaching and learning.

The furniture selection is appropriate to the type and function of each teaching space whilst in keeping with the university’s requirements for durability and longevity. The desktop surface was specified in a hard wearing white Trespa finish with a black finished steel frame and base. In each room a feature wall was created using bespoke wallpaper to add texture that complimented the overall scheme.

Key Features – Gemini Lectern

  • Electrically height adjustable desk in which the entire surface rises and falls to suit user preferences
  • Equality act complaint
  • Easily accessible secure storage for rack and non-rack equipment
  • Innovative 19” removeable rack system that allows the integrator to populate the lectern whilst the main unit is being configured

Key Features – Synergy Collaborative tables

  • Users can share content, discuss ideas and collaborate effectively around a shared screen
  • Create instant meeting space with minimal impact on existing infrastructure
  • Ergonomically designed, worktop neck increases the users distance from the screen, putting less strain on the eyes and neck
  • Variety of shapes and sizes available to fit user’s specific requirements
  • Customisable connectivity in the mast and leg and includes optional cabling in the worktop


The new spaces provide a great opportunity for students to be actively involved in discussions but also for the more traditional way of teaching. The TOP-TEC Synergy tables allow for group work but also for the results to be shared with everyone in the room.

Different media outputs can be explored at the same time leading to a greater amount of interaction. As a result, the students are much more engaged as they have been in the past.