Towards an interdisciplinary model of practice for participatory building design in education

Karen D. Koenings*, Catherine Bovill, Pamela Woolner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


It is recognised that educational environments influence learning experiences, so it is important to ensure that educational buildings are designed to be fit for purpose. In order to ensure that educational buildings meet the needs of those who use them, all relevant stakeholders should be involved in the design process. However, this is not straightforward and much remains unclear about how involvement in such complex design processes should proceed. This article presents the findings of four small heterogeneous groups of architects, educational designers, teachers and students from the UK and The Netherlands, discussing how they would envision optimal collaboration and involvement of stakeholders in the process of (re)designing educational buildings and instructional methods. Presentations from the four groups were transcribed and analysed. Informed by a review of existing models and frameworks, our findings were synthesised into a new interdisciplinary model of participatory building design in education. This new model focuses on an iterative design process with different stakeholders involved in different ways at different times. We propose that this model can inform policy and practice in educational building design, as well as within co-creation of curricula, learning, teaching and assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-317
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017



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