As education facilities evolve into more flexible spaces, operable walls and sliding doors are a great way to achieve the flexibility required to cater for different teaching pedagogies .An operable wall divides available space enabling flexibility whilst sound rated panels still allow for effective noise control. When sound waves strike a partition, some are reflected from the surface staying in the same room as the source of the sound.
Flexible Properties of Space Fluidity represents the design of space for the flow of individuals, sight, sound, and air. Open spaces lend themselves to fluidity, yet can hinder fluidity if they are oppressive in their expansiveness. In such cases, a well-placed operable wall is ideal. For example, an operable wall can increase a sense of intimacy while triggering curiosity for the space that flows beyond. Such a space then become more engaging and less overwhelming. Such fluidity also allows for versatility and convertibility in to multi-purpose rooms. Educators must often convert spaces to accommodate for changes in enrolment, curriculum, or pedagogy. Space designed for convertibility requires an imagination for future eventualities. It should possess a degree of modularity and open-endedness at a structural level which is open to re-design for future modifications. Modifiable spaces are spaces that invite imaginative experimentation. The design of such spaces requires much forethought, because these spaces must take into account many structural dependencies such as ceiling configuration for lighting and air circulation, and floor materials for ease of partition movement.
As flexible and efficient space utilisation is becoming a must, intelligent solutions are needed that facilitate multi-functional room configuration combined with openness and, when required, transparency as well. Operable wall systems give the benefits of natural light along with sound insulated rooms.
Movable, interlocking panels suspended from an overhead track system should be;
- Sound rated panels for effective noise control
- Available in paired (folding) and individual (omni-directional) configurations
- Can include access doors for easy entry and exit
- Blend with a room’s aesthetics, similar to a permanent wall when extended.
- Available in a wide range of colours and finishes, including:
- Vinyl, fabric, veneer
- Combination of either, glass (for visual interconnectivity) or non-transparent substrates for privacy
- Sliding top mounted glass framed doors.
According to Michael Horn who is the co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute in the USA, the classroom as we know it will cease to exist. Students will no longer be sorted together in a room with one teacher in the front. Students will best learn in student centered environments, where their individual needs are met. In order to achieve this goal, it is critical that the physical space is able to be manipulated to align with the principles of student agency, flexibility, and choice that are the core of new learning models. Operable walls are the optimal solution.