KI Funds Learning Studio On Education Spaces

Students in the School of Architecture and Urban Planning (SARUP) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UW-M) will research and design environments for higher education during a new studio sponsored by KI. The studio, called “Learning Landscapes: Fabricating the Architecture of Education,” builds on the research of auditoria design that was conducted through a KI-funded studio over the last two years.

“This studio looks at contemporary educational space as a breeding ground for spatial, architectural, and material innovation,” said Grace La, associate professor, SARUP, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “Through a series of activities and design exercises, students will gain a greater understanding for design potential in the creation of optimal learning environments.”

This year’s studio is led jointly by La and James Dallman, principal of LA DALLMAN Architects and SARUP adjunct faculty member.

“Learning Landscapes” explores opportunities to transform educational spaces based on the scales of furniture, the classroom, and the facility. Course topics include ways that college students learn, how spaces must adapt to support new learning styles, the role of furniture in transforming passive lecture settings into hubs of interaction, and the integration of technology and materiality into learning spaces.

“This project with UW-M continues the work we’ve done over the last several years in looking at the impact of space planning and design on student success,” said Amy Kiefer, vice president of education, KI. “The studio will provide us with valuable insights and perspectives to draw on as we design furniture for the higher education market. We look forward to continuing our important partnership with UW-M.”

Students will attend guest lectures and participate in field studies as part of their coursework. The first lecture featured Dave Baarman, director of advanced technologies at Fulton Innovation, inventor of eCoupled wireless power solutions. Baarman’s talk looked at the opportunities for learning space innovation based on the use of wireless technology to power electronic devices. KI plans to integrate eCoupled technology into its furniture later this year.

Students spent a day at KI’s headquarters and manufacturing facilities in Green Bay. The visit provided students with an overview of the contract furniture industry, KI’s role in the education market, and a tour of manufacturing and fabrication facilities at KI and Fox Valley Metal Tech.

“One of the truly distinct aspects of the studio is its ability to leverage the Midwestern manufacturing base to teach students about design and fabrication and, in the process, provide students the opportunity to interact with specialists and experts outside the field of architecture,” said Robert Greenstreet, dean, SARUP, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “We appreciate the ongoing commitment by KI to help us offer students truly unique educational experiences.”

A video detailing a visit by UW-M students to KI’s design and manufacturing facilities is available here.