Revitalizing York University’s Classroom Inventory to Support Innovative, Adaptable Teaching and Learning Formats
York University / Five-Year Classroom Renewal Plan and Design Standards
As the third largest university in Canada, York had an enormous classroom inventory that included 282 common pool classrooms. Since most of the 300,000 square feet campus was built in the 1970s, it was ready for a comprehensive overhaul aimed at aligning these fundamental spaces with a new, dynamic, and student-centred approach to teaching and learning.
Classrooms continue to be the most essential space type in a university and, as such, they need to reflect the values of their institution. These values range from pedagogical intent and the correct mix of classroom types to the need to offer a variety of spaces with a combination of AV solutions, and the capacity to create flexible layouts.
ACi conducted an extensive classroom audit and created a detailed inventory database of these classrooms. These deliverables formed the basis from which we created a multi-year classroom renewal plan and a design standard. Foremost in this project’s methodology was a comprehensive consultation process with relevant stakeholders with an emphasis on the student experience and the creation of flexible, learner-centred spaces. We looked at what the university stood for as a teaching institution, the mix of classroom types needed, accessibility standards, technical (AV) solutions, and the capacity of each type of classroom. Then we assessed what it would take to adapt to new, more comfortable, student-centric layouts that supported a variety of teaching and learning styles and requirements.
Based on the Classroom Design Standards and Renewal Program developed by ACi, York launched the first phase of its renewal program in early 2020 and continues to upgrade its classroom inventory to new, appealing, and modern standards that embrace new pedagogies and technologies