Schools have never before felt so much pressure on the usable space within their grounds and buildings.
An ever-changing landscape of Covid restrictions has meant that even those schools blessed with generously sized facilities are feeling the squeeze, and those that were already flexing at the seams are almost reaching unmanageable limitations. Combine this with ever-decreasing budgets; government legislation that appears to come into force overnight; and a currently heightening anxiety around educational settings as a whole, and you’ve got the perfect storm for cracking under the pressure.
But even in these difficult times, there are simple solutions. And modular design, be it on a small or large scale, could just be the resolution your school is looking for.
What is modular design?
Before attempting to understand the implications of this theory in educational settings, let’s first make sure we understand what we mean by modular design:
Wikipedia helpfully breaks down the concept: Modular design is a design principle that subdivides a system into smaller parts called modules which can be independently created, modified, replaced, or exchanged with other modules or between different systems. (Source: Wikipedia)
And it’s the flexibility with which these individual ‘modules’ can be manufactured, installed, and subsequently manipulated that makes them the perfect solution for many of the problems we are currently facing.
So what makes modular classrooms so great?
We think there are 4 overriding benefits for choosing to implement modular design into your school.
We list the key ones below:
Speed – Possibly the greatest overriding advantage of deploying a modular approach is the great speed with which changes can be made. Traditional school builds go through many stages of planning, permission and ultimately building, but a modular strategy greatly reduces these elements. A large proportion of the bespoke modular design is completed offsite, reducing the need for temporary classrooms. Disruptionis kept to a bare minimum and the process does not need to be restricted to periods of time throughout the academic year when the pupils are absent. It is traditional for building projects to be undertaken during the summer break, but modular build expansion projects can take place at any time of year. Perfect for adapting at short notice.
The same is true of smaller modular creations. Furniture and fittings are custom measured and then built and designed offsite. All that needs happen in school is the installation; a surprisingly rapid process that can be completed in a matter of days.
The look – The mere mention of a mobile classroom throws up images of greying prefab buildings and rickety wooden huts slowly rotting in a corner of the school field. But prefab modular classrooms no longer need to smell damp and have condensation dripping down the inside of the windows. Envoplan’s commitment to temporary classrooms incorporates fresh thinking and modern design. Cladding can be specified to sensitively blend in with the heritage of existing buildings or alternately can be chosen to radically break away from the norm.
Eco-friendly, sustainable, and efficient
All of our designs place efficiency at the heart of the build. By taking the time to carefully select sustainable and eco-friendly materials, not only do you reduce the carbon footprint of the build, but you help to keep future bills low. High-quality insulation, energy-efficient lighting, and the installation of the very latest technology, all ensure that an Envoplan modular classroom proudly earns its eco-credentials.
FlexibilityAside from the other benefits of opting for a modular design, the flexibility of the final product ranks highly. Internally, modular furniture can evolve and adapt at a moments notice. The versatility of being able to reconfigure the layout of a room within seconds removes the limitations of traditional teaching. It makes every space suitable for every lesson, and children thrive when learning in an environment that is able to adapt to their requirements. On a larger scale, having the potential to be flexible with spaces allows a school to function more efficiently. Movement around the school is improved; the teaching taking place in classes is more accessible; and the atmosphere and mood of the entire school population is lifted.
We should never underestimate the effect of the environment on children’s learning. Now more thanever, schools should exude feelings of safety and comfort. This is a particularly challenging post-Covid-19, but with a few carefully implemented strategies, we can keep schools safe, secure, and inviting. Having flexibility at your fingertips can ensure that you not only survive in these difficult times, but thrive. And when we eventually do come out of the other end, your school will still be able to benefit from a flexible and versatile learning environment