Glass partitions have become increasingly popular in schools and further education thanks to their excellent functionality and unique aesthetic features. The systems offer adaptable solutions that optimise space and meet design requirements whilst creating inspiring learning spaces. So, what are the key considerations for architects and designers when specifying glass partitions in educational projects? Neil Miller, Sales & Marketing Director at glass partition specialist QIC Trims, investigates.
Glass partitions’ capability to transform a room without altering its fabric or fixtures and fittings makes them ideal for an educational environment where interior designs are regularly reconfigured in order to suit particular classes or events. With glass partitions, the reimagining of learning spaces can be carried out rapidly and cost effectively – a most important outcome for school or college settings where budgets are often tight and every penny has to be accounted for.
Glass partitions lead to clearer lines of communication
In terms of glass partition specification, clear lines of communication between staff and students are absolutely essential in classrooms and all other areas of a school or college building. The learning process is severely impacted by tutors not being able to make themselves sufficiently heard or understood due to exterior noise interference. It could also create a safety issue. Therefore, good acoustic performance should be given high priority in glass partition selection. A quality fixed single- or double-glazed system provides up to 50% noise reduction, thus screening-out disruptive airborne sounds and allowing students to fully focus on the learning activities at hand.
Use glazed partitions to create designs that inspire
In places of education, glass partitions can also be used to inspire students by lending a particular aesthetic to spaces. It’s often said that people are a project of their environment. Therefore, if places of learning present a smart, professional look courtesy of a well-appointed glass partition scheme, it’s more likely students will respond accordingly.
Glazed partitions let the light in
The additional natural daylight afforded by partitions provides another boost for occupant wellbeing. In research carried out in the US by Professor Alan Hedge of Cornell University, the study revealed a significant drop in incidences of eyestrain, headaches and drowsiness in workers in offices filled with natural daylight. Transpose these findings to a learning environment, and it becomes clear how similar conditions could benefit students in terms of mood and concentration levels.
Specify a robust solution
Although not a headline consideration, when specifying glass partitions for schools, it’s worth remembering that they can be quite boisterous places when catering for hundreds of students of different age groups. It indicates that glass partitions in classrooms, even where occupants are seated for the majority of the time, should contain a certain robustness. Therefore, for the safety of students and the integrity of the structure itself, investing in a glass partition that meets up-to-date standards for loadings is essential.
Partitions for a cleaner environment
As with many public buildings, schools are subject to rigorous cleaning regimes in order to uphold the highest health and safety standards. Generally, wet floor washing will form part of a routine hygiene programme. Additional precautions should, therefore, be taken when this takes place in areas where glass partitions are situated.
With environmental impact having an increasing influence on the way schools are designed and constructed, the green credentials of materials used in the process are receiving ever-greater scrutiny. Therefore, glass partitions which achieve BRE Green Guide A rating are ideal for a learning environment should be specified. The Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) offers a raft of credible data in relation to the sustainability of products such as partitions, thus allowing customers to compare data, make an informed decision and specify a system that meets their requirements.
All things considered, when specified and utilised correctly, glass partitions offer a smart way of creating the ideal learning space for students of all ages.