Designing Learning Spaces for Innovation

[The idea of Redesigning Learning Spaces is happening in libraries, K-12 schools, and higher education. In this Campus Technology article two universities are highlighted. In both cases it’s a classic case of designing spaces that empower learners to make, tinker, play, and create.]

By David Raths


USC’s “Garage” space features flexible classrooms, maker facilities and spaces for collaboration. (photo courtesy of USC / D. Quistorf)


Susan Metros vividly remembers the blank slate that would become the “Garage,” a new learning space for the University of Southern California‘s Iovine and Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation. In 2013, entrepreneurs Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre (aka Andre Young) had given $70 million to create a unique undergraduate program that promotes new kinds of learning through cross-disciplinary and hands-on discovery, in a fully immersive and collaborative learning space. The space for the new program, on the fourth floor of the Ronald Tutor Campus Center, was completely undeveloped.

“I remember going to a meeting and there was no electricity,” said Metros, associate dean of the academy. “We really got to start from scratch.” The space was an open canvas for innovation, yet the timeline was aggressive — with only three months for design and five months for construction.

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