Key factors to keep in mind designing for education

Designing for Education

How Inhouse Design have approached the design of SACAP Campuses

For the past four years, Inhouse has been working alongside SACAP (The South African College of Applied Psychology) designing and creating campuses that have a positive impact on students and their learning environment.

A 2015 study from the University of Salford found that well-designed classrooms can boost learning progress by up to 16%. This includes factors like lights, sound, temperature, air quality and links to nature. It’s important to remember that much of a student’s learning experience also took place on campus outside of the classrooms and lecture halls. Here are some key factors that influenced Inhouse Design’s approach to SACAP campuses. 

Designing for Education


A campus needs a good mix of different spaces for students to learn, relax and socialise. The pandemic has underscored the need for human engagement and interaction, which means creating different types of meeting zones for students to catch up or have study workshop meetings outside of a traditional classroom setup. The face of education has changed too – and this needs to be reflected in inclusive design elements. The SACAP campuses feature smaller, intimate spaces for students to come together to share knowledge and ideas, including lounge pods, games rooms and coffee bars. A key design element includes long table style setups in the canteen so that larger groups of students can come together in an informal setting to grow and learn.


By creating welcoming elements, features and zones the sense of inclusivity becomes a focal point. At SACAP’s Durban campus it was important to create a sense of welcome – complementing the teachings happening on campus. This was achieved by exposing the ceilings to create a sense of space and volume along with warm natural lighting. The coffee zone was also positioned strategically to provide this type of environment alongside the reception space. The design also incorporated a stadium style seating experience in the Johannesburg campus to encourage more social gatherings.

Designing for Education


The integration of quiet private reflection spaces alongside more public areas is key to create a dynamic learning environment. For example, in the library at SACAP’s Durban campus sitting pods within the library shelving itself was crucial. 


Longevity is key – while at the same time incorporating modern functional elements. Accordingly, Inhouse Design used appropriate materials and flooring that take into account their function within the space and their durability, particularly in areas with high footfall. All of the design elements are long lasting and – most importantly – easy to clean and maintain.

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