XR Lab: designed by Architects WindsorPatania. Image © WindsorPatania.

 

XR Lab: Transforming Education with Futuristic New Learning Facilities.

Architects WindsorPatania are reimagining the future of education with their latest project, Extended Reality Lab (XR Lab) for Eastern Colleges Group.

Students at West Suffolk College have started to explore the awe-inspiring facilities comprising of four distinct areas: an Immersion Lab, a Collaboration Theatre, a Green Room, and a Conference Room. XR Lab’s facilities prioritise flexibility and adaptability, designed in response to the ever-evolving technologies and educational needs of our times.

The pioneering learning environment integrates AI powered technology such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality Technology to offer a next generation teaching and learning experience.

“XR Lab is a catalyst for ground-breaking ideas, a place to bring students and industry together to explore new ways of working, teaching and learning” Richard Stevenson, Group Director of Operations, Eastern Colleges Group.

A Tech-First Approach for Improved Learning Outcomes

Funded by The Department of Education, XR Lab’s main objective is to drive innovation in learning, education, and research, while attracting a diverse student body. Each space features advanced cameras and microphones that relay information to the other areas, creating a dynamic an all-encompassing interactive educational experience.

“From the onset, the project aim was to innovate and democratise education. With the recent debates surrounding AI and its role in our future world, XR Lab sets a clear blueprint that can be implemented to achieve positive advances by embracing cutting-edge technology for learning.” comments Ryan Windsor, Co-Director of WindsorPatania.

XR Lab’s Lecture Theatre boasts an array of features including wall-to-wall screens, rear screens to virtually host external guests, a motion capture system, immersive sound, video, and 62 VR headsets on the side walls. This space also provides a “tables set-up” which promotes a culture of teamwork among students, encouraging real-life interactions amongst the high-tech facilities in the space.

 

A Pod-Shaped, Sustainable Structure, Designed for Energy-Saving

XR Lab is a retrofit of a building structure that was previously used as a workshop by engineering students. To foster energy saving measures and to minimise the deployment of construction material, a pod-shaped design was chosen over utilising the entire hangar space.

The main benefit of this derived from the ability to contain thermal insulation solely to the size of the pod, making it the primary thermal envelope and thus avoiding the need to thermally insulate the entire space.

The exterior is finished with a high-spec, sustainable polished plaster, resulting in an enigmatic sci-fi presence.

“The architecture embodies the function of the building, creating a connection with virtual environments while inspiring the next generation of students.” explains Giovanni Patania, Architect Co-Director of WindsorPatania.

 

Social Impact

By driving innovation across the College Group’s education programmes and enabling training and collaboration with businesses and organisations in the region, XR Lab opens the path for exceptional opportunities for the local community to engage with and benefit from its advanced technologies.

“XR Lab is going to revolutionise teaching and learning across all sectors” – Nikos Savvas, CEO, Eastern Colleges Group.

 

More information: windsorpatania.com

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