Outdoor Spaces in Schools

Outdoor social spaces – better concentration, cooperation and creativity – outside spaces in schools that have a positive impact on pupils.

Sara Waterfield
Director at Lytle Associates Architects

Our school masterplan process always involves feedback from pupils about their school environment – both inside and outside.

Students always value outside spaces highly – natural grass, views of trees and the sky, areas to sit and work or chat and breathe fresh air.  The environment and sustainability are important too.

Being outside reduces stress, improves positivity and calms anxiety. The way our buildings connect to the outside, and the outdoor spaces they enclose and create, are an essential part of our designs.

The Oratory School

New boarding houses linked by collegiate cloisters with outdoor seating and meeting places integrated into the design.

Tolworth Girls’ School

The masterplan for Tolworth Girls’ School has delivered many improvements to the outdoor spaces, social, dining and outdoor provision alongside the building refurbishments and two large new teaching blocks.

  • Workshop with GCSE art students to design timber sculpture and seating for a new wildlife habitat garden
  • Dining terrace with picnic tables linked to new main restaurant space
  • Covered walkways linking buildings, providing places to meet, be outside in bad weather and wait for lunch in the rain.
  • Areas of artificial grass providing ‘green’ social areas for use all year round
  • Sixth form balcony for private study and relaxation with views over the site

The Oratory Preparatory School

Early Years department in a woodland setting, with a wide roof canopy creating a covered play area which links seamlessly to the indoor space with fully glazed sliding doors for maximum flexibility and free flow for the youngest pupils.

Guildford County School Plaza

The £15million masterplan for this town centre school has included:

  • New plaza social space with raised seating planters providing quiet informal space alongside the formal courtyard and new artificial pitch
  • Art department courtyard with space for outdoor working
  • Improvements to main courtyard with new canopies and seating
  • Designs for outdoor performance space

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