School campuses are underestimated in their capacity to transform schools into inspirational and iconic centres for learning. Ad hoc development, incoherent planning and piecemeal construction dissects and disjoints campuses, resulting in missed opportunities for growth and success.

Thorough master-planning ensures that you can harness the very best out of your property, so that the grounds, buildings and circulation work together optimally, allowing your school to reach its full potential. It’s possible to – very simply – start to make a change, with help from the right people.

Knowing this, SchoolAdvisor asked Square One to tell us more about how campus design can make all the difference to the success of your school.

Square One’s director, Mark Saint Pôl, says: “Campus design is the critical starting point to achieving a well-functioning school. Today’s schools face more issues than ever before, sometimes with conflicting priorities. To succeed, institutions must in one way or another respond to all of them. In many cases, the institution’s place – its campus – if properly leveraged can make a key difference in meeting today’s challenges.”

Square One shares 4 core principles that will make your school campus stand out from the rest:

  1. Capture your school’s heart in its design: ‘Love at first sight’ is not an unusual experience for prospective students at iconic school campuses. The most prestigious schools are just as well known for their impressive campus environments as their academic success. Your school campus must reflect your core values, ideals and aspirations in its design – allowing it to speak for itself.
  2. Use your grounds as an educational tool: Learning is not limited to the classroom. In fact, most learning happens outside the classroom. Social interaction is a key component of non-academic, but vital education. Every part of your campus must be considered to be a learning environment. Anything less is a missed opportunity.
  3. Foster responsible and inspired students: School campuses contribute on many levels to teaching students to act responsibly. Decisions that are made on campus have enormous ripple effects. Unimaginative asphalt areas create desolate environments, while interactive play areas, green roofs, vegetable gardens and water harvesting infrastructure emphasize the importance of respect for the natural world and other people.
  4. Have a cohesive master plan: Long range planning is key – a few short-sighted decisions, like placing a new building in the geographical heart of the campus or deciding to pave a green courtyard can have devastating effects. This is why you need a cohesive master plan, allowing you to work towards a functional and visionary goal for your school.

According to Mark Saint Pôl, “Doing these things not only creates a winning environment for your campus but ensures that you stay ahead of the competition when it comes to attracting the kind of students and faculty that you want for your school. 

This will help institutional leaders to leverage one of the most powerful resources they have to change formidable challenges into resounding opportunities – the transformation of the campus and its environs through placemaking.

Often, these improvements can be made without higher expenditure, and often, too, these changes can accomplish multiple objectives at the same time.”

Revolutionize your school - Sidwell Friends Middle School by Andropogon

Sidwell Friends Middle School, Washington D.C.
A well-designed interactive ecological landscape encourages environmental awareness and social responsibility among students

In essence, your school campus is the physical manifestation of your vision and your core ideals.

If your campus does not reflect what your school stands for, prospective parents and students may decide to go elsewhere. This is where employing the right Landscape Architecture firm can make all the difference. Square One are experienced master planners and can help you bring the dreams you have for your school to life.

Mark says, ‘We are confident in our ability to transform your school for the better. That’s why we guarantee that we’ll exceed your expectations. If not, we’ll offer a complete refund on design services rendered.’

Advice from the Advisers

We think that schools can benefit greatly from using a landscape architectural firm like Square One to enhance the learning experience. Not only that but focusing on the design of your school campus could be the determining factor in the success of your school.

We hope this read has helped you open your mind to more creative ways to gain a competitive advantage over other schools. Don’t forget to give Square One a look on our site to enquire about their services and find out how you can enhance the learning environment of your school. Check their listing by clicking here

Square One explains more about learning through play in this very interesting read. Click here to learn about designing playscapes for your school.