Activity 3: Free Design Study

Project dates: 01/08/2017 - Ongoing

At a glance

The Free Design Study elaborates the lived experience of stakeholders in the delivery of the full design for the new school.


A new ‘free’ (generative) design theory will be developed to determine the optimum level of autonomy in delivering the full design for the new school. Existing research involving the relationship between the physical school environment, teacher satisfaction and learning outcomes ignores the design processes and user expectations. This new evidence-based theory will explore the virtue of design autonomy and which has not previously been articulated into a theory and empirically tested in any setting.


Annie Rolfe’s Master of Philosophy thesis is available on QUT Eprints. A further stage of research extended and deepened the case study findings with further professional insights and comparative data using same research method.

Project team members were also involved in a major publication, School Spaces for Student Wellbeing and Learning: Insights from Research and Practice. Edited by Hilary Hughes, Jill Franz and Jill Willis, the book introduces a new wellbeing dimension to the theory and practice of learning space design for early childhood and school contexts.

Please contact Associate Professor Adrian Bridge for further updates.


Rolfe, A., Franz, J. and Bridge, A. (2022), “The combined impact of school design and procurement on student wellbeing and educational outcomes”, Facilities, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.


This research activity is complete.