Thriving in Vertical Schools

Schools are notorious for worn wooden stairs, hot bitumen quadrangles, and classrooms with narrow doorways, slow fans and flickering lights. These older structures must be retrofitted to meet contemporary building access standards to ensure all students can physically access their classrooms.  

While ease of entry and mobility for all is a critical starting point, the physical design of school buildings also impacts student engagement, learning and wellbeing. For example, comfortable, creative and collaborative spaces assure students that schools are welcoming, their ideas are encouraged, and they are connected to others.  

Although new schools are increasingly being built with the capability and wellbeing of students at the forefront, those in capital cities face a new challenge due to low availability of land. This has resulted in a new type of school in Australia: vertical schools in the middle of capital cities that blend in with the other high-rise buildings.  

QUT has partnered with one of these pioneering UV schools: Fortitude Valley State Secondary College (FVSSC).  Urban Vertical (UV) schools require designers and school leaders to think in new ways. However, with no evidence-based precedents to guide designers or educators, and no formal knowledge sharing processes to draw on the experiences of pioneers, robust multidisciplinary research on this new type of school is needed. 

Want to keep up to date with the project? Visit the Thriving in Vertical Schools website.

High rise building with cars out the front