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The campus of the future

Architect Associate, Dan Walder describes our collaborative vision for 21st century education estates.

Universities are collectively reimagining how they deliver education and research in the future. The post-pandemic shift in working practices and growth of online learning, the pressure of rising inflation, the climate emergency, the need to revitalise tired building stock, together with the pressures of keeping up with rapidly advancing technology is driving pivotal change in higher education institutions.

How best can universities achieve this transformation and change ? Our multidisciplinary education design experts have identified seven key themes to help universities create the campus of the future.


Breaking down boundaries and enhancing collaboration between disciplines can be achieved by providing a better range of shared facilities. This can be balanced with maintaining strong departmental identities and disciplinary excellence.


The future campus must be environmentally and socially sustainable. This may include flexible building typologies, the adoption of passive design principles, and the re-use of existing buildings to meet zero carbon targets.

Identity and belonging

A shared sense of belonging for students, staff, and the wider university community is essential for a successful campus. High quality social spaces and shared outdoor amenities can help create a strong campus identity.


Physical, cultural, and digital connections are at the heart of world-class learning environments, enhancing the relationship between university communities and surrounding towns and cities.


Following the Covid-19 pandemic, the size and shape of the university campus is changing. We are exploring options that offer different space types of higher quality, with intensified use and more outdoor space.

New ways of learning and working

By embracing new ways of learning and working, universities can provide a greater range of courses to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population.


Campuses should provide a flexible framework to allow for a range of teaching, learning, and research. Many of these activities can be carried out in ‘generic’ flexible spaces, with only a small proportion requiring specialist areas.

By incorporating these seven themes universities can create the campus of the future – a place that is innovative, sustainable, and inspiring. A place that fosters collaboration, creativity and a shared sense of identity and belonging, and prepares students for the challenges of the 21st century.