The Learning Lab is an outdoor classroom that teaches students about STEM through its structure. It contains elements such as fulcrums, counterbalances, and inclined planes to teach mechanics, as well as features such as pegboards to encourage flexible teaching methods. The form of the structure is derived from an analemmatic sundial which uses a human shadow to tell the time.

Open Mode Axonometric

When open, the Learning Lab allows light and air to pass through the structure, as well as providing shade for the external side of the structure. Operable panels open to reveal either a doorway, or a pegboard workspace. These panels use a pulley and rope system and can be used by students. Breaks in the seats and workbenches allow teaching staff to move freely through the space.

Open Mode Section

The classroom area is doubled once the panels are opened. Students can work on the floor of the outside edge, at one of the eight pegboard stations, at either side of the workbench, or on the inclined plane (which also provides accessibility).

Closed Mode Axonometric

In the event of windy weather, the panels can be closed. The interior pegboard stations are still accessible, whilst the exterior ones are protected by the panels. This format also creates a focal point in the centre of the sundial which can host more lecture style learning.

STEM Features

The STEM principles embedded in the structure of the Learning Lab include fulcrums and counterbalances to teach mathematics, a sundial to teach astronomy, pulleys to teach engineering, and an inclined plane to teach mechanics and physics. The pegboard can hold items such as cogs and wheels, troughs for water, or a maze for a marble. These items could be laser cut from offcuts of the structure.


The Learning Lab makes use of prefabricated elements. The roof, wall panels, seating/workbench and frame will be prepared in advance and assembled onsite. The deck is the only element that will be fully prepared onsite. The structure is made of four portal frames and connected by further beams. Four panels on the south side of the roof are transparent to allow indirect light into the workspaces without trapping too much heat.
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