How Open Floor Plans Affect Perceived Student Productivity

Authors:

Elizabeth Cooney, Aaron Peter

PI/Advisor:

Dr. Dina Battisto

Program:

Architecture (College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities)

Abstract:

The purpose of this research study is to determine if an open floor plan in an educational laboratory setting leads to a higher level of user satisfaction and perceived productivity. The focus of the research is on the Life Sciences Building at Clemson University, which provides improved access to research opportunities for university students pursuing biological sciences, pre-med and pre-veterinarian studies. Our research methodology followed a post-positivist approach through a quantitative web-based questionnaire. The target audience was university students. In addition to the questionnaire, we conducted observations of three key types of spaces used within the building: Atrium/Lobby, Teaching Laboratory, and Open-Floor Laboratories. The floor plans were mapped based on the workflow structure of individual labs and annotated as to which spaces are shared between labs. We converted our survey results to statistical data and used them in comparison with literature and observational research. Our findings identify elements within an open floor plan that are satisfactory or can be enhanced, including the connection between the open labs and supporting spaces. Additionally, travel distances and the quality of surface materials seriously affect user satisfaction and comfort. It is important to interview the end user about their specific needs in the lab.

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