Configuring Fixed Seating in Teaching Spaces

Evertaut News

5 Oct, 2022

Higher education teaching commonly takes place in auditorium style lecture theatres fitted out with fixed lecture chairs. This type of fixed seating is secured to the floor with bolts or screws and is not portable or stackable. It is designed for use in venues where the seating configuration and capacity does not need to change.

The auditorium style is created by the installation of a tiered floor which allows each row of lecture seating to be positioned higher than the one in front of it. This format facilitates better sightlines for students and allows education establishments to maximise capacity in venues. Fixed seating can also be fitted in smaller teaching rooms and lecture spaces, on a flat or tiered floor. The latter is always preferable however, because if students cannot clearly see the lecturer or visuals being presented, it can cause distraction which ultimately reduces their focus on learning.

When commissioning a fixed seating installation, a tiered floor and seating plan can be designed to accommodate a variety of layouts. What will work best can be dictated by the shape of the room, the capacity of students it needs to accommodate or any specific requirements of the subjects to be taught within the space.

Here we look at the features and benefits of some of the most common fixed seating configurations. These layouts can also be used with individual stacking and linking chairs in multi-purpose spaces.

Plan showing fixed seating in a theatre style configuration and an example of a lecture theatre where this is fitted

Probably the most popular fixed seating configuration, the theatre style layout is the simplest to plan out as it features straight rows. This works best in symmetrical rooms and those where you need to maximise capacity. In very large spaces this configuration really does need to sit on a tiered floor to ensure students have clear sightlines.

Plan showing fixed seating in a classroom style configuration and an example of a lecture theatre where this is fitted

Similar to the theatre style, the traditional classroom layout features straight rows of seating but also incorporates desks. With this style of fixed seating, desks are usually integral to the seats except on the front row where a standalone desk with modesty panel is fitted. There are various desk options available including rows of fixed desks as pictured above, individual folding desks and anti-panic writing tablets. Portable desks on castors can be incorporated on front rows to provide access for wheelchair users, or banks of removable seats can be fitted as an alternative to this.

Plan showing fixed seating in an angled configuration and an example of a lecture theatre where this is fitted

In wide lecture theatres, those seated at the far ends of rows may experience discomfort when looking towards the centre of the room at the lecturer or presentation material. Even if the seating is tiered, they may need to twist their neck or sit on an angle in order to see properly. Fitting seats in angled rows prevents this as it ensures all students will automatically sit directed towards the front centre of the room. This configuration can also work well in smaller lecture rooms, like the one pictured above where the rows are relatively short and seats incorporate fold-away, anti-panic writing tablets.

Fixed seating horseshoe layout

The horseshoe configuration again directs seating towards the front centre of the room to prevent the need for any seat shuffling or twisting. This layout works well in rooms with a non-standard shape or where pillars could otherwise obstruct views (as in the lecture room pictured above). Aisles can be incorporated within the horseshoe as required.


Tiered Floors for Fixed Seating

Whether you’re planning a new fixed seating installation or preparing to replace existing seats, most specialist manufacturers will be able to draw up a seating plan for you. They can also bespoke design a tiered floor if this is something you don’t currently have. A tiered floor structure can be fitted to flat, raked or stepped floors and can accommodate all under-floor services. They can also be designed to suit any of the seating configurations referenced above.

Examples of newly constructed fixed tiering structures in lecture theatres

Pictured above, examples of newly constructed tiered floor structures. Pictured below, lecture theatres of all shapes and sizes can benefit from a tiered floor.

Fixed seating in lecture theatres

Flexible Seating Arrangements

For teaching spaces where more flexible seating arrangements are required, stacking and linking chairs are an alternative. They can usually be configured in straight or curved rows or individually positioned around desks in a conference or banquet style. This style of seating can also sometimes be used as additional seating in lecture theatres if there are occasions when capacity needs to be increased, where safety regulations allow.

Stacking and linking chairs as the name suggests, can be clipped together to form rows and to prevent individual seats from being moved around. They can also be stacked for storage when not needed.


Supplier Support with Fixed Seating Plans

If you want to change the configuration of an existing lecture theatre or are fitting out a brand new space, your seating supplier should be able to offer advice. Many will be able to draw up a seating plan for you, ensuring it complies to all necessary regulations. This will usually be offered free of charge if you are purchasing seating from them.


Evertaut can bespoke design tiered flooring and offers a range of fixed seating for lecture theatres which can be tailored to requirements. We offer a complete service from design to installation for tiering and fixed seating. To make an enquiry, please complete and submit the short form below.