As universities compete to attract students, they are continually upgrading their offering; from luxury student accommodation to state-of-the-art lecture theatres. In contrast to the staid teaching spaces of the past, today’s higher education establishments are vibrant, engaging places with modern décor and an array of facilities.
Lecture chairs have also significantly evolved from the original hard wooden seats and benches of yesteryear. Students in the 21st century are taught in comfort and style with the luxury of deeply cushioned, upholstered seats and spacious desktops with full data connectivity.
Following the mainstream move to auditorium style fixed lecture seating which has now been commonplace for many decades, more recently we have seen the introduction of some alternative designs – retractable seating for multi-purpose venues, ‘turn and learn’ style seats which revolve 360 degrees, and collaborative seating units.
Although many universities have experimented with these styles, fixed lecture chairs continue to be specified in new university buildings and remain the most popular choice for very good reasons.
Fixed tiering requires no maintenance
Unlike retractable seating units which require regular inspection and maintenance by a suitably qualified engineer, a fixed tiering structure has no mechanical parts. All Evertaut’s structural tiering complies with British Standards and is robustly designed to give many years of maintenance-free service. Pictured right is a view of the support structure underneath the tiered flooring in a large lecture theatre.
Tiering is not only suitable for large lecture theatres with high ceilings; lower tiers can be used in smaller spaces. The lecture rooms pictured below were both to be fitted with only a few rows of seating but the additional height the tiering gives each row means that students can benefit from improved sightlines and better acoustics.
Fixed lecture chairs help you maximise capacity
Whether you have a large lecture theatre which needs to accommodate a high number of students, or a small room short on space, fixed lecture chairs are the best solution if you want to maximise capacity.
This type of seating is fixed together in rows so there is no wasted space between each seat. Seat widths can be tailored to requirements, subject to a minimum width that allows sufficient personal space for each student. This doesn’t have to mean that students are squashed together however – more generous seat widths can be manufactured if preferred.
Note that the number of seats you can install in a single row is dependent on a number of factors including the depth of seatways, number of aisles and dimensions of the room.
Choice of writing tablets or fixed desks
Fixed lecture chairs can incorporate individual fold-away writing tablets or rows of fixed desking. The most appropriate solution should be dictated by the requirements of the subjects to be taught in the lecture theatre. Fold-away writing tablets work best where students may just need to take notes independently. For lectures where collaboration is required or a lot of tech or equipment will be used, rows of fixed desks offer much more generous shared workspace.
The lecture chairs pictured above left feature anti-panic writing tablets which fold-away into the chair arm. They will automatically flip back into the arm if the user stands up, allowing a quick exit in case of emergency.
The lecture chairs above right incorporate rows of fixed desking with the front row desks including modesty panels. The central front desk in the image is on castors, making it easily transportable to allow access and space for wheelchair users.
Comfort and durability
Fixed lecture chairs need to withstand the rigours of modern educational environments whilst also providing comfort to students. Unlike the hard wooden seats that students in the olden days had to endure, today’s lecture chairs are designed to ensure students can sit comfortably. Comfort is a key consideration when specifying lecture seating because students may have to sit for several hours in one lecture. Discomfort is a major distraction both to the individual and those around them who can be distracted by a seat shuffler.
With a strong, sturdy metal frame and deeply cushioned seats and backs, all Evertaut’s lecture theatre seating offers comfort, quality and durability.
Black and white photo credit: Glasgow University Archive Services, PHU2/10