Noel Studio's Design Gains National Attention

Published on February 23, 2016

With sliding frosted glass walls, modern modular furniture and evolving top-of-the-line technology, Eastern Kentucky University’s Noel Studio for Academic Creativity is designed to be easily transformed by EKU students and faculty to meet ever-changing needs from innovative faculty development sessions to creative collaborative class workshops. 

Other universities are taking notice of the Noel Studio’s unique design.

The Noel Studio was the inspiration for a new academic textbook that will be used in classrooms across the country to illustrate how to incorporate concepts of sustainability into the architectural design of academic spaces, said Noel Studio Executive Director Russell Carpenter.

“This book opened up a conversation about the concept of sustainability in new ways,” Carpenter said. “We often think about recycling and being good stewards of our collective goods, but sustainability can mean much more.”

The Noel Studio was featured in the book “Sustainable Learning Spaces: Design, Infrastructure and Technology,” published by Computers and Composition Digital Press/Utah State University Press. Carpenter co-edited the book.

Spaces can meet a wide range of needs, such as collaborative teaching and learning sessions, universities can cut down on initial building costs and need for future renovations, Carpenter said.

“As educational institutions we need rooms that allow the flexibility for students and faculty to change the spaces easily to meet their needs,” Carpenter said.

With the advent of online learning, academic teaching models are rapidly changing and institutions are beginning to implement more designs like those in the Noel Studio, Carpenter said.

“Technology can become obsolete overnight,” Carpenter said. “That’s why everything at the Noel Studio can be updated and changed out easily.”

The book is available for free online and is being utilized in curricula nationwide. Carpenter said the e-book features videos and multiple multi-media tools that “show rather than tell,” adding that he hopes the Noel Studio’s design will inspire other academic institutions to create similar models in the future.