Some useful details about work space creation

Determining the right size and number of various work spaces such as lecture halls, faculty offices, labs etc. is a critical activity when planning for infrastructure creation of an institute. I had an opportunity to help in this activity at my university recently. When doing my homework on this task I found the following points to be useful which I'm noting here for other's reference:

  1. When determining the number of classrooms of different capacities, it will be useful if you have some data about class enrollments. That is, whether you are likely to have many classes with 30-40 students enrolled or you are likely to have most of the classes between 60-80 students enrolled for the course?
  2. For better utilization of space it is advisable to co-locate the same size rooms.
  3. You should plan for having movable furnishings (chairs etc.) in classrooms instead of fixed. This will allow you to "reconfigure" the room for different usage and capacity tuning.
For example, Fig. 1 below shows the classroom size and number situation at Stanford after they "right-sized" the classrooms.
Fig. 1 (Source: Stanford University Instructional Space Master Plan).

Similarly, for other types of work space specifications I've found the following documents/resources useful:
  1. Stanford University Instructional Space Master Plan (PDF). This is a good document to refer to for understanding masterplan level issues and recommendations when planning for academic zone facilities.
  2. Stanford Land, Buildings and Real Estate documents library ( has a good collection of documents covering guidelines about various aspects of land and buildings. It covers from horticulture to signage to interiors.
  3. Stanford University Space and Furniture Planning Guidelines (PDF). It talks about sizes and dimensions of different types of offices, labs and classrooms etc. in a university.
  4. West Virginia University Space Guidelines 2013 (PDF).
  5. Rowan University Space and Furniture Standards (PDF). This too is similar to #3 above, but from a different university. It is a more concise one and shows diagrams of the offices, classrooms etc. with typical recommended furnishing etc. 
  6. New plinth area norms for General Pool Residential Accommodation (GPRA) in India. (PDF)


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