Rethinking School Lounges


I attend high school at the Blake School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. When students are not in class, whether they are studying in a free period or socializing between classes, they are often found in the various grade-specific lounges located throughout the school. Two of these lounges in close proximity – the lounges of the junior and senior classes – are particularly busy, however limited and somewhat inefficient use of space in the senior lounge has created a problem. During particularly busy times of the day, this lounge simply can’t comfortably seat enough people who are looking to either socialize or study, while the junior lounge generally has ample space for students to use.

Site pictures




The first two pictures are of the junior lounge, which clearly is much more spacious and has more seating. Each lounge is centered around a fireplace, however the junior lounge gives both more social space (near the fireplace) and work space (at the tables across the hallway. Meanwhile, the senior lounge is often cramped and difficult for various students to both work and socialize in, which is why I would like to redesign it. In order to allow more students to make use of the senior lounge, I have redesigned it in an attempt to maximize the space and cater to the needs of my school’s students and faculty.


I created the above floorplan to fit the senior lounge dimensions of approximately 50 feet by 40 feet. I specifically intended to cater to the needs of some of my classmates who talked with me about they would want in an ideal lounge. Below is a table that includes their feedback on aspects that they would like to see as well as things they do not enjoy about the current lounge.

Want to have Current problems
More seating Crowded around fireplace
More comfortable seating Inefficient in use of space
More table space Lack of areas to work undistracted
More natural light Little storage

It is easy to see that the use of space is something that many people, including myself, have found to be a problem in the senior lounge. For starters, I added benching to the corner of the walls just to add some extra much needed seating. Additionally, I changed the tables that were once small and round with two of three chairs to circular benches that would have portable tables similar to the ones seen in my inspiration below and underneath storage and outlets for students to store their backpacks and charge their computers. I proposed to slightly modify the setup of the area surrounding the fireplace in the picture above. I added a bench for people to sit on when they simply want to warm up in the Minnesota winters, and modified the seating slightly in the hopes of making it less crowded with as well as promoting collaboration around the bigger, taller, and more usable center table. Next, I added a big window to the school front wall looking out to the street. It may seem like a simply change, however the only natural light in the comes from the main entrance doors. The junior lounge has ample natural light and I would like the sunlight to illuminate the senior lounge in a way that does not distract students from their work. Finally, another small but important addition based off of some personal experience is the small table and bench in the near corner of the lounge. As you can see in the junior lounge pictures, there is space for students to do work with separation from the center of the lounge — where most of the socializing happens — which is something that the senior lounge does not currently have. I personally find myself often distracted by other students when working in the senior lounge, so I think it would be very nice to have a small, separate place for one or a few students to do some quieter work.



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