Swivel Seating in Lecture Theatres


This September, City University London’s first swivel seating lecture theatre will be built by Properties and Facilities.  This will be a small lecture theatre available in the refurbishment of the University building basement.  The room will boast rows of fixed seating along with swivel seating to enable group work and collaboration between students ensuring that cohorts taught in this space will benefit from interactive, engaging sessions.  Sockets will be provided to offer power to students own devices in fifty per cent of the seats.  The seats will be arranged in a horse shoe shape to enhance a feeling intimacy.  The walls will provide write on surfaces and dual projection screens will be used.  This lecture theatre will be evaluated in order to inform future lecture theatre design as City undertakes a significant programme of building and refurbishment.

Swivel seating has been used in a number of lecture theatres at other institutions such as this Alumni Auditorium at the University of Exeter.  In this model, every seat is able to swivel.  Small tables can be pulled out of the arm rests and each seat provides power and USB points.  Each level has two rows of seats.  Inevitably, swivel seating is space hungry compared to traditional rows of seats:

Alumni Auditorium, Forum, University of Exeter

Or this Seating Lecture Theatre at University of Strathclyde uses chairs on castors to allow students to swivel from desks to computers.  Here the lecture theatre is used to facilitate presentations, group work and use of University provided computers as well as students own devices:

Seating Theatre, University of Strathclyde


This model of fixed seating and swivel seating combined is similar to the type of lecture theatre that will be reproduced at City.  This style is less space hungry than fully swivelling furniture throughout the room.  These images and information have kindly been shared with us by the Centre for Learning and Academic Development at University of Birmingham: