The Mindful Estate


By Dianna Fletcher (Floud)

Studio Director Dianna Fletcher looks at how we can design the physical environment to positively influence pupil and staff wellbeing.

ADP’s stand at ISBA in Manchester last month focused on how schools and their architects can provide a healthy environment for staff and pupils, in both new build projects and refurbishments.

Looking after ‘the whole child’ is increasingly a key factor in parents’ choice of school. The quality of the teaching is a given – so what else identifies a school as the right choice for a family? The physical environment is a key piece in the jigsaw puzzle of how to look after the wellbeing of children and adolescents, and there are many factors that architects and clients should consider in the early stages of design.

This topic is increasingly a part of the national conversation, and the conference also covered this with a panel session on wellbeing. Speakers included heads and bursars as well as experts on mental health.

As part of discussions at the conference, we used one of our current projects to illustrate a number of the design factors that can influence wellbeing. We have taken the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ – first established by the New Economics Foundation* – and adapted these to form our ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing in the Mindful Estate’. These aspects were illustrated using a large 3D section, based on our new Sixth Form Centre for Epsom College in Surrey. 

The Five Ways to Wellbeing on the Mindful Estate:




These 5 points were also illustrated in a set of colourful postcards for delegates to take away and share with colleagues. Please do get in touch if you would like a set.

We are now taking this theme further, and developing a research project for 2019–20. This will engage with the independent school sector to answer the question:

‘How can the physical environment positively influence pupil and staff wellbeing?’

*The Five Ways to Wellbeing are a set of evidence-based public mental health messages aimed at improving the mental health and wellbeing of the whole population. They were developed by NEF as the result of a commission by Foresight, the UK government' s futures think-tank, as part of the Foresight Project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing.


Dianna Fletcher (Floud)

Dianna Fletcher (Floud)

Dianna has a particular interest in the sensitive conservation and renewal of the historic built environment. She is part of the senior management
team of our London studio.