With another new academic year beginning this month across the nation, universities and colleges are brimming with new students. In light of this, we have chosen five inspiring and innovative university campuses that present a unique design model. From furnishings to presenting new ways of learning and collaborating, these examples present why going back into higher education doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.

Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia: MUSE or Macquarie University Spatial Experience is a student space created for flexible and interactive learning and socialising. Designed from ideas and consultations made with the students, the space, created in a vacant building boasts a number of varying study spaces and areas taking away the formal classroom or closed room concept. Walls are stripped to show the original concrete and bright and vibrant colours add a bold and attractive environment. Furniture has been created especially to fit the spaces including rubber moveable seating.

Lee Hall College of Architecture at Clemson University, South Carolina, USA

: Spaces created to encourage collaborative working between a number of different courses and departments has been presented at the Lee Hall College of Architecture. Studios and workshop spaces are open plan and a general open view plan across the entire campus. Glazed windows, large ring-shaped sky lights allowing natural light and glazed elevations are some of the design features creating a light and airy environment. This presents a new cross-subject style of learning and teaching, encouraging students to collaborate.

Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, USA: Housing an innovative masthead for the environment, the new building that houses the Foresrty and Environmental Studies devision at Yale is a green masterpiece. The interior is well designed to allow maximum natural sunlight during the day without the glare and energy throughout the building is geothermal. The wooden panels have been sourced from wood harvested from Yale’s own forests. The simple design of the interior and exterior along with the energy efficiency concepts reminds us how beautiful green buildings can look and function.

Creative Centre at Bangkok University, Bangkok, Thailand: This highly colourful and flexible working space includes a workshop, library, exhibition space, viewing room and office. Some of the features include a space-ship like green pod that houses the internet room where that students can move furniture around and explore different ways of working. The use of bare and lacquered wood in bright colours makes the interior spaces flow encouraging experimentation and flexible collaboration.

The Library at Tama Art Univeristy, Tokyo, Japan: The design of the library at Tama Art university in Tokyo has been inspired by the natural shape of caves. With dedicated study spaces, the interior spaces have also been designed to make sure al the furniture is on the same low level as the bookshelves to add privacy. Low shelves and lacy steel screens separate spaces and seating varies from large birch tables to felt upholstered chairs and built-in study benches by the exterior window.