About Campus Space

The new Steelcase newsletter raises nice questions about campus space (pdf, html). It's about the fact that the number of students is increasing (since few decades) and those people "has brought unique expectations and behaviors to campus."

These trends are driving changes that are reflected in the facilities being built and renovated on campuses. Two categories of campus environments in particular are undergoing dramatic transformations: research labs and residence halls. (...) “Normally, people are very concerned about their space,” says Saltiel. Now, he says, “there’s not this concept of territory anymore. People forget about it and go on to the next thing, which is doing research.” (...) Architects say more clients at research universities want larger, more open labs. (...) Interdisciplinary research means labs must be multipurpose facilities that can change easily to accommodate different types of work. (...) Many scientists listen to music with headphones to block out distractions. Some offices are set apart so academics have private space to concentrate. (...) Just as labs are opening up as workspaces, more interdisciplinary science buildings are going up on campuses.(...) Bringing diverse specializations together in one facility and encouraging interaction through features such as open stairwells and informal conversation areas increases the chances for significant discovery within the labs

Why do I blog this? I am interested in the social (and cognitive) functions/affordances of space, that's why I found this relevant. The sentence I put in bold font is also very intriguing: how amazing would be this connection between workspace and interdisciplinary facilities/labs.

On the other side of the track, I am always amazed by empty buildings in various universities in which this sort of intents miserably failed. It's a pity because I do think it can work out.