Did you go to college? Then you surely have an opinion about how the building influenced your studies.
According to “Webometrics Ranking of World Universities“, there are around 21,000 universities in the world. And many more are currently under construction. This may reflect something about how important education is becoming nowadays, however, are these new facilities improving the way we learn? In fact, have the buildings in which we study the ability to make us more creative or more successful?
As a matter of fact the way spaces are arranged do matter in the way students interact with the professor, in the way they engage with each other and in conclusion in the way they learn. But how does architecture (the physical space) influence education? Whether the classroom has a circular or linear disposition may have the strongest impact, nevertheless other aspects are also very important. Things such as proximity between spaces matter too. Where are the library, the computer rooms or the cafeteria located? Or for example, do universities that have sports facilities contribute to the overall performance of students (body and mind)? Would you agree that green spaces, scenarios and cafeterias are necessary to provide relax, inspiration and interaction? Or do you think they are a waste of space and should be avoided? Does the total area per student matter? Does it depend on the major? There is a whole psychological approach about this type of building, quite interesting in fact.
I here propose 9 universities from different places around the globe to open the debate. What do you think about architecture in education? What should the building include/not include? Do you think the facility where you studied was important to your performance?
1. The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
Location: New York (US)
Architect: Morphosis Architects
Brief Description: Built as the new academic building for The Cooper Union. The central and most important part of the building is the stair. It works as a “plaza” where students gather. Read more here.
2. Deichmann Center for Social Interaction (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)
Location: Beer-Sheva (Israel)
Architect: Vert Architects
Brief Description: The square serves as an entrance gate to the western side of the campus, surrounded by existing buildings and the future Negev Gallery. The square offers an outdoor space for cultural and social activities for students and for the city population. Read more here.
3. Ewha Womans University
Location: Seoul (Korea)
Architect: Dominique Perrault Architecture
Brief Description: This new campus brings together the university and the city. It “invites the public into the site carrying students and visitors”. Read more here.
4. Adolfo Ibañez University
Location: Viña del Mar (Chile)
Architect: José Cruz Ovalle y Asociados
Brief Description: This new campus located on the hills of the city of Viña del Mar attempts to create a unique compound for university life, that allows for a certain relationship between study and contemplation. Read more here.
5. Luigi Bocconi University
Location: Milan (Italy)
Architect: Grafton Architects
Brief Description: The idea was to make two worlds, one hovering over the other, with the space of the city flowing between. The building feels like a city in miniature and was designed as a ‘place of exchange’. Read more here.
6. Creative Center at Bangkok University
Location: Bangkok (Thailand)
Architect: Supermachine Studio
Brief Description: The facility is meant to be very open, playful and expressive to encourage the students to communicate more thus come the creative environment. It challenges and questions the identities and activities of young people, as well as a new policy in Thai society. Read more here.
7. Zollverein School of Management and Design
Location: Essen (Germany)
Brief Description: Given traditional standards, the building volume might be perceived as too large for its program. Exceptional ceiling heights seem appropriate for the educational spaces. Read more here.
8. The Swinburne University of Technology
Architect: H2o architects
Brief Description: SUT ATC is a cutting edge engineering focused facility for education and research, designed to be practical and flexible for future changes in education, while enriching and invigorating its occupants and the university. Read more here.
9. Musashino Art University Museum & Library
Location: Tokyo (Japan)
Architect: Sou Fujimoto
Brief Description: It proposes a new relation between the user and the books, surrounded and sheltered by them. The library is made from bookshelves. Read more here.