Back in October you may recall taking part in our on-site interviews. We use informal interviews coupled with a wealth of other creative consultation methods to understand the real, rather than perceived spatial preferences and needs of the people we are designing for and in this instance the Informal Interview process lies at the heart of our creative consultation project for the ‘If‘ project.
If you remember taking part you will also recall either, Scott and Sara who we sent to site to spend two days interviewing staff and students using an informal soft interview style. Over the course of the two days they were stationed at two locations.
The Humanities Building – Library Road entrance.
Milburn House – Main entrance.
In total Sara and Scott interviewed 87 of you! The data gathered was brought back to our studio where it was analysed and the following charts created to feed back the information to, you the users and the University management. We received some very detailed feedback and are working through this and other consultation information including the polls mounted here on the blog. All of this data will be captured in a report that we hope to submit to the University in December and we have our fingers crossed that this will help to engage peoples interest and build support for a new Humanities Building at UoW.
NB. The figure of 2% has been used as a threshold in the data. This is due to the number of multiple responses in individual questions and the natural low frequency of some of these results. All answers on or below this threshold are automatically included within the ‘Other’ category.
Thanks again to everyone who took part in the site interviews with Scott and Sara the other week. We were delighted with the response. Since then we have been processing the information we gathered from you and we would love to know some more details. The poll questions below have been designed in direct response to your answers and ideas. We would love it if you could take five minutes to give us a little bit more. If you can’t spare the time right now please do come back – hurry though – the polls will close on 23rd November.
Finally we want to hear what you have to say. Using the comment box below please sum up your vision, hopes and desires for a new humanities building in one sentence. Alternatively tweet your answer to this question to @ifhumsbuilding
The subjects of identity and community are always popular in the projects we undertake for universities. Identity is important to most people in contemporary society and we have found that understanding the real, rather than perceived identity of a place is often the route to creating a successful place.
Many new university spaces are being, and have been developed across the country and a lot of these, although pleasant contemporary environments often lack certain qualities and subsequently can be a tad devoid of character. The most successful spaces we know of always express something about the identity of that place and the community who inhabit it.
There are a myriad of ways in which this can be achieved from the architecture itself through to the furniture specification and internal artwork. We are frequently asked to write about this topic and there are two projects in our portfolio that illustrate the point well. These projects are very different yet just over a mile apart geographically.
The first project is a University of Glasgow space. In this project a huge glazed facade looks out onto the wonderful historic architecture of the campus while original furniture borrowed from the period reading room is used to link to the past. Finally artwork constructed from archive and University museum material displays a mixture of achievements, historical events, people and quirky cultural references, which could only be found in this place.
The second project is at Glasgow Caledonian University and provides a strong contrast to UoG. Here the architecture and internal structures have been used to express the concept of a forward thinking, ambitious, even brash place. The internal artwork reflects ideas about landscape, important in a city centre concrete campus, along with more practical references to subjects taught/studied and even some deliberately subversive elements
So how can we uncover the real identity of University of Warwick and in particular the Faculty of Arts and its departments? Responses to our field interviews should shed some light on this and in a weeks time we will be loading up a number of polls to prompt you so keep checking back or if you are feeling particularly inspired please do leave a comment below.
Thanks to everyone who took part in interviews. Unbelievably we managed to get 87 of you to participate and we have to say that the quality of feedback has been great. Over the next few weeks we will continue to load up stories and there will also be some polls for you to take part in so please keep coming back. We would love to hear what you think – this is a fantastic opportunity to generate the type of space you want for the Humanities Building.
Hello – I am currently a fourth year student in Scotland but have also been working as a designer/researcher with Nomad for just over a year now. I first met Nomad when I interviewed for an internship as part of my third Year University work and since then have been involved in a number of field projects for the team although this is the furthest I have travelled south. I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived on Sunday night, it was dark but I could still see that the campus is very beautiful and well kept.
Yesterday was our first day and we felt very welcomed by the fantastic response from students and staff. We managed to interview a total of 48 people yesterday and the information we were gathering was really interesting and detailed. So far there has been unanimous support for the idea of a new Humanities building and many people we talked to were eager to know just how quickly it could happen!
We head back up to Scotland at the end of today so if you have not had a chance to come and have chat with Scott or I please do. This afternoon Scott will be in Milburn House and I will be Humanities Building Entrance. There might even be some chocolates left but at this rate we cant promise anything!
Over the last few years we have been streaming lots of conferences into the studio. It’s a really handy way of staying up to date without having the time sink and expense of travelling. A few years ago we heard Emily-Ann Nash former Vice President of The University of Brighton’s Student Union presented at the FOTE conference that was held at Senate House in London. Nash is now an elected member of the NUS National Higher Education Zone Committee and her work there has focused on leading the NUS digital agenda and producing a Technology Charter to support and encourage student unions throughout the UK to lobby their universities for a 21st century student experience. Amid a number of interesting issues she raised the importance of talking to students about your expectations and requirements. We know that you will want some form of technological support your new learning spaces but what kind? Will it simply be more power outlets, charging points and greater data/ wifi connection for your own devices or do you need more? The charter presented by Nash above is probably a little out of date now so it would be great to hear your thoughts an opinions about the technology you might need in a new Humanities Building.
We want your new spaces to be both truly innovative and truly unique. For us this means that we must work with staff and students to design spaces that are exciting, functional, comfortable and look good. We must also be aware of the project in its context and examine the latest thinking and design practice in Universities, Schools and Colleges so that we can learn from others and pass this on.
A couple of months ago we were invited to join a tour of Dutch learning spaces called ‘Crazy spaces make great places’. It was an intriguing title for a tour so we signed up and found ourselves in Rotterdam earlier this year.
We visited a number of places we had only ever seen on the net or read about before including BK City in Delft University of Technology. BK City is the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment at TU Delft . The design team was led by the dean of the Faculty of Architecture and included a number of teams from various well-known Dutch architects.
The main features of this space are the enormous orange stepped structure, which actually leads nowhere. Students use the steps as a place to meet , to quietly have a coffee and read, to take time out and contemplate, and when invited speakers and artists visit, it is used as a grandstand. Interestingly it is the structure under the stairs that is most popular as it contains several large collaborative workrooms. Although this is the most often featured space in design journals there are a number of supporting learning spaces including an open plan factory like workshop and a library. There is even a corner of the building where there is a lovely patch of sunlight and a picnic bench is set up on a square of daisy strewn Astroturf.
This space is a little crazy and creative and inspiring. Now we would like to know what kind of space you would like to see. We would love to see your thoughts and ideas in the comments section but if you would prefer you can contribute in the upcoming polls.