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.