Our 5-part series on Forward-Looking Facilities concludes with a look at the informal communal spaces on campus, in-between faculty offices and labs, or student dorms and classrooms. These so-called “Third Spaces” are home to some of the most valuable interactions between students, staff and faculty alike…
In Part 5, “Third Spaces,” Ken describes the gradual evolution of higher ed campuses from “introverted” retreats to more extroverted “collision spaces,” where informal and serendipitous interactions can spark revolutionary ideas and unexpected illumination. These learning commons and “linger spaces” need to be inviting and comfortable, offering reliable wifi and plentiful power to charge mobile devices. (Oh, and caffeine!) To truly foster a creative environment for innovative thinking, they will incorporate plenty of natural light, bright colours, glass walls and variety in seating arrangements.
Already, formal lectures and seminars can be conducted remotely, digital books and journals can be accessed online, and even museum collections are being digitized for VR use. The real, enduring value of our ivy-covered, brick and limestone campuses won’t be housing books or lectures, but hosting these unique “third spaces.” Eventually, they may become the first – or perhaps the only – spaces on campus!
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