Our series on college buildings continues with a look at new classroom designs, flexible space, collaboration areas, and the evolving role of the university library.
3. PROMOTING COLLABORATION
Fostering collaboration is a common theme for most collegiate projects. Huddle space for students, faculty groups, and researchers is being set aside to promote interaction. Co-locating different disciplines within the same building is an increasingly common tactic, all in the belief that more effective learning, higher-quality research, and greater levels of innovation result when academics from different backgrounds and disciplines work in close proximity.
This concept is being implemented at UNCC’s Portal building which, to promote interaction among incubator firms, will have some offices with windows facing the interior of the building. Shared conference rooms and kitchenettes will be centrally located within bridges connecting two wings. These areas will be flooded with natural light to draw entrepreneurs together for impromptu conversations during the day; at night, they’ll be able to see others burning the midnight oil, possibly leading to breakthrough business opportunities, says Mullenix.