Designing on the university campus, an analytical report on the introduction to architectural design foundation course

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For higher education students the period of university study offers a distinct particularly life-changing experience. The process of becoming an adult professional and the dynamics of character formation that take place in the university context define the future of every individual student in a distinctive way. Either they are situated in the urban fabric or in the open country fields all university campuses, scattered around the globe, share an aura in common: a dynamic prospect to change society and maybe even lead the world to a better future. The emphasis of the higher education process is usually placed upon the quality time spent inside the classrooms, during the classes and activities of the university. Between time and space, teaching usually emphasizes on time and effort. Provided the basic needs for hosting the educational activities are covered, time precedes space in the university academic sphere.

This paper explores the idea that this notion of defining the university campus might not actually be the only case, especially regarding arts and architecture students. The experience of the university campus could be intensified if approached from a different perspective; then space could precede time for a significant while for the benefit of architectural education, just as students always remember when they first enter and experience the built environment of the university and then attend classes and give their studies time and effort. Are students influenced by the actual space of the university campus itself? Is the campus, apart from a background spatial context for offering knowledge and education, the place that generates emergence and dynamism? Does the space itself affect the educational process? Is the campus as place especially influential for arts and architecture students? The paper discusses potential answers to all these questions and some more that might emerge. Moreover this research will attempt to tell the story of the first year architecture student on campus and their struggle with understanding and transforming space. We will see the campus through the prism of a newcomer, someone who was like all of us some years ago. Their innovative thinking might expose some unexpected aspects of the university campus as a space-shaping and -thinking but also educational-driving force.

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