Universities are more than just places for education. They also exist to support students both socially and psychologically. Modern students place a value on campuses that are designed in a way that makes them feel at home. When architects design campuses with this front of mind, students can feel more connected to the university culture and look forward to going to class each day. This is where effective university campus design has the greatest impact.
The fierce competition in today’s work industry is pushing students to pursue an institution that will make them truly prepared for the future. The cornerstone of this process is the incubation space where students spend most of their time: the university campus.
Approaching University Campus Design
Many students, especially first-year students, live on campus full-time. When approaching university campus design, architects should be thinking about details that full-time, live-in students value.
This study proves this point by finding that the farther away students moved from their families for school, the more likely they were to drop out within the first year because they lacked a sense of community. When these important concerns are addressed, students not only feel happier, but they may even perform better academically.
The socially centered approach to campus design can also have a beneficial impact on students who live off campus or live at home and commute to class. When you provide spaces for your students to connect and engage with their peers outside of class, they’re more likely to stay on campus for longer periods of time.
Details That Matter Most
Architects have a greater impact on the college experience than many people realize. A quality university education depends on a mix of academic productivity and healthy social bonds. If a space isn’t functional, then students will struggle to get their work done, and their education will suffer as a result. The same goes for socialization on campus. If there aren’t enough comfortable areas for students to relax after class or spontaneously meet up, they may get burned out and struggle to make connections. To fully embrace their role in campus life and better support students in every aspect of campus life, architects should consider a variety of design opportunities for a school’s program types.
Putting Students First in Educational Spaces
Collegiate classrooms are often much bigger than what you’ll find in high schools. This can make newer students feel overwhelmed. Large spaces will often make students feel disconnected from their peers and may even be distracting for students who are used to focused, one-on-one instruction.
One potential solution to this problem is to create fewer large lecture halls and to build more intimate learning spaces, both formal and informal, that encourage engaged learning rather than passive listening. This is a practical way to put students first in campus design.
The information taught at universities has a powerful impact on the world, but this is only possible if students feel fully supported from day one. If your goal is to retain students in order to provide a comprehensive education, then students should never feel overwhelmed or isolated.
This is a primary reason many institutions are working with architectural firms that employ a student-first approach. It makes a difference when a firm sees the value in meeting with your students in-person to talk about their needs and wants.
When an architect gets the student perspective straight from the source, they gain an understanding of how the campus can better support them and make them feel at home. Modern campus design is more than the implementation of new technologies or flashy designs just for the sake of it. It’s about designing spaces that feel like home and putting students at ease. It’s about giving students an environment where they can succeed.
When a campus is thoughtfully designed in a way that supports the needs of students, the university will make a lasting impact on the student body.