Designing for community: stage 0

After a visit of my likely design space this week I am both surprised and excited. The Undergraduate Life and Learning center is an interesting place. It is home to many professional staff, graduate student advisors, and the hub for some of the undergraduate organizations. Lots of different people use this space and have differing agendas & goals. As the center has grown they have just made due with the space; as Hilary (one of the graduate student advisors and my collaborator for this project) mentioned to me very little in the space seems to have been done intentionally. The result? A functional but not optimal workspace, and a less than inviting atmosphere. The center wants to encourage community between the different users of the space, but the current structure and spacial design do not promote or really afford for (9)

Graduate Student Advisors’ work area – one thing that stood out to me was the advisors used giant sticky poster paper to post ideas and pictures, also colorful sticky notes were everywhere. They need whiteboards and bulletin boards!

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Main hallway – it is a very wide hall but gave the feeling of being in my old elementary school. There is very little on the walls, except at the very end there are some flyers for events. However, students rarely make it all the way down the hall. Undergraduates that show up to the center are usually there for something official like a mediation or applying for something.

It seems a redesign of the Undergraduate Life and Learning office will be both a redesign of the space and of the system. At least the users all seem ready for change. One of the undergraduates that works at the front desk put together some ideas that the undergraduates had about a redesign of the space.

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The proposed floor plan shows more open space (most areas can only be accessed by keycode currently) and a much more lively hallway with bulletin boards, etc.

This is for sure going to be a fun and challenging redesign!



4 Responses to “Designing for community: stage 0”

  1. 1 Rebecca Itow February 12, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    This sounds like a great project. It will be interesting to see how you redesign the space within the constraints of the room size and hall layout. Looking forward to hearing more about your progress!

  2. 2 Kylie Peppler February 12, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    The pictures are super helpful here — thanks for these! I think that they’ll be very useful in the design process.

  3. 3 Rafi Santo February 12, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Definitely interested in seeing how this unfolds too – it’s nice to see that folks already in the space are invested in the idea of redesigning the space and have ideas about how to do so. I wasn’t totally clear on who the users of the space are though – is that people that work in the office, plus undergards that stop by for various purposes?

    • 4 amstrack February 17, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      I tried to clarify the users in the class wiki posting, but good point. The users are a very diverse group. There are many different offices in the SLL wing. There are undergraduate organization offices, professional staff, and graduate student advisors all in the space. Then other undergraduates show up for a variety of different reasons, like academic issues, applying for funding, reserving a room or study space, etc.

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