Saturday, 26 February 2011

My adventure ends and the work begins

I am sat in Christchurch Airport waiting to fly out to Melbourne hence the title of this blog.
Strangely enough I have met several travellers in NZ who work in HE. They have been from Canada, USA, Australia and of course NZ. I visited Christchurch University on the 14th. What was interesting is that they all had tales of woe of badly designed spaces, even new ones.
One head of school from a Canadian university, which shall remain nameless, was pleased to hear of the work that is starting to emerge in this area. We spent some time discussing why badly designed teaching rooms seemed to be a global issue and concluded that one reason is that technology has presented new opportunities and challenges to the technologists but the designers, usually architects, have not kept up.
Another and possibly the main reason is the fear of change. I have no doubt that within HE there is a traditionalism that is an obstacle to change.
To be controversial I would even say there are some in positions of power who take the opinion what was good enough for them when students should be good enough for anyone with some minor adjustments.

On another note is there anything in particular followers of this Blog would like me to check out in Melbourne University?


  1. Arrived in Melbourne safely and was met by Peter.
    The work started immediately as Peter decided to use the multi-storey car park he was parked in as a lesson in space design.
    This was an interesting session which lasted 45 minutes until we 'found' the car. Of course Peter will tell you this was planned!
    Joking aside there were some serious points that emerged from this experience:
    1) Inadequate lighting
    2) Inadequate signage
    3) Bad use of colour
    The signs identifying the rows and columns were white writing on yellow background, this combined with inadequate lighting resulted in lost car owners, we were not the only victims.
    The message, think about signage in a serious way. It is not acceptable to install signage that is not functional.

  2. Peter's right of reply......Yes, this was a planned experience which started with the first thoughts of building a huge multi-storey car park years ago, knowing full well that Nigel would arrive one day and need me to collect him. What can I say? You could hear Nigel's laughter echoing throughout the concrete bunker of a building. Not quite the start to his trip that I had intended. But we soon recovered and I took him to the city to set up a short-term phone account..... and lost him as well. He was there one minute and gone the next. I couldn't believe it! This all seemed like a giant SCHOMS plot to upset me.... I will be seeking specialist medical support as a result of what was meant to be a quiet Sunday's introduction to Melbourne. I am sure this will deter further SCHOMS trips downunder, though this was not the intention!

  3. Hi Nigel and Peter, good to know you arrived in Melbourne safely after the disaster in Christchurch. Looking forward to hearing of good things happening there over the next 2/3 weeks. Reading between the lines I can imagine Sunday lunch was more than the usual roast and included some liquid refreshment. Well done.

    Best wishes for a successful adventure in learning space design.... Az

  4. Hi Nigel,
    very pleased to hear that you have arrived safe and sound, I hope you have a great few weeks.

    Talking about car parks, see if you can get Peter to take you to Swinburne University. They have converted an underground car park into a student social learnign space. What is interesting is that not only is it quite special in terms of design, but academic staff are only able to go into the space if invited by a student to discuss work etc. I would be really interested in hearng how this works. Also, see if you can get int the Brownless library/student centre. Apparently this space is not working so it would be good to know if it doesn't, why not so we can learn some lessons from it. I am guessing that this is not one Peter was involved in. Take care and have fun!!


Follow by Email