Yesterday, Sunday, I had a familiarization day of the campus and the city centre. Lots to see here. The central library was truly amazing, I will get some pics.
Today Peter explained the structure of my time here. I have received a structured induction about what projects are going on and others that are complete which I will be visiting.
Peter has prepared a reading list, I will be starting with ' The Language of Space' by Bryan Lawson.
I will be carrying out critiques on selected spaces, attending workshops and project meetings at the university and at other establishments that Peter is involved with.
I visited 3 spaces today.
One nearing completion is a 30 seat learning space converted from a tiered lecture theatreTalking to the project manger from the contractor I discovered that the ceiling material was to be changed from strips of MDF to aluminium because of warping. The lesson here is to be sure that the building material will give the desired effect. ( pic below).
Another was previously an open plan area that has been converted into 3 teaching spaces to help cope with the shortage of learning spaces. This was interesting as the tables, the plectrum shaped ones some are familiar with, were being used well during a group discussion session within the lecture. However two of the tables which were designed to be higher than the others were about 200mm too high and in the wrong position which had an impact on circulation with in the room. This reminded me of the problem we all experience of cramming too much into a given area to maximize bums on seats although this was not the actual problem here just badly positioned tables. The space experience should be about quality not quantity although I understand the pressure we are under to provide more with less!
Later I attended a book launch where I was introduced to the VC and the Dean of Architecture and met Clare Newtown of the Faculty of Architecture whom I first met at a U21 design forum in Virginia in 2009. I will be meeting Clare again to discuss the impact of technology and it's impact on learning spaces, in particular asking 'can technology have a negative impact in the use of space?' I know that many will have opinions on this point.