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Hybrid College: The In-Between Places of Learning Open Access

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The college learning environment is comprised of physical and psychological space, within which students engage in the transitional process of acquiring knowledge. With regard to the college level learning environment, the majority of the attention has been focused on updating the curriculum and social services offered through the institution. However, the physical space of learning has been relegated to a secondary consideration or, as much academic research suggests, is often merely a space planning exercise.A review of the existing research on educational spaces, including data collected from empirical studies and post–occupancy surveys, is combined with the best practices from environmental and office design to create a series of recommendations for the design of an art and design college. Other sources include interviews with educators, students, and experts in the field of environmental design. First–hand observational data collected at colleges and universities further contributed to the body of knowledge used to formulate these recommendations.This thesis aims to prove that the most effective learning environment is one that addresses the student as a whole person. This approach recognizes that learning is a cumulative process that fuses old and new, knowledge that is intrinsic to the student and that which is not. It also seeks to capitalize on basic human nature; namely, that we are tied to and learn from other human beings. As a result, the social aspect of learning is at the forefront of the design. Assigning greater programmatic value to the interstitial spaces and creating in–between places within the building ’s program fosters higher levels of engagement, collaboration, and student ownership. Utilizing a hybrid space plan that includes office space, public space in the form of bookstore, event space and cafe, alongside the school further engages the student in his or her field of study and its associated community. Creative design solutions will allow for flexibility and adaptability to create an environment that is as transformable as the process of learning itself.

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