– The students who participated on the one hand wants quiet places where there is time and space for reflection and work in peace, on the other hand they also want to have places for social interaction and collaboration. It's the combination that is in demand, says Eva Alerby, professor at Luleå University of Technology.
The study was conducted together with Ulrika Bergmark, assistant professor, and is a collaboration between the University and Akademiska Hus.
Participants from across the University
The research report Location, identity and learning is based on data collected from 230 students and 78 teachers working at the university. During the work they have been participating in workshops and implemented written reflections but has also collaborated with engineering students studying architecture. The study environment is a key factor for the students.
– Many students have told us that the premises is one of the first things they look at when they decide for a university. As a student you want to feel proud of your university, how the environment is designed is ultimately a competition and recruitment issue, says Eva Alerby.
Not helpless victims
In addition to the sense of pride you can actually see that classrooms affect the study results.
–The study shows how highly connected the environment is with feelings and that you can get physical reactions of a spatial composition. A sense of calm and well-being, but also discomfort and stress, says Eva Alerby.
Ulrika Bergmark emphasizes the importance of teachers not only adapting to the room but using the room from an aware way, depending on the activity and situation.
– It is a basic idea of the whole project. We as humans are affected by the room but we are also involved in shaping the environment we move in. We are not helpless victims in the room's power, we can adapt the design to the situation and the specific needs of education.
Sweden's best student environment
Luleå University of Technology has the target clear: In 2017 the university wants to have the best student environment in Sweden. Eva Alerby and Ulrika Bergmark sees the research report as part of this work and hope that the study could form the basis for future builds.
– Akademiska Hus who own the premises looks at these questions from a different architectural perspective. What we present is more soft values. On the other hand, the students' wishes were surprisingly realistic. We might have thought that there would be more crazy but the suggestions that emerged in the study are in most cases fully feasible, says Ulrika Bergmark.