Building Consensus

Decisions made in the construction of facilities actually affect the entire campus, and therefore must involve a large and representative group of individuals. Members of the faculty, student body, administration, and even other campuses should be brought into dialogue with each other to create a campus-wide consensus on the purpose of the science program. The cost of new facilities demands that there be wide-ranging involvement in planning; since the cost of the project is incurred by the campus as a whole, and not just particular departments, the benefits need to be presented in a broad rather than a narrow sense.

"Man dwells when he can orientate himself within and identify himself with an environment, or, in short, when he experiences the environment as meaningful. Dwelling therefore implies something more than 'shelter." It implies that the spaces where life occurs are places, in the true sense of the word. A place is a space which has a distinct character. Since ancient times the genius loci, or "spirit of place," has been recognized as the concrete reality man has to face and come to terms with in his daily life. Architecture means to visualize the genius loci, and the task of the architect is to create meaningful places, whereby he helps man to dwell."
- Christian Norberg-Schulz

From Experience: Duke University

Duke University faced the challenge of creating a facility that would be a centerpiece for scientific research and education and enhance the interaction and cooperation between faculty and students. The first plans failed to address the hopes of many for a facility that would enhance interdisciplinary research, and so a committee of faculty and administrators was appointed to address interdisciplinary issues both spiritually and structurally. When they were finished they had created a building that contributed to the physical integrity of the Duke campus and remained in keeping with the University's commitment to interdisciplinary research and learning. The full integration of Duke's design and Duke's campus community was only possible through the coordinated involvement of faculty administrators, trustees, and architects.

Asking the Right Questions

Architectural Questions To Ask:

Do buildings, individually or collectively, serve as centers of intellectual and social activity?

Is there an inherent unity, integrity, and coherence to our campus, or does the placement and character of the buildings, walks, and roads suggest that decisions over the years have been made in a piecemeal, ad hoc fashion, building by building?

Can a new facility reinforce what works now in campus patterns and anticipate new patterns and anticipate new patterns tat will accompany future growth and change?