This past Friday, we had a presentation on each group’s research, including student surveys, precedent studies, or research on the social and behavioral aspects of Gatewood Studio Arts Building. It was interesting to see the results of the student surveys. For instance, the IARc library was very underused. After a class discussion on this, it seemed to be a common thought that when you walk into the library, you feel somewhat intimidated, or like it is somewhere that you should not be. Most people, if they used the library at all, used it for studying or sleeping or drawing instead of what it is supposed to be used for. Another underutilized space was the student lounge on the second floor. Last year, this space was redesigned thanks to a collaboration of Interior Architecture and Art majors. It is interesting that even after it was completely revamped to make more interesting and appealing, still no one uses the space. On the other hand, it was clear to see that there is an obvious shift in the first half and the second half of the program. The survey showed that the majority of first and second years use their studio spaces most and that the third and fourth years use the computer lab more often. I believe this is a direct correlation to the shift in our projects [using more computer software and having one or two projects a semester instead of one every 2 weeks] and the amount of commuter students there are from second year to third year. When you live off campus, you can keep most of your stuff at home because you have more room than in a dormitory.
Other than research, there were a lot of precedent images of spaces, furniture, electrical delivery, walls, etc. It was very cool to see what everyone enjoyed and wanted in our studio space, and even what the studio space could transform into. Across the board, there were a lot of solutions for our very obvious acoustics problem such as acoustic wall panels in different shapes, sizes, colors, and textures to stimulate creativity while muffling the outside and unnecessary sounds. Also, there were many interesting uses of lighting to replace our boring and inconsistent lighting that we have now. The lighting images used diffusers and a variety of shapes to cast good, bright light to the surrounding space.
Overall, I think this exercise was a real positive thing. I learned a lot about the different solutions out there that we could use to enhance our studio space and make it more usable and inspiring to the students here at UNCG. It was also inspiring to me to see what the other students think about what works and what does not work in Gatewood and that for the most part, our class agrees on what needs fixing in our space. Hopefully, we as a third year class, can turn the studio into something that constantly inspires and rejuvenates the design coming out of the Interior Architecture department.