PAM series #2: Understand Your Campus

Getting smart about what exists on your campus right now is the key to updating and creating spaces. We asked Stephen Minning – CEO of PAM and BrandCulture – how he starts this process.

In his experience, your most significant resource is one you likely already have – the university master plan. Whether you’re a working part of the university or a designer supporting them, the master plan is your guide to the university future. In particular, Stephen suggests designing your project around five essential elements.

  1. The primary user groups

Understanding who the campus has was designed for is a big part of your foundations. Academics, students and visitors approach their campus use very differently to staff like security or maintenance. Interviewing critical stakeholders like the security staff gives a great insight into how their use case fits into the master plan.

  1. The campus in an urban fabric

Some campuses are created with a vision of encouraging the public to interact with an academic space. Others are distinctly separate from the public urban areas and set themselves aside for use by academics and students. By recognising the interaction between public spaces and the university, you’re better equipped to follow your users’ journey through campus and beyond.

  1. Geographic footprint

Your university placement heavily influences this interaction between the public and the university visitor in the broader landscape. Some university buildings knit together to create their space within, in turn creating a clear separation. In the increasingly common city campus, however, buildings can be spread out across the city with other businesses or buildings intertwined.

  1. Building type and function

Different spaces respond to different university needs and wayfinding between these spaces with consistency can be tricky. Understanding from your masterplan and audit the intended user of the space supports the language and method of your wayfinding within these.

  1. Talk to property stakeholders

Understanding how the master plan is interacting with your campus now is essential, but by understanding the future goals – you future-proof space. By talking with property stakeholders, your smart space is built ready for building changes. You want to know what will be added, removed and what the timeline is for each of these updates. Building change into your wayfinding plans makes creating the evolving smart campus achievable.

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