4 functions of a well-designed university campus

    Friday, September 18, 2015

    Making a campus look good is one thing, but ensuring it can accommodate students, faculty, administrators and visitors for years to come is another.

    Dozens of factors make a world-class campus. Listed below are four characteristics university engineering solutions should embody: 

    1. Accessibility 

    When designing university grounds, engineering consultants must prioritise accessibility. The modern student ventures off campus quite frequently. A survey of 25,950 students, conducted by the Australian Council for Educational Research, discovered that:

    • About three-fourths (73 per cent) of later-year pupils have off-campus jobs.
    • Most first-year students work between six and 20 hours per week, while more experienced undergraduates spend between 11 and 15 hours on the clock.

    Given that the majority students are travelling to and from campus on a weekly basis, it's imperative for universities to engineer facilities that support this lifestyle.

    2. Environmental resiliency 

    South East Queensland is no stranger to environmental disruptions. The Bureau of Meteorology noted the January 2011 flooding that impacted an estimated 200,000 people, causing approximately $1 billion in damages. More than 8,600 properties (both residential and commercial) were in some way affected by this event.

    How can engineers design universities so they intuitively guide students to destinations?Campus grounds should be easy to navigate.

    Universities are responsible for the safety of their students, meaning their facilities must be resilient to extreme weather, especially if they're located in South East Queensland.

    3. Navigable

    Closely related to the first characteristic, students must be able to find their way around the campus intuitively. Doing so involves employing a logical design.

    When reason takes over, and students quickly figure out how to get from the first-year dorms to the dining hall, to the engineering building and so on, you have the basis of a more secure educational experience.

    Bike paths and spacious walkways are staples of any university. If a school's size or location make it difficult for students to reach specific destinations on foot within a reasonable amount of time, transit engineers should consider implementing shuttles. 

    4. Adaptive 

    When university administrators forecast a surge in enrollment, the sustainable solution lies in reusing or renovating existing properties to support more students, faculty, vehicles and so forth. Purchasing more land and developing it won't fix the problem, and may disrupt the navigability and rhythm of the existing campus.

    Therefore, civil engineers must design university grounds with forethought given to future investments. Sewage and drainage systems, electrical assets, roadways and other solutions must be able to support expanded or renovated structures. This enhances a school's long-term sustainability and tempers expenses.