B. Camocini, L. Collina, L. Daglio, M. Mazzarello

Politecnico di Milano (ITALY)
The shift towards a Knowledge Society is introducing major changes in pedagogy as well as in research methodologies. New ICT technologies are changing the way education is delivered with new formats such as multi-party collaboration, peer to peer learning, immersive 3D or location-based learning are all parts of a new emergent style of instruction. Simultaneously, advances in scientific research and technological innovation are recognized as the result of interdisciplinary experiences, which cross the boundaries between different fields of research, addressing new and emerging topics or introducing unconventional, innovative approaches and scientific inventions. Accordingly, colleges and universities around the world are facing the challenges of rethinking higher education facilities in order to respond to the emerging needs of the change in students population and in research methodologies.

This paper focuses on the evolving requirements of learning and research environments based on an on-field ongoing research aimed at defining a meta-design project for the ‘Science for Citizens Campus’, the new State University of Milan facilities to be settled in the former Milano Expo 2015 site. The specific aim of this work is to present the innovative research methodology which has been purposely conceived - being the strategic design of the process an instrumental component to achieve the final result.

The experimented research development had to face two major challenges. On the one hand, a multiscalar systemic approach, dealing with the definition and enhancement of groups of spaces and systems of relationships, at the urban scale as well as at the campus and building scales, with the goal of providing a flexible meta-design tool to match prescriptive with performance based approaches to reach high quality standards. On the other, a special task of the research has been the combination of top-down with bottom-up strategies, with the aim of investigating and improving a shared concept of contemporary integrated campus for the scientific faculties of the State University of Milan. Focused participatory activities, addressed both to academic staff and students, have been experimented leading, as a result, to a collection of needs and requirements, in order to define the new settlement organisation and building program. Above all, the diverse discussions and dialogue sessions have triggered in the stakeholders an open attitude towards new research models, breaking the boundaries of traditional sectorial practices and introducing new multidisciplinary exchanges to nourish scientific research as well as technological innovation.