NEW QUALITATIVE CRITERIA FOR CONTEMPORARY UNIVERSITIES IN RESEARCH AND PROJECTS COMPLETED BY STUDENTS OF THE ARCHITECTURAL FACULTY AT THE SILESIAN UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
The article provides a description of completed student projects carried out as part of didactic classes, based on scientific research connected with problems of shaping the space within and around contemporary universities. Educating future architects in the scope of design as part of the Architectural major is based on scientific research. Research by design in practice, constitutes a formulation of research questions as well as responses based on research methods which students learn about in the course of studies. The article describes a research theme carried out by the students of the architecture faculty as part of Scientific Work Methodology course which is a course conducted as part of second cycle studies.
As part of that course, students carried out qualitative research at the campus of the Silesian University of Technology in terms of the seven criteria:
• way finding - visual identification of campuses and buildings,
• universal design - an accessibility analysis. At present, higher education institutions are involved in many an event,organized for different age groups, in order to make science more popular, hence the accessibility aspect stemming from design for all is so significant.
• Services rendered within the campus as well as external services - Needs analysis in that scope as well as specification of the influence of the city on the campus
• Network of places designed for learning and for socializing - An analysis performed in the course of research made it possible to indicate the spaces within the school which should be modified in terms of the arrangement and fit-out, so that students’ activity could be improved in that scope. On the basis of research, students were able to carry out projects which were not only described but also illustrated
• Safety within campus, or design out crime - a strategy of design related to activities supported by research accompanied by users, making it possible to carry out design actions as a result of which threats of crime could be reduced or eliminated altogether
• image of higher education institutions - esthetic aspects, their condition.
• campus zone as an urban zone - in the course of studies there were attempts to find answers to the following question: To what extent should the zone of the university campus be accessible to external users.
A research method which is applied as part of predesign research is the Post-Occupancy Evaluation. At the beginning the following steps were taken: Site inspection along with inventory of places which could potentially be appropriate for the realization of projects. A series of surveys were performed as part of questions that were directed at students. Research was targeted at recognizing the needs in terms of space to be designed and also at assessing the current condition of each and every of the faculty buildings. Interviews supported with questionnaires were also conducted. Observation methods were applied along with other additional activities such as filming, photographing and recording.
On the basis of predesign research, projects of functions supplementing the current condition were prepared. At present, the authorities of the university have taken the decision to perform a project of a network of places designed for learning and socializing on the basis of predesign research.