METU Department of Business Administration Co-Learning Hall
a space of possibilities that supports continuous interaction and alternative modes of co-learning
Co-Learning Hall, 2017
The building of Middle East Technical University Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, which hosts the Department of Business Administration, was constructed in 1991. Along the course of its history, certain spaces of the building became unable to answer the changing requirements due to the increasing number of students and new modes of learning.
There have been piecemeal efforts to improve the performance of the building via ad-hoc interventions, and the old PC laboratory was an example of such zones in the building. The space had served in a conventional layout with desks of computers placed on the sides of a central corridor, a server room that was added later on and additional rooms added to answer temporary requirements. The design for the renovation of the laboratory aims to unite learning activities with social functions and convert the lab from an involuntary experience into a multi-functional space of interaction.
The laboratory, functioning as a lecture hall in the present, has been re-programmed to provide space 24-7 also for non-lecture activities such as group meetings, co-working, or private studies. In order to enable various functions to take place simultaneously, the space has been divided into two zones that serve as lecture-seminar space and non-lecture space by introducing an “autonomous” sub-space in their intersection.
Following the division of lab space into zones, the design proceeded by considering scenarios for expansion and contraction of functions. In this respect, it is possible to expand lecture space to include the central meeting space or isolate it completely by lowering the blinds, to join the meeting space with non-lecture space, or isolate all zones separately. The blinds serve as operable separators dividing or uniting space in terms of direct vision and sound. In a third scenario, whole space can be converted into a large single lecture hall by reconfiguring seating and rolling blinds up.
In order to answer various requirements, the technical infrastructure of the space has to be planned to enable the operation of alternative scenarios. In this respect, the data structure of the hall has been reconfigured to enable the operation of wired-wireless networks, screens and presentation boards. All data and power infrastructure has been located in the floor to allow flexibility in reconfiguring space. Lighting scheme has been designed to provide alternative intensities and color temperatures to suit various uses.
Although the space is redefined to house various activities in a single space, none of the designed zones feature fixed enclosures. The only permanent dividers in the room are the two parallel walls, which define the central subspace and direct circulation of the room towards the sides. Relocation of circulation from the center towards the facades enable an undivided use of space in addition to providing a practical solution for preventing unwanted glare and contrast on the desks previously located next to the facade. The two parallel walls also serve as presentation surfaces by virtue of their infrastructural hardware.
Another design feature enabling multi-functional use is the modular and mobile pieces of furniture. The large meeting table in the center can be disassembled into separate lecture desks in seconds. Standing desks can be reconfigured to serve as lecture desks upon requirement. The lectern can be utilized in various configurations, be hidden behind the presentation wall when not in use, and can be moved with ease by virtue of its lightweight structure and finishes. Within the non-lecture space, groups of 4-6 can gather in focus-study booths, groups of 12 can gather in the meeting zone, or the lectern and seating can be reconfigured to house a pop-up meeting and discussion zone.
By the help of its new infrastructure, dividing-unifying elements, and the carefully balanced organization of fixed and mobile elements, The Co-Learning Hall of METU Department of Business Administration serves as a space of possibilities that serves the user 24-7.
LOCATION // Ankara, Turkey
CONS. AREA // 300m²
CLIENT // METU
TEAM // Onur Özkoç, Heves Beşeli, Elif Görkem Köse, Gizem Görgün
CONSULTANTS // Krahe IT Solutions, MPY Mühendislik, Beşeli Mühendislik
PHOTOGRAPHY // Duygu Tüntaş