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The moment we are living in is the largest increase in expressive capability in human history! The new media landscape that we are all now a part of has played a critical part in this and it has reconstituted the way people gather and transfer knowledge. The learning process is now continuous and does not begin nor end with the school building. This thesis is a critical look into the university educational system in America that starts by exploring the relationship between educational environments and the way new media and social networking are changing the social behavior of today’s student. The goal is to understand the role of learning environments in the process of learning and whether this process can benefit from new spatial typologies and teaching methodologies.
The significance of the public institution as a center for information exchange and knowledge transfer has diminished in the 21st century in favor of new forms of networking communications, including distance and mobile learning strategies. With seven thousand students dropping out every school day, the need exists for exploring the development of work environments for students that are more stimulating and engaging in order for them to benefit in our society.
This thesis rethinks the contemporary university institutional model to consider the affects of new media on a student’s individual and community interaction. If architecture is to respond to the evolving means of personal interaction, shouldn’t then architecture be able to adapt and respond to its users? The ability for architecture to meet the changing needs of evolving individual, social and environmental demands can suggest new ways to interact with space and other users and allow for a new form of sensory perception. This thesis aims to redefine the conventional thinking of people as users of architecture, to people as participants of architecture in order to understand how new adaptive spatial environments can challenge participant interaction and improve the education process.
As digital communication influences the way people communicate in society, there exists a need for an architecture that responds to this. I propose that contemporary urban space and architecture be designed with an integrative approach that address both urban and media spaces of social interaction. The construct of static architecture can no longer facilitate the needs of society and therefore what is required must respond more directly to the ever changing needs of the individual student.