Commons University Student Space Design Competition: Quiet Study Room

The U of A recently held a student space design competition to best support the student experience in the new University Commons building. Winners are chosen by key leaders from different areas of the organization, and in this three-part series, I (Jeremy) sat down with each winner to learn more about their winning design and why they got involved.

The first installment is with Kelly Shane, who submitted the winning design for the serene study room.

Kelly Shin

Kelly Shin

Can you tell me a little bit about your background?

My name is Kelly Shane, and I am a fourth year civil engineering student who plans to pursue a career in structural engineering. I am passionate about promoting STEM education for children. I am an active volunteer for science quizzes that provide fun opportunities for children to learn concepts in science and engineering.

What prompted you to participate in the competition?

I am studying civil engineering at the University of Alberta. When I discovered this Design Competition in the Undergraduate Abstract, I felt like this was the perfect opportunity to show off my creativity and artistic skills. There were several layers of complexity to this competition, and the design problems seemed hard to solve, but I was up for the challenge. Although taking on this challenge wasn’t easy, every step of the way was a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

Quiet study room

Winning Kelly Design. Submissions will influence the final design of the space but may not be identical to what was submitted

Why did you choose to design the quiet study room?

I feel that there are many “normal” places to study but not enough “quiet” places to study on campus. Many students, myself included, prefer to study in a quiet place because they can focus better and, as a result, study more efficiently. I want to share with the world everything I imagined in the serene study room of my design. I hope to see many more of these quiet study rooms around campus in the future.

Can you describe some of the key features of your winning design and how they support the purpose of the space?

The room can comfortably accommodate up to 88 students since optimizing space was a priority when I was designing the room. There are several different types of space-saving desks and tables to accommodate both individuals and groups with different study styles. The glass booths are a unique feature of the room, allowing for interactive online learning. The wooden slats on the curved ceiling enhance the aesthetics of the room. In addition, there are two large egress doors on either side of the room and enough space between the furniture creating a proper flow and flow. Overall, my design successfully supports the purpose of the space by optimizing seating capacity, accommodating all types of users of various study styles, and providing a practical space for online learning.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced during the design process, and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge I faced during the design process was to provide a space for the students to give online lectures in a quiet room. I wanted students to be able to actively participate by asking questions or participating in discussions during their online lectures. However, if they were talking, they would disturb the other students who were studying quietly. And so I came up with the idea of ​​having soundproof glass booths in the quiet study room. Students who receive online lectures will be able to speak freely in these booths because the sound will not travel outside the booth. Also, these cubicles will be made of clear glass, so students using them will not feel isolated from the rest of the room.

What effects do you think a space like this will have on students?

A space like the Quiet Study Room will have a huge positive impact on students. Many students spend a significant amount of their time studying on campus. Therefore, they will appreciate having a quiet study room that can accommodate different study styles and online learning. Students will have an easier time maintaining a balance between school and life because a space like this will help them become more productive with their homework. Ultimately, these students will become better prepared for their future jobs.

What are your future aspirations and how did this experience contribute to achieving your goals?

I want to become a competent structural engineer in the future. I feel there is a lot of overlap between this competition and a structural engineering project. Both require deep research, planning and design. This experience helped me get a better feel for what it would be like to work in the engineering industry. In addition, I greatly improved my technical skills using AutoCAD and Revit when I was working on this competition. This is beneficial because many structural engineering positions consider proficient knowledge in these software applications an asset.

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