Monday, 11 November 2013

AMA assists Universities to develop Masterplans

Masterplans are based on many layers of information and provide a strategic plan to guide future development.  For a university estate, key information to help mix creative, 'blue sky' ideas about what  the future holds, with realism about what will have to be done in the next year or two, lies in precisely what is happening in current buildings.  A thorough analysis of how buildings are used currently, and for what provides the evidence on which to base plans for the future.

AMA is assisting a number of universities by collecting  data of various different sorts.  Space utilisation information can help indicate whether centralising  'ownership' of space  will promote  more efficient utilisation and will assist the Estates department in providing the 'right space' at the right time in the right place. Complex spaces, such as labs, creative workshops or studios need more sophisticated data collection and analysis to take account of their specific features. For example, there are significant fluctuations in the timing which which some of these spaces are needed.

In some cases users may need several different types of space that cannot be occupied at the same time and yet in some instances cannot be shared with others to achieve good utilisation levels: experimental equipment in labs, half finished garments in a fashion workshop, cannot always be moved out of the way while the researcher or the designer is engaged in a different aspect of their work in a different location.

Collecting good evidence about what exists is the start of the necessary process for finding out why and whether it can beneficially be changed. More information means that master planners can make more informed predictions about future requirements for higher education in the 21st century, and  ensure that their buildings will be used well.  Knowledge is power.

Michigan State University's 1926 masterplan © Wikimedia Commons license

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