Fresh ideas about design
Technology continues to evolve and accelerate, affecting most everything we do. The avalanche of apps and smart technology over the past decade has created a robust level of expectations that everything can be accomplished at the speed of an electron. It is exciting and also brain numbing for anyone over 50, but we learn to embrace!
In higher education it is still relevant to have human interaction, dialogue, argument and dissent; where body language, facial expression, tone, and perspiration still have meaning far beyond the typed word. This is more imperative in legal education, which still relies on these time-tested forms of communication. Designing spaces to support a pedagogy based on the Socratic Method can be exciting, challenging rewarding and nuanced with the technologies of the day. Trial and error (no pun intended) and constant critique have helped us help our client transform the West Virginia University College of Law into a modern legal education center.
The virtue of oral argument to settle matters of the law is supplemented with increased technology. Even the judges have laptops and monitors to view documents, evidence and anything else that they care to see while hearing a case. Technology has enabled the jury, witnesses, litigants and spectators in the courtroom to see and hear all while maintaining the core skill of verbal and physical communication through visual media.
It has been exciting to move at 80 miles per hour in low gear as we have over the past 10 years working with the College of Law to implement a long-range master plan in support of a strategic plan. This work will likely take us through to the fall of 2016, the likely culmination of a 12-year adventure with the College of Law. Retrofitting, transforming, and expanding a 1970s building as the hub of legal education in West Virginia is no small task but it has been robust with interaction and input from every point of view—the Law School Faculty and Administration, Students, Alumni, Donors, University Leadership, Facility Engineers, Managers and the Strada design team.
Completing the 10th year of a single project is a milestone and an opportunity to look back and reflect on what has been accomplished, what has stayed relevant and what has fostered improvement. It provides a rare chance to see how you did as a designer and how the place you made is affecting those who occupy, interact, and learn in it; a chance to see how your interpretation of your client’s vision has paid off how the students, faculty, and administrators have adapted to change. It is an exciting ride that, like a roller coaster, has ups and downs and many turns, allowing you to feel the rush of acceleration, weightlessness and compression and then the ultimate joy of having conquered the ride.
As our ride continues we hope the images here will pique your interest in what is to come.
Visit these project pages to learn more:
College of Law Master Plan and Classroom Renovations
College of Law Addition and Renovation
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