Nylda Hamchaoui is a third year architecture student at UEL and blogs about this subject for Your Universe. Her opinions are her own.
What is deemed a work environment is unique for everyone.
Different institutes and subject areas have similarities. When mentioning a working space for study the first thing that comes to most people’s minds is a library. However, one thing that most architecture schools do have in common is a studio, a space that encourages sharing in many ways. At UEL these spaces are areas of discussions, debates and concentrated bursts of drawing, model making or simply computer work that encompasses those two tasks. This is classed as a working environment for students but for some it becomes more than a space for work, it is sometimes where individuals feel at home (see my last blog for Your Universe on 12 October). We are given permission to share and pursue both passions and ideas outside of the walls we are in. It is a formal and informal learning environment that facilitates creative thinking on various scales and formats. The greatest part of this all is that it is a shared experience. Learning to understand what it is like to be part of something greater than ourselves, but that individually we have the ability to change it.
Are libraries not useful anymore? It appears they foster the approach of individual productivity. An environment that feels limitless in resources but limited in spaces that allow you to work in groups and in large scales, which the studio permits to a larger degree. I guess to say that perhaps libraries are the traditional spaces of work. To a certain extent, working in small, secluded and quiet spaces appears to be widely accepted in the stereotypical academic sense. Contrastingly, the studio allows for flexibility of doing work in a manner that is more suited for creative collaborations. By promoting working with others as well as alone, studios give the freedom to be comfortable in seeking help in tasks.
At first, the UEL studio seemed like a classroom but with no doors. Such spaces teach us to constantly learn without picturing the end or being limited by what already exists. As once suggested by Winston Churchill, “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” It is clear that the current spaces we are living and working in influence the way we think and design. Creative endeavours are entirely shaped by the connections or lack of connections we make as people. The studio is an example of this, we tend to learn more from one another than we do from teachers, so being in a space that gives you choice in doing so can only help you.
Therefore, we must scrap the idea that the only way of working is in a library but instead in a studio. The image of a library hasn’t differed over the years but what a studio space means to one person can mean something else to another. This is what makes studios a better working environment for the majority, a modern space redefining what it means to work and be a creative.