Rethink: Interdisciplinary evaluation of academic workspaces

  • YEAR
    Backhouse, Sarah
    Newton, Clare
    Fisher, Kenn
    Cleveland, Ben
    Naccarella, Lucio
    2019 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers
    Guidelines for sustainable built environment


Academic workspace remains an emotive topic. It is bound tightly with each academic’s
identity, purpose and status. As universities increasingly focus on cross-disciplinary collaboration to
produce new knowledge, the sanctuary of the individual office is under challenge. Inspired by
precedents in the commercial world, universities are experimenting with more open workspace
environments with a desire to promote collaboration and increase space utilisation. However, there is
resistance within the academic community. Given this context, there is a surprising paucity of research
into the design and occupation of academic workspaces. This research begins to fill that gap through a
scoping literature review specific to the academic workspace and a new approach to academic
workspace evaluation (AWE). The AWE approach focuses on the alignment of people, purpose and
place, differentiating itself from the predominant post-occupancy evaluation foci of budget, time,
environmental performance and user satisfaction. A key finding of the research has been that change
management – as an integral aspect of the project design process – is as important to the success of
future-focused academic workspace projects as their spatial design.

Keywords: Academic workspace; faculty workspace; workspace design; post-occupancy evaluation.


To top