20 June 2022
Our faculty created Campus Cooperationis in 2020 with Minusplus architecture and design office. It is a study about the architectural future of the campus that not only brings concrete plans, but a personalised equipment park to help discussion and decision making during the developments. In the first part, they introduce the changes and international trends in education, the second could be considered a glossary that goes over the activities and types of places connected to education, and the third is the explanation of the architectural vision. As a continuation of Campus Cooperationis, Locus Cooperationis will be published soon; it is the interior design and image guide of the campus, determining the necessary equipment in order to create a unified interior design idea. Right now, this is what the faculty leadership and the architects are discussing. Two main members of the latter are dr. Ákos Schreck, co-founder and leading designer of Minusplus, responsible for the Medschool development projects, and dr. Ders Csaba, chief architect at the University of Pécs.
written by Rita Schweier
“The University of Pécs Medical School is the first faculty in the country to start purposefully thinking about how the education would change if they invest money in infrastructure for fifty years, and what architecture needs it needs to satisfy in accordance. There are no examples of this today. This is what Campus Cooperationis is about, it tries to systematically dismanetle the stereotypes about the infrastructure of education, and to create a new language in the meantime. As a second step, with the help of the interior design image guide, it determines what this vision is about, how it builds the individual bricks of the development into a unified image” – starts off dr. Ders Csaba.
“The process we have started requires a lot of discussions” – adds dr. Ákos Schreck, who emphasises that the development of the Medical School means a foundational change of thinking. As he says, the 2020 Campus Cooperationis is a vision, a feeling, a mood put into strategy. They have determined 2025 as an end date, which is a foreseeable time frame for a student, even if not everything they have planned becomes reality. They have emphasized those key terms that can lead shared thinking, and they have added an architectural equipment collective. According to dr. Ákos Schreck, the book has an educational goal: in the middle, there is an independent dictionary that could even be taken out. It helps to make the students, employees and architects at the faculty understand each other. In this chapter, they first introduce the activities in an educational institution, and then they move on to the locations of learning. The two groups are strongly connected, and the activities have requirements from the locations; just as the locations can be understood through the activities within.
After Campus Cooperationis, Locus Cooperationis is in the works too, and it brings the vision outlined in the previous volume even closer. In it, they will introduce the equipment needed to create a truly unified interior design look. Multiple design concepts were planned in order to allow for a wide range of movement in implementation. It will contain the more obscure, preparatory, interior design programming thought process about the creation and connection possibilities of various spaces.
Dr. Ákos Schreck emphasizes: they know that the old building and its surroundings will not be renovated at the same time, since the needs for renovation do not arise at the same time, and the funding arrives at different times – however, the interior design image and mood of the developments has to be unified – this is what they are working on right now. The type of casings, the softness of chairs and the scents and lights all belong here – just as for the small and large spaces and the appearance of the green areas. in short: if we leave a room or a building, what will we remember? Will the character impression of the space remain?
One part of architectural image planning is gathering information on the faculty, of which a skeleton concept will be created, using the key elements of data. One of these is biophilia (dealing with plants) and another is atmosphere (widely interpreted mood), and the third is layering: the sum of various constructions, structures and difficulty of processes. The tangible elements like colours or materials will be built on this.
“We would like for the manual to be used practically. We will have the opportunity to open it and see what elements will go to the place currently under construction. It will also serve as a guide for the general designer responsible for synching the work processes, so a shared language can be born, connecting every building” – says dr. Ákos Schreck, according to whom the discussion between doctors and architects is a learning process for both parties, and it requires time and attention. This is why he considered the creation of the guide and dictionary important even if there are unpredictable factors in shared thinking – like the methods doctors will use in surgery and work ten years in the future, and how the education system will change alongside. In his experience, participants of this discussion inspire each other and now there is a shared trust between them, which is the foundation of successful work.
“We are making each other more sensitive, and we pile our knowledge together” – says dr. Csaba Ders about the cooperation. He thinks that making university citizens see the opportunity in shared work is important, and that they should see architecture and interior design as an active part of scientific, education and social life, forming the achievement of their goals. He believes: we should look at how a tea kitchen is located or which research areas we create communication between and how often as a community building question.
Dr. Csaba Ders emphasizes: the interior design guide has a communication message as well, it brings the ideas of Campus Cooperationis closer in space and time. As he says, the University of Pécs Medical School will be the first in the country to have an image as a “professional education industry enterprise”, making its own future vision liveable.
Dr. Ákos Schreck brings the fact that the world is changing to attention, and we all have to acclimatise with changing our view: openness and cooperation are important. This is the message they are relaying as architects, and as facilitating agents they take part in the relay. The result of the cooperation is a pulsing effective both ways, providing dynamism to the process of planning – and in the meantime, new view systems are formed.
He says expressively: “We create a framework in the office that we think suits the needs here. The needs and thoughts from the faculty are built on this framework, and this is how our plans can become a shared idea.”
“After the surveys we have realised how big of a value the park of the new theoretical building has for the faculty citizens. This is important for us to know because now we can think about how to give this same value to the old building, how to open it more towards the park. The Dean has also started in this direction when he talked about rationalising the moving areas into unified green areas, making the park better useable – this is what we are trying to achieve by redesigning the façade of the building. All of this creates and opportunity for a different type of life that can give an impulse for much else later. The process of shared thinking can give us an insight into the world of the faculty, and in the meantime, we can try to make it realise the opportunities hidden in its surroundings” – adds dr. Ders Csaba.
Dr. Ákos Schreck explains that they have had similar shared planning-learning processes multiple times before. They have worked together a lot with Prezi (online presentation-making software, created in 2008 by Kitchen Budapest with the support of Hungarian Telekom as an alternative to linear slide-based presentations), they have grown with them into the so-called knowledge space dynamics also used in Pécs. As Prezi expanded, so were various spaces created in their office building, and there were concise, honest discussions about the function of all of them. If they built an area that did not work completely, they changed it. With the end of the pandemic, many companies have done similarly; according to dr. Ákos Schreck, one of their customers has ordered three different sample areas from three different design offices, and they will try them before deciding what to use them for. The important bit: they are not making complete plans, but they are changing things with the customer if needed.
In the case of the Pécs Medical School, they are trying to put the well-meant mistakes, learning and development opportunities into the framework of the institution, and this is what dr. Ákos Schreck thinks is truly timeless and future-facing.
“They have once asked a sailboat-designer how a boat has to be designed. He said that first, there must be enthusiasm for sailing. Or: faculty citizens should want to try alternatives without making final decisions, and they should be able to return to their comfort zone anytime they want. We only ask them to dare to experiment with the interior design and architecture possibilities. We do not want to say how to teach at the Medical School, we only want to create the proper background for it with our own tools” – explains dr. Csaba Ders.
Dr. Ákos Schreck emphasizes that students nowadays think differently than they did decades prior, their attitude to their studies is different, they get information differently, and these changes have to be accounted for, because if they are not, students will go elsewhere. An international student is not only motivated by the opportunities of gaining professional knowledge when choosing a university, but also by the surroundings, environment and background structure – therefore, students are key players in developments. The goal is of course to make every faculty citizen feel good at the unified image of the campus – so they are counting on everyone’s opinion.
Dávid Verébi, Lajos Kalmár