4 July 2023
Architecture plays a major role in the life of knowledge-based businesses, including universities: well-designed buildings, knowledge and community spaces are keys to success. The Medical School is the only higher education institution in the country to have an architectural vision and a unified interior design handbook that can serve as a guideline and an example for other institutions and knowledge-based business players to follow. This was one of the topics discussed at a recent panel discussion in Budapest, where Campus and Locus Cooperationis, i.e. the architectural vision of the Medical School in Pécs was discussed.
Written by Viktor Harta
"Campus Cooperationis: The Power of Architecture in Knowledge Sharing" was the title of a discussion organized by the Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC) on 9 June in Budapest, focusing on the architectural developments, plans, and strategies of Pécs. Dr. Ákos Schreck, co-founder and lead architect of MINUSPLUS, the architecture and design studio that created the architectural vision of the Medical School, gave a presentation on the study. This was followed by a panel discussion, where Dr. Miklós Nyitrai, Dean of the Medical School in Pécs, and Dr. Ders Csaba, Head of Planning and Urban Planner of the University of Pécs, discussed the prospective concept.
"The collaboration is new in that it redefines the way the architect and client work together in terms of knowledge spaces and creates a consistent quality in projects that are progressing in parallel, on multiple strands, from different financial resources. The concept and operation presented by the project can be an inspiration and a guide for other universities and knowledge-based business players," said Dr. Ákos Schreck on the Facebook page of MINUSPLUS.
According to him, Campus Cooperationis lays down the long-term architectural and spatial development goals and logic. The study has been followed by an interior design handbook, and Locus Cooperationis is genre-defining because it is scalable and adaptable to unique situations. The two volumes provide support for university developments and architectural programming, as well as detailed guidance for the whole design process.
The lead architect emphasized after the discussion in the capital that "Architecture and knowledge space design are not only about functionality and aesthetics, but they also support community collaboration and interactive learning. The architectural solutions and design frameworks aim to enable students and researchers to develop their knowledge and collaborate with each other in inspiring and innovative environments".
Student spaces are becoming more important
According to Ders Csaba, Head of Planning at the university, the architectural concept of the UP Medical School is about the future of the architecture of education. Several trends can be observed in this field, including the breaking with the traditional educational model, which still focuses exclusively on frontal and seminar education. He pointed out that digital education and blended learning are pervading our lives, but it does not alienate students from physical spaces.
"The main building of the Medical School in Pécs is an important space for students. They study, relax, eat, and socialize here for most of the day. Due to their constant presence, the campus becomes more important as an architectural space. The unique concept focuses on the future of the architecture of education," said the Head of Planning, who said that the right type of space is key to competitiveness. He added that the university must function well as a knowledge-based business and architecture must support its community of students, teachers, and staff as a knowledge community. To do this, a guiding conceptual document is essential, setting out the directions of development.
Ders Csaba pointed out that the Medical School in Pécs is the first faculty in Hungary to have an architectural vision and a unified interior design handbook. The professional judgement of the concept is extremely positive, and in the autumn of 2022, the Budapest Design Week provided an opportunity to discuss it as well.
Focus on student needs
"If Campus Cooperationis is the pod, then Locus Cooperationis is the pea in it. First, we created the pod, then we started to think about how the pea should be placed in it," said Dr. Miklós Nyitrai, Dean of the Medical School, about the School’s architectural vision earlier. According to him, they wanted to see an interior design concept and framework planned for many years ahead, which could serve as a direction and a permanent image in the face of future changes.
"The leadership of the Medical School and the University are committed to providing our students with community spaces that meet their needs. The architectural traditions at universities used to be about corridors and classrooms for teaching, but in the 21st century we need more than that, and both the higher education and architectural professions have realized this. We need to assess the needs for this to be successful. That is why we have decided to work with architects to present existing responses to these opportunities, which can then be commented on. In this sense, Locus Cooperationis is a means to start a conversation between us," said the Dean.