When Henning Larsen redesigned the Carl H. Linder College of Business at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, it was meant to stand out as a gathering space promoting social interaction and a sense of campus urbanism by emphasizing the more open and social spaces throughout the building.
The design intention was to counteract trends of loneliness and social disconnection that students at the University of Cincinnati experienced.
As students began to step into the completed Carl H. Linder College of Business, we had to ask ourselves: were the open and socially designed circulation spaces benefiting the students' wellbeing and if so, how could we quantify this?
As part of an Industrial Ph.D., the three-year study investigated the design's intentions for social wellbeing using the following parameters: movement and occupancy of the building, social interactions and group formations of users, and user activities and social distances. The study relied on a technological approach using location-based sensors in accordance with GDPR data privacy regulations.
The study utilized both quantitative and qualitative methods to measure student interaction and corresponding satisfaction levels in a variety of spaces throughout the building.
The post occupational evaluation of Carl H. Linder College of Business is an exciting affirmation for our research-based approach, confirming our ability to transform intuitive architectural knowledge into evidence-backed designs through collected data and analysis.
And importantly, the research illustrates that the open and socially designed spaces indeed have a higher utilization rate that pairs with high user satisfaction rates. This helps underscore the importance of social and open spaces in designing human-centered educational buildings. The current research also shows that these spaces are cost-effective in terms of facilities management compared to the less used, enclosed spaces in the building.
The future impact of the Data Driven Architectural Design research encompasses the highlighted UN Sustainable Development Goals.