Higher education is rapidly evolving. As we use planning and design to help our clients navigate major shifts in culture, technology, and funding, we believe it is essential to focus on strategies that help foster an education that is relevant after graduation.
One way to promote relevance is to strengthen the bond between academic disciplines and the campus residential life experience. Studies show this is best accomplished when learning communities are integrated with living environments. By physically integrating living and learning on campus, students’ social and academic lives are connected—shaping their overall experience and encouraging their success.
Here we offer six strategies for and examples of how to foster living/learning on campus.
At Purdue University, Sasaki created a living/learning district by distributing academic spaces
throughout several sophomore and junior residence halls. This allocation of shared living and
learning spaces is an efficient approach to space management and has the added benefit of
facilitating socialization among students from different residence halls.
Center for Student
Excellence and Leadership
COMMUNAL FIRST FLOOR
In the Campbell, Salice, and Conley residence halls at Fordham University, Sasaki organized
academic spaces at the first floor and created secure individual residential communities on
the upper floors. This approach distributes learning across the larger landscape of the Fordham
campus, and also brings life to the nearby pedestrian paths and landscaped open space.
Main Green Terraces Common Spaces Service
In the addition to and renovation of Maria Hall at Regis College, Sasaki distributed
comfortable lounge spaces throughout the residential floors. This approach complements
academic and recreation programs on the first floor while fostering intimate but flexible
communities in which students collaborate, socialize, and build lifelong friendships.
ACTIVE INNOVATION HUB
At Babson College, Sasaki designed a unique 24/7 innovation hub specifically for a core first-
year academic program. Located at the entrance of the building and linked to campus open
space and pedestrian networks, this hub emphasizes connection. It is inspired by the core values
of the first year program, fostering freshman collaboration and success. The hub is also informed
by Babson’s unique academic identity and focus on entrepreneurism.
At The Ohio State University, Sasaki revamped several 1950s residence halls, bringing new life
to existing spaces. Previously underutilized back-of-house areas now support peer mentoring,
career counseling, and academic programming. This strategy of using found spaces
maintained the density critical for both the campus supply of student beds and the economic
viability of the project.
At Georgetown University, Sasaki designed a unique, flexible space on the first floor of their new
sophomore residence hall. The technology-rich space is internally divisible, opens to outdoors, and
is designed to specifically attract and support faculty in new modes of teaching. This flexibility
helps pioneer a new classroom model, and new relationships between living and learning.