Thirdspace as Lived Space is portrayed as multi- sided and contradictory, oppressive and liberating, passionate and routine, knowable and unknowable. It is a space of radical openness, a site of resistance and struggle, a space of multiplicitous representations .... It is a meeting ground, a site of hybridity ... and moving beyond entrenched boundaries, a margin or edge where ties can be severed and also where new ties can be forged. It can be mapped but never captured in conventional cartographies; it can be creatively imagined but obtains meaning only when practiced and fully lived.
(Soja E. W., The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory,1989)
My master thesis in Architectural Design Theory at the University Liechtenstein is titled “Knowledge Scape Interventions” and suggests to architecturally examine and critically accompany the transformation of the Hochschule Liechtenstein to the University Liechtenstein.
The thesis attempts to establish a conceptualization and architectural design for a university learning landscape. According to Edward Soja (cf. Reed, 2000, p.28) “lived space” can be considered as a hybrid between the spatial practice and perceived space. Contrary to the spatial practice which refers to the “first space” as empirically measurable, the “second space” is a perceived and subjective space. The platform of the learning landscape the thesis stipulates are informal spaces of meeting and exchange, an application of the “third space” respectively. The university Liechtenstein is not organized as a conventional campus, whose “field” could suppose the function of these not programmed free spaces and voids. However the field of a campus is not per se the hub of university and knowledge exchange, it does represent the interdisciplinary potential to constantly create new research and networking, as the basic premise of science is to create knowledge (german: Wissen schaffen).
The University Liechtenstein is accommodated since 2002 and in a former, since renovated and refurbished, textile mill from the 19th Century. The building offered the possibility to unify and consolidate both the department of Architecture and Planning and the department of Financial Services within the shed-roofed hall on a single floor. Since the Higher Education Act of the legislative process created the possibility for the Hochschule Liechtenstein to offer doctorate studies concluded the administrational transformation and the thesis thus should result in the definition of the University as a learning landscape to truly become a thinking factory (German: Denkfabrik) to underline the post-industrial knowledge society.
Analysis and architectural interventions should suggest a critical adaption of the existing building to facilitate the aforementioned third space and thus provide informal exchange with contact space. The conceptual platform is applied as the single floor, a layer that combines the different areas of the former factory and new could be regarded as an interior campus which connects the departments and offers open spaces, voids within the fabric. The typology of the free programmable architectural atelier is elevated to a principle of these voids. Architectural interventions are organized in four phases should be confined to stratify, resolve, strengthen and to connect.
A first phase small temporary furniture-like elements are inserted into the long corridors, strategically distributed to increase spaces for meeting. This phase could be easily realized within the existing framework of the project week. A second phase extends the corridors and places permanent elements with places for meeting and a distributed library system. A third phase seeks dissolution of the closed lecture rooms and halls towards an open and more flexible design and programming. A fourth phase removes program from the building which does not belong to the university, to allow to extend and stratify the program towards a vertically and horizontally networked continuos learning landscape.
2011 master thesis © Sasha Cisar
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, US; Vaduz, LI.