Tuesday, 20 March 2018

The #BigAlumniProject - vote now!

By Ned Potter, Academic Liaison Librarian

We're very excited to be in the final of The Big Alumni Project, currently being decided by a vote. If you're not familiar with this, it a new YuFund supported scheme for this year, providing one student or staff project with an amazing £40,000 grant to make a lasting change to the campus and community. It's funded by donations from York alumni and friends of the University.

First there 26 projects, then that went down to six, and the final shortlist now stands at three. Here's an overview of our proposal:

It is a complete re-imagining of the Morrell Lounge into an absolutely spectacular space, which better suits the way in which students and staff currently use it. It would involve not just amazing furniture but acoustic treatment as well to contain the noise, plus places to charge devices and a lot of flexible seating.

Below are a couple of 3D views of our proposed design:

The design features high-backed furniture and a 'fabricks' wall to absorb some of the noise
As well as a central seating / working area, there are tables and chairs that can be moved around to wherever suits

This isn't something we want to do on a whim, this is part of big project known internally as UX Space. We've been observing the Morrell Lounge for a year, using a technique known as Behavioural Mapping, and we've concluded that the way we'd set up the space didn't suit the way you were using it at all.  You often cluster together, sometimes sitting on the floor, because the sofas and chairs aren't suited for groups. We changed the space a little on December (the tables and low sofas came in) and that got really good feedback. But this would be a complete re-imagining into something that looks amazing for students, staff and visitors, and works exactly as you need it to. This is perhaps THE busiest space on campus, open 24 hours a day for 362 days a year, with 3,000 people passing through the lobby each day on average, rising to 7,000 at peak times. So it has to work.

The images in this post are based on the design we've come up with to solve all the problems we identified in the UX research, but we'd work with students and staff to finalise it if we we win. Here are a couple more views of the proposal:

The high-grade furniture is if the same type found in the new Piazza Building on Hes East 

There will be powered furniture, allowing you to plug in and charge devices while you work 
We hope as many people as possible will vote, for whichever idea they'd most like to see happen. Whether you're a student, member of staff, alumnus or member of the public, you can find the links to vote on the Big Alumni Project landing page - voting closes at the end of March.

Finally, here's a brief video overview of the whole project...

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