Social Studies: Enhancing Student Lives

According to Page Senior Principal Larry Speck, much of the extraordinary energy of the early Modern Movement in architecture focused on the notions that the built environment could have a profane impact on the everyday lives of ordinary people. As early as the 1920s and 1930s, architects such as Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe and Alvar Aalto were focused less on large civic and corporate projects and more on projects that created social benefits.

In the current issue of Texas Architect (January-February 2016), Larry looks back at Aalto's Baker House dormitory at MIT, which, designed in the 1940s, was one of the earliest documented examples of the transformative effect that architecture can have on student lives. Having visited Baker House on its 25th and 50th anniversaries, he was inspired by the understanding of the building’s potential to positively impact student experiences. Larry later participated in a study of student housing on The University of Texas at Austin campus, and conducted a similar post-occupancy evaluation (POE) for a Page UT project, 2400 Nueces, to discover how campus housing might affect student performance and experience.

Read more in "Social Studies," by Lawrence W. Speck, FAIA. Texas Architect, January-February 2016.