Building Universities - a Historical Survey

The process-like development of universities can also be seen in its architecture. Initially, it was simply a variety of available rooms that were used – seminars took place out in the open, in multifunctional halls of churches and abbeys or in private homes. The university building as a whole was not realised until later. The college-style building was developed in the 14th century, where students would both live and study. After the baroque period, another type of university was developed: one where all courses of study took place in one building. Examples of this type of building, whether technical colleges, such as in Zurich, or universities, such as in Vienna, reflect this emphasis on community. In the US, another type of building was developed – the campus university. These differ from the European traditions in that the university lies away “from the corrupting forces of the city”, generously spread out in natural surroundings. After World War Two, a number of new types of building appeared: mega-structures for mass-universities. Today, the focus lies in particular on expansion and conversion – of former industrial buildings, for example.
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