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Design & Place

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Design & Place

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U.Va . is exploring how contemplation can facilitate design thinking in place, building, engineering, courses, products, and more by fostering creativity, empathy, and clarity. In addition, we are researching how the built and natural environment in turn, as well as proper design in these diverse contexts, can positively impact mental, emotional, physical, and social states of being, thereby fostering contemplative awareness. The Architecture School is taking the lead, but Engineering, the Teaching Resource Center, and other schools are involved as well. CSC is also creating resiliency room network at the University to facilitate contemplation across its grounds, as well as an innovative online guide to locate and explore such places.

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Inherent in the word “contemplate,” which derives from the Latin, meaning “to observe, especially in a space (temple) marked off for observation” is a concern for how physical design affects mind states and social interaction. In collaboration with CSC and the Center for Design and Health, an Architecture School project is exploring how the built and natural environment in turn, as well as proper design in these diverse contexts, can positively impact mental, emotional, physical, and social states of being, thereby fostering contemplative awareness. From sacred spaces such as religious buildings, to calming gardens, to spaces of refuge in vibrant urban centers, the qualities of space that promote contemplation are recognizable but rarely studied methodically. Research will generate knowledge useful to professionals across disciplines and to the public at large. U.Va. is exploring how contemplation can facilitate design thinking in place, building, engineering, courses, products, and more by fostering creativity, empathy, and clarity. The Architecture School is exploring integration of contemplation into design studio work and its connection with innovation, creativity, and wellbeing. Design thinking and considerations also plays an important role in other schools, as new products being designed in engineering, sciences, education, business, and health need to factor in not only physical spaces, but also other elements of people's perception and experience in designing for efficiency, adoption, and wellbeing. Thus the Engineering School's first year gateway course for all students on Science, Technology, and Contemporary Issues is centrally incorporating contemplation as a practice and an intellectual theme, while Curry and the Teaching Resource center are tackling curricular design and contemplation. The CSC is also promoting the creation of a network of contemplative spaces around the U.Va. Grounds, such as the “resiliency rooms” in the Nursing building and the South Lawn. Similar spaces should be designated in every school and residential hall, whether in library spaces, gardens, or dedicated rooms. The singular most dramatic expression of design and place would be a new building dedicated to the CSC and located centrally and projected as facilitating contemplative practices and awareness through an innovative approach to academic space combining instructional, residential, practice, and events spaces into an integrated whole.

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