This week has seen the opening of the new STEM space at Sheffield Hallam. What was once an unsatisfactory open-air thoroughfare providing a route from the City Campus atrium complex through to the station, has been enclosed and developed making sense of the relationship between the STEM building and Eric Mensforth. While it looks pristine now, the investment values and exemplifies ‘in-betweenness’, non-formal space and third space: the types of spaces where students decide to learn independently, with or without peers and tutors. It’s location between and integration of two existing relatively soulless building inverts their dynamic too, bring a new sense of being to them.
The development includes a variety of informal social spaces in which students can rest, gather, work and reflect. Whether using the seating shown in the foreground of this photograph, the deep steps in the background, or the cafe and exhibition spaces, or even the broad thoroughfare, students and staff have somewhere to be – the space accommodates non-formal deliberative learning, while allowing for serendipity and incidental learning.
This is a very important step for the University and its commitment to accommodating learning.