Worldwide, the Politecnico di Milano has a long history as a very well-respected center for research and education.
For the last several years, the Politecnico di Milano has been building out new spaces on its campuses; these areas are definitely places where design works to its full potential.
As detailed (and extensively illustrated) at https://www.vivipolimi.polimi.it/?lang=en#, the environments developed definitely support the Politecnico’s research/education mission. As text at the noted website indicates “VIVIPOLIMI is a strategic project aimed at upgrading the quality of the Politecnico di Milano’s work, research and teaching spaces in an international perspective that is increasingly open to interaction between the university and the city. Improving the quality of our Campus spaces means increasing the quality of life in the neighbourhood that has been our home for over 100 years. After years of punctual interventions, VIVIPOLIMI aims to give a unified design to the Campuses, their history and their future. Studying and working at the Politecnico is an element of pride for the entire polytechnic community. Living at the Politecnico is a life experience as well as an educational one.”
Particularly positive aspects of the Politecnico spaces, from an environmental psychology perspective include:
- Interiors are bathed in natural light but window designs and treatments prevent interior spaces from becoming glare-y or warm, which would degrade educational outcomes. As noted in multiple Research Design Connections articles, when humans experience glare-free natural light their mood, cognitive performance, and creativity all get a boost.
- Vegetation onsite is already at nearly full-grown size even though some buildings have only been open a few years. Site developers made a conscious decision to buy very large, nearly full-grown trees, etc., for use in courtyards and similar environments. As a result, landscaped campus areas at the close of construction had plants large enough to create biophilic effects inside buildings; they promote cognitive refreshment among faculty and students researching, teaching, and learning. There is also some use of natural materials inside buildings, which is a plus.
- Building courtyards (with their nearly mature trees) and similar spaces promote climate-comfortable social gatherings which have positive implications for community development, morale, etc.
- Ceilings are generally high which creates a positive, spacious impression.
- The areas developed communicate nonverbally that the new spaces are modern and that the Politecnico is not resting on its venerable reputation but continuing to play a leading role as a respected organization. They signal that in this community research and education are respected and powerfully supported. Straight lines predominate throughout, in 2- and 3-dimensions which signals “functionality” and “effectiveness.”
In Milan? Visit the Politecnico to see how effectively design can support research and education.