Projects

More than 30 teams made it to the showcase stage of the Campus of the Future competition, held on October 26. From that group, three were chosen to receive a share of $30,000 in award funding set aside for winners.

The following ideas were declared “best of show” in the contest:

First Place: University of Michigan Mobile Learning Labs

The campus of the future must break free of its institutional and geographic barriers to branch out into surrounding communities, create experiential learning options for students, engage individuals with limited access to higher education and provide space for interdisciplinary collaboration to solve local problems. The proposed solution is to create pop-up learning labs. To test this idea, this team proposes to develop a pilot pop-up lab in Ann Arbor with the opportunity to operate at three scales. At the room scale, the lab will take the form of interactive gatherings between town and gown. At the building scale, the lab will function as a live-in learning community. At the campus scale, the lab will serve as an interactive, engaging set of satellite spaces around campus.

Second Place: The Virtual Reality Online Campus

In its mission statement, U-M pledges “to serve the people of Michigan and the world through preeminence in creating, communicating, preserving and applying knowledge.” Developing a Massive Open Online Course enhanced by virtual reality/augmented reality technology will help the university meet this goal and position itself as a leader of emerging trends in education access and availability. VR/AR technology, in the form of hand-held, phone-based headsets, offers unique opportunities for the graphic representation of research findings, making otherwise dry material seem more engaging and relatable. This content can be enhanced through room-scale, in-class enrichment exercises. The proposal will also shape the future of the university on a campus-wide scale, by expanding its reach far beyond the geographic boundaries of the institution.

Third Place: U-M Satellite Campus on Mars

The University of Michigan Bioastronautics and Life Support Systems (BLiSS) project team believes that if human civilization is to succeed in space, then the University of Michigan must be a leader in the endeavor. This project will develop a design for a U-M campus on Mars, as it might appear during the university’s tricentennial in 2117. This design would include but not be limited to the engineering of buildings; suggested scientific research to be conducted on the planet; curriculum considerations; and student life, health and recreation ideas. Input from students, faculty, staff and alumni (especially those employed at leading space agencies and organizations) will be used so that the widest possible worldview can be incorporated into the Mars campus design.

Read the University Record story.

The remaining projects included the following, searchable by alphabetical order or by category.

  • C2D Hub

    The C2D Hub project is dedicated to developing a private dental clinic model that is ecologically sustainable, can be built in any environment and serves as a multi-purpose learning space for its community. This team is currently conducting interviews with faculty, staff and students of the U-M School of Dentistry, practicing dentists and members of the community to determine the must-have elements of the model. After a visit to the Earthship community in Taos, NM, this project will confer with the architecture firm SmithGroup JJR to help shape the clinic’s blueprints. Deliverables will also include a syllabus for a mini course on sustainable dental buildings and practices and a toolkit for developing the clinic of the future, to be distributed to incoming dentistry students at orientation.

  • Lorch Hall Lives

    Lorch Hall was the finest facility for an architecture program in the country at its completion in 1928. However, it was rapidly outgrown, forcing the architecture program to move to North Campus and jeopardizing the future use of the original Central Campus building. The building’s namesake had hoped that it would expand from an L-shaped structure to a quadrangle. This project, operating in an alternative reality, follows through on that plan by employing advances in digital fabrication as well as bacteria and agricultural waste to create an ever-growing, living lattice framework for new construction. This project operates at the scale of the building, with a keen awareness of its surroundings. Deliverables will include a digitally fabricated mock-up of the design and renderings of it in context.

  • Michigan Aquaponics

    Michigan Dining has made significant strides in increasing the overall sustainability of the dining halls at U-M, but there still remains room for improvement. Our student organization suggests that improvement can be achieved by implementing aquaponics: a combination of conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. Preliminary projections estimate that a system of just two 3,750-gallon tanks would be able to consistently supply a dining hall with enough food to serve all of the students who eat there. This project’s proposed campus-scale solution will help educate all students on how we can create a tangible impact and promote a sustainable future, all while dining on wholesome food.

  • Sustainable Living Complex

    The U-M campus of the future should intentionally connect students to the environment. One way to achieve that goal would be to build a Sustainable Living Complex, comprised of small living units for 30-50 students and shared learning and experimental spaces. The complex could be built on the grounds of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, where the student farm and other resources would provide rich programming opportunities and embed students in an eco-friendly lifestyle. Suggested residents would include sophomores through seniors and a handful of graduate students from a variety of academic backgrounds: all driven to live sustainably and to lead that effort on campus, in the state and in the world. The physical infrastructure—centered around a large, multipurpose, “green” building—would actively support research, inquiry, risk-taking and creativity.