Evolution of Campus Form from the Perspective of Knowledge Science


Abstract Throughanalyzing influence of various factors on spatial form of campus, the authorproposed from the perspective of knowledge science that orientation and mode ofknowledge activities play a decisive role in the spatial form evolution ofcampus, and then demonstrated the viewpoint by elaborating spatial formevolution history of campuses of different ages in different regions. On thisbasis, the future development trend of campus form in the information era wasexplored.

KeywordsUniversity,Campus, Form, Evolution, Knowledge

Campus refersto the functional architectural complex for spreading knowledge and studies, andcampus form of different ages and in different regions has always evolved withthe times. By exploring campus form evolution from the perspective of knowledgescience, internal and external driving mechanism of the evolution can be fullystudied to explore the future development trend of campus form.

1Knowledge activities and campus forms

Form, inarchitecture and planning, has implications of the following two levels: elementsconstituting the study object and their structures, evolution process of thestudy object. Campus form refers to the entities, environmental constructionsand spatial structures carrying various campus activities, as well as thecampus evolution and development process[1–2]. Material elementssuch as campus buildings, roads and landscapes, and such spatial elements asteaching spaces and ceremonial spaces are integrated into a whole via a certainstructure, and the structure is a concrete physical form and directdemonstration of a certain campus form. The common campus structure includescourtyard structure, linear structure, symmetric-axis structure, free-axisstructure, group building structure, grid structure, center-type structure andorganic structure as Fig.1 shows. There are many “universities without enclosedwall”, so the campuses are integrated into the cities harmoniously. There arealso many universities without “structure”, such as “eco-university” and “intellectualizeduniversity”, showing a kind of non-spatial planning concept.

Influencefactors of campus form involve many fields such as natural conditions,humanistic and social conditions. In terms of natural condition, terrains,climate and location are all significant influence factors. For example,campuses in tropical regions focus more on ventilation and sun-sheltering, andcontinuous indoor spaces, while those in temperate regions pay more attentionto the construction of outdoor spaces. In suburbs, campuses are well integratedinto the environment because of the free and scattered spaces, while those in urbandistricts have concentrated spaces due to the influence of overall urbanlayout. Humanistic and social factors cover more contents such as religion,politics, economy, culture, education and planning. For example, in theagricultural era, campuses were always built in picturesque suburbs, but in theindustrial age, campuses were mostly built nearby the downtown areas. Inreligious countries such as India,campus planning always has religious implications, for example, John Portman introducedreligious icons into the plan of IndianSchool of Business. Ideology,national policy and land ownership are also important factors influencingcampus form. For example, most modern American universities are located insuburbs due to the influence of MorrillAct (1862) which provides colleges for the benefits of agriculture and mechanicarts. In addition, urban planning concepts, theories and design techniques alsoinfluence campus planning. For instance, Christopher Wolfgang Alexander’s “patternlanguage” contributed to the planning of The University of Oregon. Moreover,personal preferences, concepts of campus management staff and the will ofofficialdom popular in Chinashow also impacts on campus form.

Although all of the above-mentioned factors havegreat impacts on campus form, action principles of natural regional conditionsare to be followed by all architectural complexes, but not only campuses. Andthese factors would not change with the times, thus they should not be regardedas the major basis of the campus form evolution. Humanistic and social factorssuch as politics and religion have infiltrated to all aspects of architectureand planning, thus they show common influence on campus form. Evolution ofcampus form is different from the development track of other agriculturalcomplexes, to figure out its driving force, the action process of universityunder general laws has to be explored first from the complicate changes, andsuch a process is the unique “autorotation” track of campus.

University has unique social value, and itsdevelopment is always determined by certain intrinsic forces. Abraham Flexnerin Universities: American, English,German says that modern university puts its whole heart and soul inadvancing knowledge, studying problems and training students at the highestlevel[3]. John Brubacher also says in On the philosophy of higher educationthat each society of a relatively large scale, regardless of its political,economic and religious type, needs an organization to spread profound knowledge,analyze and criticize existing knowledge and explore new academic fields[4].Lucy Smith, President of University of Oslo, said in her speech at PekingUniversitythat university is “the center of knowledge and right”. Therefore, the value ofuniversity lies in the knowledge-based activities, it is the feature that otherarchitectural complexes do not have. Driving force of the campus evolution canbe figured out by exploring the development laws of “knowledge” and studyingknowledge-related activities in the university.

Knowledge science originated from Germanclassical philosophy studies connotation and extension of knowledge,realization of knowledge as well as ways of acquiring the knowledge. Ke Ping inOn Research of Knowledge Science defined knowledge science as “a sciencestudying knowledge and knowledge activities”[5]. Zhang Yi in ChineseUniversity Architecture in Perspective of Pedagogy analyzed the concept of “knowledge activities”, and put knowledge-basedactivities in the same research framework[6]. The concept of “knowledgeactivities” was borrowed in this paper to cover such activities in universityrelated to knowledge production, transmission, demonstration, evaluation andapplication. In Marxist Philosophy, activity is the subject’s reformation ofobject, and it requires three basic elements, namely subject, object andmedium. Therefore, all knowledge-based activities in university can be regardedas the intellectuals’ reformation of “knowledge”. In this context, the objectindicates knowledge in various fields of human society, specifically, it refersto the higher education related to social activities, but not basic education. Thesubject indicates intellectuals engaged in knowledge production andtransmission. And the medium includes concept and way of higher education, aswell as the tangible space for higher education discussed in this study—campus.Such a medium is the link between subject and object, it is limited by both ofthe latter and has also influence on them. Thus campus form is limited byknowledge activities, evolves with the development of its core value, influencesand enhances such a development trend. When the form cannot meet the needs oreven hold back the normal operation of knowledge activities, it will be graduallyadjusted and show new features through the evolution of a certain period. Suchadjustment, in turn, can promote the effective operation of knowledgeactivities. “4W” (what, why, how and who) was adopted by western scholars tosummarize core issues of knowledge science, by the means of which researches onknowledge activities fell into the following two aspects: the former two(connotation and extension of knowledge) describe value orientation ofknowledge activities, the latter two (realization of knowledge and means ofacquiring knowledge) focus on the ways and features of knowledge activities. Studyon value orientation, ways and features of knowledge activities in universityof different ages will help understand formation, development, education conceptand changing ways of university essentially, thus development laws of campus—materialspace of knowledge activities can also be disclosed.

Knowledge activities decide campus form in adirect and definite way. For example, military colleges and art colleges haveknowledge activities of entirely different value orientations and features, theformer has always solemn campus forms while the latter has free and lively ones.More often, such a driving force has been covered by the complicate interactionof various factors. Without regard to the influence of the inflexible naturalconditions, most of the above-mentioned humanistic and social factors do notact on the campus directly, but impact knowledge activities in the society, andtry to change the form, objective and principle of these activities, so as tocoordinate these activities with their own development. As a result, valueorientations and action modes of these knowledge activities are diverse indifferent ages and regions, which further influences internal organizationstructure and operation mechanism of the university, and the campus form. Forexample, the influence of politics and ideology on university lies in not theirinstruction on campus construction, but the macro higher education strategies whichguide schooling concepts, talent cultivation patterns and teaching models ofuniversities to grow in a desired way, and cultivate talents for serving theirinterests. Planning of tangible campus spaces is a concrete form of culture andeducation planning.

Religion exerts its influence on campus form inthe similar way. Knowledge activities are expected to reflect religious ideasand traditional cultures in the society, thus campus is planned on the basis ofreligious icons, and space is a kind of expression of concept. Planningconcepts and theories are products of a certain period, they reflect thecontemporaries’ understanding of the relationship between building, space andenvironment as well as the development level of their cognition, and suchunderstanding and cognition is the very demonstration of knowledge developmentlevel of this period. Wills of designers and judges should not be simplyregarded as personal preferences, because they also reflect a general trend ofknowledge development of this period. When the static and disposable campusplanning view is gradually replaced by the dynamic and developmental one, suchinfluence declines. In some cases, campus planning is determined by will of theofficialdom, which reflects the serious influence of national utilitarianism andpoliticized knowledge activities.

The above analysis shows that all influencefactors of campus form focus on knowledge activities in universities. Therefore,value orientations and ways and features of knowledgeactivities demonstrate synthesis and improvement of such influence factors, anddirectly determine ways and directions of campus form evolution.

2 Campus formevolution from the perspective of knowledge science

By focusing on knowledge activities, reviewingevolution history of the campus form, analyzing differences and similarities ofcampus activities of oriental and western universities in value orientation andaction mode, the ultimate driving force of campus form evolution is disclosed.

2.1 Medievaluniversities

The widely-acknowledged university isoriginated from the medieval universities in Europe.During this period, universities of the agricultural society were not directlyconnected with social production, knowledge activities focused more on “cultivation”of students’ personal integrity and showed no utilitarianism. Although there weresuch applied science as medical science and law in the medieval universities, parochialeducation based on Christianity and monasticism had monopolized European highereducation, and the knowledge activities had been characterized by divinity, allknowledge activities violating basic doctrines were strangled in the cradle. Moreover,medieval knowledge activities were also characterized by liberal educationwhich aimed at cultivating learned and accomplished worthies, but not technicalpersonnel. Teachers lived with students, and sons of God with high integritywere cultivated through debating. Universities had no direct interaction withcities and the society, but kept a proper distance with them, and tried toavoid the conflict with citizens and the involvement in political battle. Inthis sense, knowledge activities are closer to a kind of “religious practice”guided by divinity than learning, and operation mode of the universities issimilar to monastery. To meet the needs of such “closed” activities, “court” ofmonastery was copied (Fig.2). Therefore, court campus is the earliest campusform and has been inherited because it is able to create a serene environment.

2.2 Highereducational establishment in ancient China

About this same time, a kind of differenteducational establishment was invented in China, and this period was named asthe “humanistic” stage of Chinese higher education by Tu Youguang in On historyof Chinese higher education[7]. Although it is controversial to call such an educationalestablishment “university”, properties and nature of its activities are closelyrelated to the ancient higher education, so it is taken into the comparativeanalysis in this study.

Classical educationin the agricultural society of ancient China also aimed at cultivatingstudents’ moral characters, and ancient Chinese architectural complexes werecharacterized by inward layouts, thus the enclosed courtyard structure was naturallychosen for the “campus”. Different from the medieval universities, ancientChinese knowledge activities tried to cultivate not only moral characters ofstudents, but also their capacity of serving the country. Therefore, academiesin ancient China never triedto avoid the contact with society like the medieval universities in Europe did, they chose talents by establishingeducational agencies in cities. As a result, there were both “official schools”in cities such as “the ImperialCollege” (Taixue)and “the TempleSchool”(Miaoxue) and “private schools” in mountainforest such as “academy” (Shuyuan) inChina.“Feudal code of ethics” was a behavioral principle of ancient Chinese highereducation just like divinity dominated knowledge activities in medieval Europe, “ceremonies” for offering sacrifices to gods orancestors were also important knowledge activities. The emperors “hosted grandceremonies” and “prelected and also learned and asked for advisement” in “theImperialCollege”,which contributed to the ceremonial spatial sequence centering on “ImperialUniversity” (Biyong), and the solemn symmetric campus structure. Since the highposition of Confucianism was determined in the Han Dynasty, Confucian templeshad been constructed in schools of all levels, so standardized and institutionalizedConfucian-sacrifice activities had been formed, and the “temple school system”has also been created. In terms of campus layout, such concepts weredemonstrated as the layout of “temple at left and academy at right”, that is, academicspace and ceremonial space were lying in parallel (Fig.3), which is greatlydifferent from the simple court campus in the medieval universities. In termsof action mode, Confucianism holds that all living things in the natural worldare gifts of the Creator. “Viewing vitality of the nature” and experiencingheavenly principles are basic methods for intellectuals knowing the world toachieve “happiness”, and also the “human-nature oneness”. In addition to “speculation”,knowledge activities also included contents of “visiting mountain forest in carefreeleisure”, it was expected that “in all academies, there are ponds, pavilionsand gardens outside the halls, study rooms and dormitories for relaxation andsightseeing”. Therefore, such special landscape spaces as “academy garden” appearedon campus. By comparing campus forms in western and oriental countries, it wasfound that their differences reflected diverse value orientations, ways andfeatures of knowledge activities.

2.3 Evolutionof campus form with the change of knowledge activities

The inward knowledge activities resulted inclosed campus, when knowledge activities were closed to the society, thecloseness of campus was broken. The productive forces were emancipated by TheBourgeois Revolution and Industrial Revolution, and the development needed agreat number of well-educated labors from the university.

2.3.1Campus formevolution of western universities. Knowledge activities in modern westernuniversities have gradually turned their focus from quality education toprofessional education, from self-improvement to serving social production.

Transfer from quality education to professionaleducation resulted in reduction of internal communication and study on campus, thespeculative and interactive relationship between teachers and students was changedto the unilateral teaching, research and teaching were gradually separated. Teaching,living and administrative functions of the campus were divided, and studentshad not to live in a closed yard, even teaching buildings of differentfaculties were separated from each other, on the basis of which campus withproper functional zoning was formed. Such functional division broke up functionsof the campus buildings, but the relationship among buildings was enhanced. Asit is realized that linear or centripetal spatial structures connect differentfunctional zones into a whole and disordered campus layout is avoided in thisway, court campus has gradually evolved into teaching building groups controlledby axes or centers, or appeared in clusters.

Transfer fromself-improvement to serving social production contributed to the increasinglyintimate relationship among campus, society and production, as a result, campussites were gradually moved from remote areas to industrial centers. Forexample, OwensCollegefocusing on chemical researches was founded in Manchester,and MasonCollegefocusing on mining research was founded in University of Birmingham.Since the campus moved to urban districts, its original closed spaces could nolonger be maintained, but were integrated to the urban natural environment. Thetrend of openness was also demonstrated as the disintegration of courtyardlayout. In Cambridgeduring the Sixteenth Century, the newly-built colleges adopted the “three-sectioncompound”, specifically, one side of the campus was left for enclosed wall ormemorial gate so that there would be more sunshine and fresh air. Such a layoutwas known as “sanitary” layout which was further improved to an open “mall”campus (Fig.4) with idyllic features by The University of Virginia on the basisof inheriting traditional European campus planning. The enclosed court wasabandoned, buildings stood independently at three sides of the plaza, with openlawn in the center, teachers and students enjoyed the intimate relationshipwith the nature. After the independence of the United States, agriculturaldevelopment was regarded as the primary task, and the knowledge activitiesfocusing on agriculture determined that picturesque environment becamefavorable campus site, such a form was vividly called “university village” bythe academic circle. In the planning of the University of Virginia,residences of teachers and students were arranged closely so that teacherscould instruct and influence students by their words and deeds in life, becauseindustrial and technological revolution had delayed action on university, andways of knowledge activities in university were still influenced by those inthe medieval universities. Due to the outstanding landscape and sanitaryfunctions and sufficient sunshine, open axial campus planning of The Universityof Virginia had won great popularity in the United States and even the Third World via the colonial war andexpansion of ideology, and had exerted great influence on modern universitiesin China.

2.3.2Campus form evolution of modern Chinese universities. Modern Chineseuniversities were founded in a special historical background, and advancedwestern cultures together with colonialism changed the social development paceof China.Classical universities with “humanities” as the value orientation have evolved rapidlyto modern universities with “sciences” as the value orientation. Such a “suddenchange” resulted in the coexistence of diversified knowledge activities inconflict, for example, classical humanism, the reform spirit of “learning advantagesof others to resist against them”, as well as western educational ideas broughtto China by missionaries coexisted with the result that campus forms of modernChinese universities were characterized by conflicts with and integration ofdiversified cultures, such as the dominant functional zoning concept in Europeand America, humanism planning principles integrating building and environment,site selection principles of classical Chinese universities such as “bymountain forest and picturesque scenic area”, as well as classical Chinesecultures such as “ceremonies and music support each other”.

Planning principles of The University ofVirginia were introduced to China by Henry Killam Murphy, traditional Chinesegardening techniques and cultural spirits as well as traditional Chinesearchitectural styles were all integrated to design a batch of campuses characterizedby both Chinese and western cultural spirits, such as Yale-in-ChinaUniversity, Tsinghua Academy, Jinling Women’s University and YanjingUniversity.

Yang Tingbao after finishing his courses in theUnited States hosted the planning of Northeast University (Fig.5), adopted a “cross-shaped”campus structure (it is actually a simulation of Chinese character “”), by applying both traditionalcourtyard spaces and mall campus planning, oriental and western planningconcepts were artfully combined. From this perspective, campuses of modernChinese universities absorbed different planning concepts and became a directreflection of the coexisting value orientations.

2.3.3 Campusform evolution with the knowledge activities. Knowledge activities in modernuniversities inherit utilitarian values, thus not only dissemination ofknowledge was stressed, but also innovation and exploration highlighted. Humboldt UniversityBerlin,known as “the Mother of Modern University”, stressed “integration of researchand teaching”, and remarked the opening of the research-based university. Modernresearch activities are different from the one-way teaching activities thatcoexist independently, or the “lone wolf” work of one or two individuals, but arecomplicate social activities involving many fields that need intimatecooperation of all sectors in a university. In addition, the transverseconnection among disciplines of modern sciences has been gradually enhanced,and interdisciplinary sciences have had to be developed with the joint effortsof different faculties. Such enhancement of transverse connection amongknowledge activities determines that the internal relationship among campusbuildings has to be strengthened, because the traditional pattern of “abuilding for a faculty” fails to adapt to the development. Even those spacescapable of meeting needs of teaching and scientific researches will be crampedbecause of the fast pace of knowledge renovation, therefore, spaces with betteruniversality have to be offered.

Changing ways ofknowledge activities led to the emergence of grid structure based on spatialmodule planning, and such a structure highlights connection and universality. FreeUniversity of Berlin (Fig.6), University of Paris VI,and ShenyangJianzhuUniversityare all successful works.

Group structurehas been widely applied because of its flexibility and suitability for phased implementation(Fig.7). “Communication space” was originated from the speculative activities since the foundation ofuniversity, but has been marginalized because of the spatial separation broughtby professional education. Knowledge activities in modern universities do notfocus only on the one-way teaching, but pay equal attention to teaching andcommunication, thus the design of communication space regains the attention (Fig.8).Campus provides as more opportunities as possible for the communication ofdifferent units, and communication spaces become nodes of the campus spatialassociation and also links of knowledge activities.

Knowledgeactivities in modern Chinese universities have been largely influenced byhigher education pattern of the Soviet Union,showing obvious political tendency and typical “nationalutilitarianism”. Since the foundation of the People’s Republic of China,universities have long been engaged in cultivating talents for industrialconstruction, university–faculty management system was established andactivities were dominated by the one-way teaching. Influenced by such atendency, campus spaces were always divided in rows, and knowledge activitiesduring this period were also characterized by ideological and politicizedhigher education. Campus then was dominated by paternalistic and solemnatmosphere, and had no open or independent spirits to encourage innovations. Tohighlight the image and great creativity of new regime, the solemn, grand andmemorial main building of MoscowStateUniversitywas taken as a blueprint of campus in China, center of the mall campuswas replaced by the regular and splendid memorial plaza. Traditional axialspatial sequences have still been applied because they reflect strong memorialimplications and concentration of power. Campuses with main buildings, plazasof ordered sequences, and teaching buildings in symmetric layouts have beenconstructed all over the country, and become miniatures of the society (Fig.9).

The solemn and restrained campus form broughtby politicization has changed with the political environment. The reform andopening up enables the promotional role of science and technology on productiveforce to be confirmed, higher education enters the popular stage. Rapid socialdevelopment requires science and technology of all fields, utilitarianism andpolitical preferences no longer dominate knowledge activities in the university.Moreover, diversified university development ideas bring diversified campusconstruction concepts, as a result, various campus planning forms have beenexplored and applied, and memorial axis has no longer been a standard patternof Chinese universities (Fig.10).

To achieve quick success and instant benefits, thereare many crude works and disordered campus plans in China, but there are also manysuccessful works, and the campus construction has gradually been geared tointernational standards with the modernization of knowledge activities. Despitethese positive changes, if the politicization and will of officialdom is noteliminated, such formal features of Chinese campus as axis of symmetry,functional zoning and ceremonial spatial sequence will exist for a long time.

Campus formevolution reviewed in the above context definitely shows the decisive impact ofknowledge activities on campus form, campus form differences between orientaland western universities also reflect features of their knowledge activities. Thetransfer of campus from “closed” to “open” is actually a changing processof knowledge activities’ value orientation from “self-cultivation” to “focusingon social value”. And the transfer of campus form from “scattered” to“concentrated” and then “comprehensive and networked” is a changing process ofknowledge activities’ mode from “independent” to “cooperation” and then “socialcomprehensive coordination and interaction” (Fig.11–12).

3 Analysis of the campus form evolution tendency

Evolutiontendency of campus form can be further explored by analyzing developmentfeatures and directions of knowledge activities in the modern times.

Through reviewingthe modern times with a global perspective, knowledge-based economy has becomea critical driving force of the global development. According to the theory ofnew economy, in the twenty-first century global economy has already beenchanged from agricultural economy and industrial economy to knowledge economy. Withrespect to the traditional economy based on such material elements such asenergy, raw materials and labor forces, knowledge economy depends more on theaccumulation, learning and innovation of scientific knowledge, behavioralmanagement knowledge and technical skills, high-quality human resources havebecome the most important resources of the society. Traditional economy hasphysical assets as the input, but knowledge economy has fruits of knowledgeactivities as the invested assets, that is, intellectual property rights, andits outputs are also products of high technological contents andadditional value. Science and technology has also become “No. 1 productiveforce”.

Such a trend of knowledge activities pushes knowledgeresources and “production department” of knowledge products to the frontier ofsocial development. Talents and scientific research fruits have to betransferred to productive force in the fastest pace, otherwise, they will fallinto disuse because of newer knowledge. Universities enjoy the closerconnection with the society, and the interaction among teaching, scientificresearch and production is strengthened.

Moreover, knowledge activities in theuniversities depend more on the society, because the complicate scientificresearches will only be carried out with support of social material and financialsupport. Even simple teaching activities cannot neglect the needs of socioeconomicdevelopment, otherwise, they will be abandoned by students. “Silicon Valley–Stanford”mode is a typical case to explain the university’s increasing dependence on thesociety, such an open university has gradually become a popular trend ofuniversity development which is also known as “university town”.

In terms of campus form, significance of campusstructures has been weakened, traditional concrete forms will be replaced bythe development concepts stressing the resource sharing between campus andcity, and the organic integration of campus and urban spaces. In the future,boundaries between campus and city will further decline, and the campus willnot only “have no enclosed wall”, but also expand to the city. Richer socialfunctions of the city will grow along the dominant structure of university town,and finally a giant comprehensive area with integrated functions such asteaching, scientific researches and social services will be formed by one ormore universities and their sci-tech parks. For example, TsukubaScientificTownin Japan covers an area of28.6 km2, GuangzhouUniversityTownin Chinatotals 43.3 km2 (Fig.13), they are “cities in universities” morethan “universities in cities”. The integration of university and city enriches thetransition layer between campus and city which becomes a special industrialbelt of knowledge economy. And original enclosed walls are replaced by sharedspaces of diversified functions.

In China, economicentities based on the scientific and technological strength of universities havebeen founded outside the campuses, which reflect the future development trendof university despite the current low level of many entities. Coexistence ofuniversity and city brings to the change of campus form, and has far-reachinginfluence on the development of urban morphology. Such an open form introducesnew urban centers consisting of universities with science and technology aswell as cultural productivity into traditional urban development modesdominated by administrative organizations and commercial centers.

In the“Information Era”, knowledge activities are characterized by the reform of theways of disseminating and acquiring information brought by such newtechnologies as ICT (information & communication technology). Acquisitionof knowledge will be no longer limited by space, any one can obtain the neededknowledge in any location at any time, so higher education that only a fewpeople enjoyed in the past because of the limited education resources will be popularized.“NetworkUniversity”and “VirtualUniversity” enable people to receiveeducation without going out of their houses. According to the officialstatistics, there have been more than one million undergraduates in China finishingtheir courses via various media, such a development trend further enhances theintegration of university into the city, and infiltration of universityknowledge activities into various fields of the society. Educational serviceshave not to be located on campus, but can also be connected with the universityin non-spatial forms, which further weakens the spatial boundaries ofuniversity. Information technology also contributes to the ways of scientificstudies, laboratories are not confined in a building or on a campus. Forexample, researchers of ArizonaStateUniversitycan control the growth of plants in polar research station, and scientists allaround the world can share the research fruits and discuss relevant issues inthe same network environment.

Such changes lead to the loosening connectionamong sectors of the university, and the networked and generalized campusadvocated by modern university and the multi-layered communication spaces arelargely replaced by a virtual network space. When the relationship among campusbuildings and their connotations are further enhanced, their spatial connectionis gradually weakened. Information technology enables teachers and students toobtain their needed knowledge by not running about on campus, and the advanceddatabases guarantee the fast dissemination of information that originallydepends on print media by the means of multimedia. Library, the core buildingon modern campus, has been gradually marginalized, because campus does not needa fixed center. In a word, information technology will further push forward thedevelopment of open university, and the campus form will be more flexible andbetter integrated to the city, that is, a new non-structural networked formbased on information technology. “Networked” herein does not refer to internet,but implies that the connection among sectors of the university is no longer asimple or centripetal relation, but will become a complicate multi-componentsystem. The original pattern of “a building for a faculty” will be greatlyinfluenced, public classroom and laboratories will be further developed. Theconnection and communication among different sectors of the university will beliberated, but intangible spaces for the connection and communication will be dismantled,because information technology weakens the significance of such tangible spacesfor knowledge activities. On this basis, campus planning will focus more onneeds of space, environment and landscape, so as to construct a campus morelike a “garden”.

“Sustainabledevelopment” is also a major orientation for knowledge activities in the twenty-firstcentury. According to sustainable development theories, healthy economicdevelopment should be based on ecological sustainability and social justice, andonly economic activities favorable for resources and environment and notdestroying benefits of the future generation should be advocated. All knowledgeactivities will have no lasting value if they deviate from sustainabledevelopment. University has the responsibility and obligation to guide theapplication of sustainable development concepts in daily life, and construct asustainably-developed campus which is also called “eco-university”. “Eco-university”includes not only contents in the space dimension, but also higher education, knowledgescience and cultural studies.

From theperspective of campus form, eco-university has no mature planning theory system,and most design practices focus on the construction of “garden university” withfavorable landscape effects. Many planning experts have devoted great effortsin this field, for example, Yang Jingwen proposed design principles ofeco-campus in the planning competition of Civil Aviation University of China. Themost outstanding design of Yang was the wing-shaped roof design that canconstantly change direction and angle of elevation, so all buildings wereguaranteed with favorable natural ventilation and different ecological needs weresatisfied (Fig.14). Wind tower was adopted in the planning of QatarUniversityto shelter strong sunshine and introduce natural wind to buildings, campus formbecame a direct fruit of ecological design (Fig.15). Based on eco-designprinciples, characteristics of sustainable campus planning can be reasonablyconcluded. Specifically, eco-university should be closely integrated into thenatural world and adaptive to natural climatic features, campus environmentshould be protected, and efficiency of buildings improved. In addition, renewablematerials and energies should be applied as much as possible in architecturaldesigns, consumed remains of buildings should be reduced, rejected materialsshould be reused, role of landscape spaces and waters in adjusting microclimate should be fully developed. Therefore, sustainable development is notonly a major orientation of knowledge activities in the future, but also theinevitable direction of campus development, and it requires further theoreticstudies and design practices.

On the basis of analyzing future knowledgeactivities in university, it can be expected that campus form tends to be “open”and “networking”, spatial fence will be further broken, campus and city will befurther integrated and interact with each other. Campus planning will not onlyfocus on structure and space, axis and center will become more flexible, campuswill develop in accordance with environmental texture, more ecological campusconstruction concepts will be applied to ensure the harmonious coexistence ofnatural and urban environment. Although many newly-built universities adoptedtraditional planning techniques such as functional zoning, spatial compositionand axial design, some novel planning ideas have been applied in campusplanning invisibly, which has pushed forward campus form to evolve in a newdirection.

Information technologyenables knowledge activities to be carried out in spaces other than campus,which to some extent leads to the disassembly of such physical spaces as campus.However, campus is still needed because there are other non-utilitarianknowledge activities on campus in addition to the science and technology whichare closely related to economic development. Social sciences such as humanities,arts and archaeology focus on the long-term development needs of human beings,but not short-term benefits, thus these “knowledge”may be not needed urgently, but are stillindispensable contents of knowledge activities in universities. Theseactivities depend more on accomplishment and speculation of intellectuals, so a“campus” with favorable academic atmosphere is needed. Therefore,the noble responsibility of university since its foundation for cultivatingpeople of lofty characters should not be neglected, value orientations of theseactivities have already faded out in the economic development. Campus is aplace for producing and imparting knowledge, and campus spaces bear theresponsibility of educating people. David Starr Jordan, the first president of StanfordUniversity, once said that long galleries and solemn columns are parts of the education,each stone in the court teaches students to know dignity and honesty. In viewof such value orientations, campus needs pure land to educate people. In such universities as OxfordUniversity“withoutenclosed wall” during the pastcenturies, all of its independent colleges have maintained solemn academic atmosphere,even the lawn is not allowed to trample to show respect for knowledge. A campusfor learning knowledge and cultivating personality does not conflict with theopen trend of university, on the contrary, both of them cooperate with andbenefit each other. In a long run, university as the “garden” ofknowledge will be maintained in acertain tangible cultural space, and will find its own position in the conflictwith the “disassembly” brought by information technology.

Fig.1 Popular campus structures

早期自由发展的校园Early freecampus layout

院落式结构Courtyard campus

对称轴线Symmetrical axis

自由轴线Free axis

中心型结构Center type

组团式结构Building group type

格网式结构Grid structure

有机结构Organic structure

Fig.2 Court within a medieval campus

Fig.3Temple–Academy structure (ConfucianTemple in the left, The ImperialCollegein the right)

Fig.4 Mall campus at University of Virginia

Fig.5 “Cross” campus structure of NortheastUniversity

1. Library

2. School of Humanities and Law

3. Chemistrybuilding

4. Gym

5. Stadium

6. Boys’dormitory

7. Labs ofscience and industry

8. College of Sciences

9. Hall

10. Staffs’ dormitory

11. Girls’dormitory

12. School of Education

13. Girls’ gym

Fig.6Grid structure of Free University of Berlin

Fig.7Group structure of the new campus at Yanshan University

Fig.8Space platforms of different sized adopted by SaitamaPrefectureUniversity to enhance thecommunication spaces

Fig.9Russian-style planning of BeijingUniversity of Iron andSteel

Fig.10Planning of ShanghaiUniversity based on freeaxis

Fig.11Evolution of the “open” campus

Closed courts→sanitary type→ mall campus→ open axis + teaching building groups→ integratedcampus and environment → campus-city integrated via industrial belt

Fig.12Evolution of “scattered–concentrated–networking” campus pattern

Universityvillage→ university concentrated in industrial cities→ concentrated campusplanning (axial and central type) → relatively independent teaching buildinggroups→ grids enhancing communication and universality→ network space in theinformation era

Fig.13Detailed construction planning of GuangzhouUniversityTown

总平面Master plan


生物岛Biological Island


长洲岛Changzhou Island

京珠高速BeijingZhuhai Highway

广东科学中心Guangdong Science Center

中山大学Sun Yat-sen University

贝冈村Beigang Village

广东外语外贸大学Guangong University of Foreign Studies

北区North District

外环路Outer ring

中环路Central ring

内环路Inner ring

星海音乐学院Xinghai Conservatory of Music

北亭村Beiting Village

华南师范大学South China Normal University

信息体育共享区Information and sports sharing sector

广州中医药大学Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine

广东药学院Guangdong Pharmaceutical University

穗石村Suishi Village

华南理工大学South China University of Technology

南区South District

中部快线Central express

广州大学Guangzhou University

广州美术学院Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts

广东工业大学Guangdong University of Technology

南亭村Nanting Village

Fig.14Yang Jingwen’s design plan for Civil Aviation University of China

Fig.15QatarUniversity, wind tower applied to settleclimatic issues and contributing to special campus form

Received: December5, 2012                          Accepted:

Supported by NationalNatural Science Foundation “On Planning Concepts of Modern Chinese Campuses” (51108308).



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