An emerging design paradigm is having a major impact on the world of university campus planning and design-fusion facilities. As the name implies, fusion facilities bring together two or more campus programs previously housed in separate buildings into a single location. Some pair recreation programs with student life services. Others add wellness programs to the mix. One unusual combination fused a recreation program with nursing and kinesiology departments. However they are configured, these fusion facilities offer a new model and a new perspective on design to the nation's 4,495 Title IV-eligible, degree-granting institutions.
The most practical consideration fueling this nascent movement is initial cost: in general, it is cheaper to build one large-scale
facility than to build multiple structures.
But there is a much more overriding factor at work here. As universities extend their reach to embody the entire student learning experience-mental, physical, and emotional-broadening the scope of their facilities to respond to that agenda makes perfect sense. Through the incorporation of fusion facilities, Building Teams and their university clients can take the long view and look at facility models from a broader vantage point, beyond immediate programming demands to a consideration of the diverse needs of today's students.
In Building Design + Construction Magazine's February 2012 issue, SmithGroupJJR gives readers eight reasons to consider fusion facilities on their campuses.