Loyola University of Maryland’s collegiate foundation is based upon the Jesuit virtue of exploration: to go forth and create meaningful professional service and leadership. Connection to the community expresses itself not only in sending students out into the world but also by inviting the world in. This give and take is at the nexus of the renovation and addition to Beatty Hall: the Miguel B. Fernandez Family Center for Innovation and Collaborative Learning.
The Fernandez Center serves as a physical gateway to campus and as a link for students to the community and life after Loyola. The concept for this building is to blur the boundaries between students and the community, Loyola life, and the world beyond in multidirectional relationships, while augmenting the active learning opportunities and providing a home for collaboration and innovation. To do so, the building supports spaces for diverse social interactions and various scales of connection.
The complex brings together Loyola’s behavioral, social science and education programs into an “academic loft” that promotes collaboration across disciplines. The most public and accessible student functions are located on the ground level, within a highly transparent space that serves as a welcoming “front porch” connecting campus and community. Approximately 70% of the building is shared space that supports innovation and active learning.
The complex is designed to allow for community mingling and ensure attention is paid to the space in between. Each faculty office area includes both formal and informal meeting spaces. These activity hubs encourage students to engage with faculty, and provide places for faculty to meet and work outside their offices.
At the heart of the Beatty Hall renovation, the Idea Lab serves as an interdisciplinary student hub for research, project work, and entrepreneurship. It is the most experimental spot in the building, serving as the physical and metaphorical center where innovative ideas and interdisciplinary connections occur. The space can be used for multiple classes to combine or as the starting point for workshops that break down into the smaller surrounding rooms.
The Café offers respite from work or study, allowing faculty and students to connect in a more casual setting, and invites the entire Loyola community into the building. It is visually connected to the outdoor learning space and the green of the campus beyond.