Media School at Franklin Hall Renovation, Indiana University
Indiana University’s Franklin Hall is the complete transformation of the university’s original library building into the quintessential 21st Century course of study – media and communications. As the home of the newly created Indiana University Media School, Franklin Hall is an early 20th Century building retrofitted for the Media Age.
In many ways, the Media School is the opposite of what the 1908 building was originally intended to be -- a university library. Then, it was about curating and preserving items – books and papers. In contrast, media culture is about intersections and convergences; a world of news taking place in the split of an instant; curiosity about new ideas and assertiveness. IU picked Franklin Hall as the place for the Media School to reinvigorate the original campus core. Precisely because of this tension between old and new, between early 20th Century and early 21st Century, the formal exterior hosts a dynamic fresh purpose.
The heart and soul of the Media School is the Media Commons. Designed to be impressive and visually lively, this double height atrium is capped with a large skylight to flood the interior with natural light. The nature of the space is like the Millennial generation and Generation Z themselves – flexible, but nonetheless in need of one’s own “space” and “territory.” Large, comfortable furniture and integrative technology allows students to customize their environment; they tap into their smart phones apps to hear one of the many broadcasts playing on the oversized screen above them. They can gather with faculty or fellow students, or put on headphones to immerse themselves in media consumption or creation.
Franklin Hall upends the traditional academic building layout of classrooms separated from faculty and administrative spaces – classrooms are important but as equally vital are informal common spaces. Faculty offices are placed in the thick of the building’s action, positioned so that professors traverse the Media Commons to go to and from their offices, thus affording opportunities to encounter students and other faculty.