Common Space

Marcene Kinney

The higher education team has been doing research to learn more about how space can impact interaction and encourage connections among its users.  Their analysis concluded that there are five types of common space that facilitate interaction and build community. The five types include Quiet, Communal, Interactive, Seasonal, and Casual.  Read more about each category below. 

To view a video that describes the research in more detail click this link or the video attached at the bottom of this article. 


Quiet: The 'Quiet' common space is an acoustically controlled space that promotes intropsection.  It often has an intimate scale reflected by the gatherins that take place there.  The quiet attendee gathers in the personal or intimate zone, but maintains a buffer from others nearby.  Quiet should not be confused with silence.


Communal: The 'Communal' common space is a lively environment that openly accommodates a variety of activities. The space is a bustle of movement, sound, and interaction. Individuals can come with a group or can seek one out here, enabling them to become part of the broader community. It is typically best suited for larger gatherings, so grab a beverage, meet someone new and enjoy the Communal space


Interactive: The Interactive common space is an adaptable space allowing engagement with an activity. Various size groups congregate and seek space they can adapt to suit the need of their task. The group engages in a variety of ways, but the activity is the primary focus. Personalize it, take it all in, but above all, connect with the Interactive space.

Seasonal: The Seasonal common space is an exterior space where the natural environment enhances the experience. The Seasonal space attendee is enengaged by the change of pace from the accustomed interior space. Whether an individual or a group, most activities are enriched by the dynamic environment. Feel the breeze, soak in the sun, and enjoy the Seasonal space.


Casual: The Casual common space is an unstructured environment that promotes relaxation and comfort. The Casual attendee searches out a comfortable spot and takes refuge for an indeterminate period of time. This space is typcially adjacent to circulation and activity. Small groups may take advantage of this space for solace or discussion. Take a deep breath and step into the Casual space.