Develop a Larger Learning Process

This project originated on the periphery of institutional consciousness. No formal or informal feedback loops bridged this project with other building projects, or to institutional operations or trustees. The project had no strong advocate within the administration, which may explain why no effort was made to develop a shared vision, what Senge labels "common mental models" among the trustees, senior staff, facilities management, and faculty. The administration initiated no review of the project after its commissioning with all the participants to determine what worked well and what did not.4 Thus, different and somewhat antagonistic views of the project and the design process existed among the college administration, faculty, and design group that worked on the building. It is fair to say that the Lewis Center did not at that time reflect a deeper institutional commitment to sustainability, energy efficiency, solar power, ecological restoration, and biological diversity, which were all central to both the building program and the Environmental Studies Program. On the contrary, the project has been regarded as an isolated experiment, not as the beginning of a larger change. Several years after commissioning the building, a member of the design team observed that "our story truly isn't their story." Perhaps in time this will change.

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