The mysterious 4th Space project under construction in Concordia’s former bookstore on the Sir George Williams campus will be a new and innovative research facility.
4th Space is expected to cost $1.9 million in total and will be paid for through soliciting sponsors and donors. “Some of the costs are borne by researchers from their grant funding,” said Nadia Bhuiyan, Vice-Provost of Partnerships and Experimental Learning.
Concordia’s 4th Space project has been in the works for the past two years and will be open to the public by mid-November, with an official launch in January 2019.
“We don’t know of any other space that exists like this in a university setting,” said Associate Vice-President of Strategy and Operations, Research and Graduate Studies, Justin Powlowski.
The facility will combine science centres, design showrooms, museum exhibitions and theatre sets in rotating residencies. “It will be a flexible space that can be easily adapted to mix things up,” Powlowski said.
Bhuiyan said the 4th Space will encourage the sharing of knowledge within the university, as well as “provide a dynamic space for experiential learning, and encourage and provoke the public’s curiosity for current research questions.”
4th Space will enhance outreach efforts and the sharing of ideas by creating an immersive area where “the university community and the public can engage with new and challenging ideas, and learn to understand research,” said Bhuiyan.
Powlowski said the space offers exciting prospects that will bring research and researchers to the university, the city of Montreal and the general public. Concordia President Alan Shepard agreed: “This is the future of what knowledge creation and outreach will look like,” he said.
This new venture will benefit students by providing them with the opportunity to do their research. “The experience of being involved in the 4th Space will also help to prepare students to acquire skills in better communicating what they have done and can do in the world of research,” said Powlowski.
The university’s Strategic Directions plan is a nine-step initiative to enhance learning and collaborative thinking at Concordia. One of the steps is doubling the research at the school in various ways, such as launching trans-disciplinary research institutes, recruiting postdoctoral fellows, and fostering a collaborative research environment. Creating 4th Space will aid in achieving these goals as well as “enhance our ability to generate additional research funding,” said Powlowski.
It will accommodate a variety of activities that range in scale and scope, “from on-the-fly research studies, to public consultations, performances, idea labs, festivals, and many other types of programming activities,” said Powlowski.
Photo by Mackenzie Lad.