Imagine a place that changes and adapts to the needs of the students — a place so moldable it can go from a yoga session to an intensive interactive study session within minutes. Now imagine it being easily accessible on campus.

This magical space exists inside of North Quad under the name of “Creative Commons Atelier” — a name that mixes creativity and a touch of international flavoring, with the French word meaning “studio” or “artist workshop.”

The name itself helps represent the image North Quad wants to portray, one of originality and a cross between the foreign and the familiar.

Jamie Vander Broek, former North Quad Programming Coordinator, said that though the room itself hasn’t been around for long, the idea has been in the works for years. This has resulted in a place completely student-, faculty- and staff-made, with the intent of providing a common room unlike others, where those inside are free to color outside of the lines.

“Oftentimes students are sort of shoehorned into classroom space that isn’t as flexible,” Vander Broek said. “In North Quad, the (common spaces) can be shaped by the people who are in it. The architecture of the room isn’t dominant.”

Considering North Quad is home to a variety of schools and programs — including the Communication Studies, Screen Arts and Cultures, the Language Resource Center, the Sweetland Center for Writing, the School of Information, the Global Scholars Program, the Max Kade house and North Quad Residential Community — the placement of the CCA serves as the unification of many of their disciplines.

Vander Broek said the common room gives those inside the freedom to do absolutely whatever their imagination lets them. She particularly loved the flexibility of the room itself as well as its furniture and number of different LCD screens.

The feelings the room gives those who enter is comparable to the feeling a child gets when presented with an empty page along with crayons and markers — they just want to let their creativity shine.

There are moveable walls that are both magnetic and dry-erase, which allows a personal touch and division of the room along with digital banners displaying news feeds. The room itself is narrow with an incredibly high ceiling, a large array of windows and three smaller private conference rooms in the back.

“It gives off the sense of this enormous room, while on the other hand because it’s very narrow and long, it gives the ability to have very intimate meetings,” said Julie Evershed, Director of the Language Resource Center and instrumental member in the creation of the CCA.

There’s also almost a sense of mystery in the room — it never looks the same from day to day.

“What I like about it is that every time I walk in, I never know what it’s going to look like,” Evershed said. “I really love the flexibility. Sometimes you walk into a soft casual setting and sometimes it’ll be divided up where you can go into a little corner and feel secluded but still in an open space.”

The common room is also home to many events, like pilates, yoga and even ticketed events like puppeteers or dancers. These events in particular can take advantage of the multimedia speaker systems that are a key characteristic of the CCA.

All the technology in the room is designed to be easily accessible, but help is still available upon request.

Because it’s only been open since March of this past winter semester, students are still in the process of discovering its unique qualities.

“It’s a great place for people to go and work collaboratively,” said Chris McNamara, a Screen Arts and Cultures lecturer who also helped create the space. “It’s turned into something that could be a laboratory or incubator for all kinds of creative endeavors.”

Though access to the building for those not residing in North Quad is limited, the CCA never closes, and therefore can be particularly appealing for those students who want to study later in the evenings.

Its main campus location is also ideal for drawing in more students and events, since a nice walk or bus ride up to North Campus wouldn’t be necessary.

McNamara said the quality of the projection and sound system is phenomenal and allows those inside to experience quality sight and sound while at the same time not feeling isolated from the outside world, thanks to all the windows.

“It sort of feels very accessible to the street and not closed in a box,” he said.

Correction Appended: An earlier version of this story misquoted Matthew Rubinstein.

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