HDR joined the University of Maryland, College Park in celebrating the opening of the new Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Engineering.
Designed by HDR, the Brendan Iribe Center serves as a gateway between academia in one direction and the economic development engine of the city of College Park’s Discovery District in the other. A connector space joins the building’s two main components – a six-story instructional and research space, and a 298-person auditorium – while blurring the line between inside and outside to create a thoughtful academic and research center that links to student life. Home to the university's top-ranked Department of Computer Science and its renowned Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, the building’s six floors of specialized labs, classrooms and offices support groundbreaking research in virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, robotics, computer vision, algorithms and programming languages and systems.
“This is one of the most innovative facilities at any university,” said Amitabh Varshney, professor of computer science and dean of the university’s College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. “What is so remarkable is not just the beautiful space and the advanced equipment, but the way the building was designed. It is truly a collaborative place where people will work together to experiment and invent technologies that will lead us into the future.”
The 215,600 sq. ft. facility acts as a catalyst for bringing people together for education, research and discovery. The building gestures to campus traditions; brick finishes on the auditorium and landscape walls evoke the University’s Neo-Georgian heritage, and the building’s curved shape nestles within the orthogonal site plan. Multiple plazas, lawn spaces and accessible green roofs create an inviting, accessible environment for students and faculty before drawing them into the space through 18-foot structural glass walls.
The double-height ground floor will host activities from job fairs to hack-a-thons, and is littered with opportunities for causal interaction – seating areas, digital displays, a café and a sculptural communicating stair.
The building provides space for nationally recognized centers of interdisciplinary research in cybersecurity, data science, computational biology, machine learning and other fast-growing tech fields. High-bay labs and a 5300 sq. ft. maker space allow students (regardless of major), faculty, and industrial and community partners to share knowledge and ideas via workshops, presentations and lectures, and work on projects individually or in collaboration.
“HDR was honored to design this transformative building that utilizes technology, transparency, nature, and community space to draw people from diverse backgrounds in to work together and solve complex problems,” said Brian Kowalchuk, global director of design. “We’re excited to see the business partnerships, entrepreneurial ideas and research outcomes that it fosters for years to come.”
HDR previously designed the Physical Sciences Complex on the same campus.