School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University
Bloomington, Indiana, USA
124,000 square feet / 12,000 square meters
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects’ design for IU’s School of Informatics and Computing is a major step in the university’s effort to attract top talent and offer cutting edge educational opportunities. The landmark building will replace a number of departmental buildings scattered on the Bloomington campus, and will optimize integration of curricular and research programs. This will be the first completed project based on IU’s ambitious master plan for the north campus, establishing a new, vibrant mixed-use precinct with a unique personality based on the fundamental planning principles and enduring qualities of the core campus.
The four-story, L-shaped building is simply massed, respectful of the adjacent, existing Informatics Building and other modern and 19th century architecture that populate the campus; two window bays on the outer L facades pay tribute to gothic vocabulary. Striking in its diagonal gesture across the entire block, the central open air atrium follows the diagonal trajectory, also manifest in the design of the elevated roof detail and skylight, as seen from above. Clad in local limestone, also prevalent in IU’s architecture, the stately exterior is animated with floor-to-ceiling glass windows cut into each wall.
The highly-efficient building, designed for LEED certification, is modelled after tech start-up companies, advancing the level of innovation and entrepreneurship and encouraging impromptu, serendipitous collaboration and interaction between students, professors and outside practitioners. Three floors of open space corridors, flexible workstations and classrooms with movable tables and chairs to facilitate group learning, a Lecture Hall, Auditorium, Innovation Lab, Fabrication Lab and a Community Center are equipped with state-of-the-art media capabilities, robotic technology, and prototype development. An inventive “amphitheater” central staircase dissects the building along the diagonal axis and offers small balconies on which students may congregate and exchange ideas.