Cal-(IT)2: Researching the Future of the Internet
Susan Clark, NBBJ
The California Institute for Telecommunications and
Information Technology (Cal-(IT)2) provides three types of specialized
research laboratory space: cleanroom environments for materials
and devices, wireless laboratory for networked infrastructure, and
media laboratories for media arts. In addition, approximately two-thirds
of the building space will be given over to research neighborhoods
designed to accommodate specific projects. By design, these neighborhoods
will foster multidisciplinary creative interaction, supported by
shared spaces for cutting-edge and prototype visualization technologies.
Social interaction of the researchers is a key feature of the research
neighborhoods and other spaces.
The 220,000 sq. ft. project features a host of progressive technology-enabled
research and conferencing space, including a six sided immersive
virtual environment, a black box theater, and a 250 seat technology-intensive
theater. Several conference rooms will enable scientific visualization,
enabling interdisciplinary activities within the facility and global
collaboration. The project is one of two buildings that comprise
Cal-(IT)2, a joint effort of UC San Diego and UC Irvine.
New Media Arts facilities now enable research, production, and
exhibition related to virtual reality, specialized audio, advanced
audio, and video synthesis, motion capture, streaming media, and
interactive, distributed performance. They include: an immersive
visualization lab, a 3-D scanning and fabrication lab, a clean room
including an nano-scale fabrication lab, and an optical networking
lab, to name just a few.
Every aspect of design for the new CAL-(IT)2 is inspired by the
vision of interconnected, ubiquitous broadband wireless communication,
and the mission to bring new developments and strategic applications
together through public/private partnerships. The building itself
will serve as an instrument of the Institute's research and a partner
in its discoveries.
The nature of the research at Cal-(IT)2 dictates that the physical
and virtual environments accomodate change as a constant state.
Taking this approach means that more of the building is actively
being used than more conventional labs, which often condition and
light environments of fixed elements. The project's interior design
embodies this approach, providing for the long-term adaptability
of integrated building support systems, while its massing reflects
the diverse nature of the work occuring within.
The dynamic balance of the building's form expresses the coexistence
of related, but opposing forces of research. The exterior forces
of the Academic Court versus the rustic edge of the campus, along
with the passage that connects them are resolved. The rectangular
form on the courtyard side houses the flexible building support
systems and support personnel. The curvilinear form on the canyon
side responds directly to this natural boundary - the soft, enveloping
shape providing for flexibility in its open plan.
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