The Bill & Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex brings together all programs, faculty and students of the Computer Science Department for the first time in the department’s history. Located in the center of campus, the complex consists of two buildings—Dell Computer Science Hall and a wing to the south—connected by an atrium.
The design of the complex emphasizes modern uses of materials found in the Spanish Mediterranean buildings at the core of the campus. Exterior walls use the signature UT-Austin mix of Texas brick laid in a stack bond or grid-like pattern. Colorful soffits on the underside of roof overhangs recall the painted wood soffits of older campus buildings. Large windows give the complex a light, open appearance. This use of glass is contemporary in spirit while recalling Sutton Hall and other campus buildings by Paul Cret, the architect of many of UT Austin’s early structures.
The complex houses 60 faculty offices, 40 offices for visitors and technical staff, space for 350 graduate students, and almost 1,860 assignable square meters (20,000 square feet) of flexible research laboratory space. Teaching spaces include a 200-seat lecture hall, seven classrooms, 10 seminar rooms, several electronic seminar rooms and instructional labs, more than 24 discussion rooms, and eight conference rooms. Rooms for staff, administrative support and student organizations are also included.
To encourage the sharing of ideas and to bring together faculty and students with common interests, the building is arranged in 10 research clusters. Each cluster has two glassed-in laboratories surrounded by faculty, graduate student, visitor and administrative offices, several open discussion areas, technical support spaces and a large conference room. This grouping is designed to encourage discussion and collaboration and to expose undergraduates to research.
The atrium is the complex’s primary gathering place. With wood finishes and lounge seating, the atrium is a warm, welcoming environment. Bridges across the upper levels can be used for study and informal meetings. A grand staircase provides opportunities for chance meetings.
The complex received a LEED Silver rating. Sustainable design strategies include sun shades and landscaping that collects and filters rainwater.