The Gates and Hillman Centers for Computer Science complete a computer science complex on Carnegie Mellon University’s west campus. The building h… Read More
The Gates and Hillman Centers for Computer Science complete a computer science complex on Carnegie Mellon University’s west campus. The building houses the three departments of the School of Computer Science, providing offices, conference rooms, open collaborative spaces, closed project rooms and a reading room, for more than 120 faculty, 350 graduate students, 100 researchers or postdoctoral fellows and 50 administrative staff members along with a more public component of 10 university classrooms, a 250 seat auditorium, a café and 2 university computer clusters.
The following design principles guided the project conceptually:
–The empowerment of the individual is fundamental to the mission of an academic institution.
–Intelligent, creative people possess an innate desire for the freedom of choice. They privilege order over the systematic and demand the maintenance of individuality within a respected collective.
–Interdisciplinary and collaborative work between academic units and faculty has been and continues to be one of Carnegie Mellon’s defining strengths.
–As the School of Computer Science grows in size and diversity, its physical facilities must sustain and encourage a successful environment of collective difference.
–The site had an unusually complex set of conflicting technical, functional and aesthetic challenges that, with the addition of the Gates and Hillman Centers, served to transform the West Campus area into a visually and physically integrated campus precinct.
–The Carnegie Mellon Campus plan and many of its buildings have distinctive, enduring characteristics that embody the highest ideals of the institution’s founders. They were exceptional works of their time and served as exemplary benchmarks for an architecture and landscape architecture of our own time.
–An architecture that represents Carnegie Mellon University’s and the School of Computer Science’s exceptional status among the world’s leading academic institutions is best informed from within the project’s own situation.
The computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon are independent researchers as well as dedicated educators. The quantity and nature of the offices reflect the dual roles and give the school a competitive advantage for recruiting. The offices are spacious, have great views, daylight and operable windows, and are dispersed among the collaborative common spaces. The design of oversized office doors, a strategy that emerged from the department’s open door policy, fosters a collaborative environment by encouraging impromptu visits and chance encounters.
Notes on Sustainability
The buildings were built to be energy efficient and environmentally sensitive and achieved a LEED™ Gold rating from the US Green Building Council. Environmentally friendly features include five green roofs, use of rotary heat exchangers or enthalpy wheels to limit energy loss in the ventilation system, and a system for collecting rainwater and snowmelt (gray water) for use in flushing toilets. The accompanying landscape more than doubles the existing west campus green space and features 292 new trees.
Each floor of the nine-story Gates Center and four-story Hillman Center is uniquely shaped to conform to the site’s demanding geology, steep terrain and built environment and to optimize office views to the exterior or atria. Of the 310 offices, 256 are located on exterior walls and have operable windows offering daylight and fresh air. Heating and cooling are controlled by individual office thermostats linked with motion sensors to detect when offices are occupied. A four-story, glass-walled impluvium, open at the roofline, draws light into the interior of the Gates Center. The buildings include seven atria and almost 21,000 square feet of interior glass. Read Less