UC San Diego made history Thursday, breaking ground on a transformational project that will become the hub for the campus’ design and innovation initiatives while also serving as an inviting new entrance for the community—inviting visitors to look deeper into one of the world’s top public research universities.
The 74,000-square-foot Design and Innovation Building is a collaborative facility that aims to encourage new ideas, products and services from students, faculty, alumni and industry partners. Specifically, the goal is to encourage more collaboration between Jacobs School of Engineering, Visual Arts, Cognitive Science, the Design Lab, Office of Innovation and Commercialization, Alumni Association, among other campus departments.
The building will be steps away from the new Pepper Canyon Station of the UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley extension. The Design and Innovation Building and adjacent new amphitheater, as well as the forthcoming Pepper Canyon West housing project, will showcase the dynamic, creative energy of UC San Diego.
“Today, we mark a critical part of our goal to strengthen our connection to the San Diego community,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla at the groundbreaking ceremony. “We are creating a preferred destination for students, patients and the greater community in order to realize our vision to be a student-centered, research-focused, service-oriented public university. We are looking forward to inviting the public to San Diego’s newest innovation and entertainment neighborhood—UC San Diego.”
DIB: a “Welcome Sign” to the San Diego region
DIB—as the building will be known—is designed to look open and permeable, with easy access between the interior and exterior. The multipurpose space adjacent to the Structural and Material Engineering (SME) building is expected to be completed in spring 2021, a few months prior to when the first riders will travel on the UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley extension. The facility will contain workshops and maker space studios with equipment and laser cutters to work with wood, foam and more. Riders of the trolley will be able to view creative works come to life through the building’s glass exterior.
On the ground floor of the building, will be a locally-owned restaurant with a broad appeal, similar to the popular Soda & Swine now open on campus. Visitors exiting the Pepper Canyon station will be able to dine at the new eatery, see live entertainment at the amphitheater and by 2023, drop in to see the Triton Pavilion, which will be a vibrant student center with office, retail and restaurant spaces.
Enriching innovation and the student experience
DIB will contain many general assignment classrooms, meaning that students from any major or discipline can have classes in the facility. The first floor will house The Basement, a university incubator and startup hub. As of today, The Basement has served 6,000 students, started 26 companies, created nearly 150 jobs and internships and raised $7.7M in venture capital.
“This building epitomizes our commitment to enriching the student experience,” said Elizabeth H. Simmons, Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs “Engaging with the faculty, entrepreneurs, and equipment available to them throughout the DIB, will enable our students to turn their creative ideas into thoughtfully-designed solutions for society’s urgent problems.”
DIB will be at the center of UC San Diego’s design initiatives, which are under the direction of Don Norman. Norman founded the campus’ Department of Cognitive Science before working at Apple where he applied design thinking—which can be described as making things that are intuitive to use, even if they’re not flashy or sleek.
Norman returned to UC San Diego in 2014 to lead the Design Lab which bridges disciplines to address societal problems emphasizing the role of people in the complex systems of the modern world.
Erik Mumm, a senior double-major in Urban Studies and Planning as well as Data Science, shared how this interdisciplinary approach to design and innovation has prepared him with the tools to address important societal issues.
Mumm who as an undergrad has worked for the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) in the Intelligent Transportation Systems department, was tapped by the Design Lab for his efforts to reduce congestion on the city’s streets.
“The Design Lab is a catalyst to interdisciplinary learning,” Mumm said. “Inside and outside the walls of the Design Lab, the silos defined by majors and by departments collapse. Instead, the lab focuses on thinking, on ideas, and on the power to identify and solve problems with innovative solutions. The Design Lab is large part of who I am today: A student leader, mobility thinker and agent for change.”
Visit the Design and Innovation Building website for more information.
Visit the Strategic Plan website for more information on UC San Diego’s transformation into a destination campus.