The UT System Board of Regents has approved construction of a 155,000-square-foot facility at UT Dallas that will house programs in visual arts, emerging media technology and multimedia communications, as well as a 1,200-seat auditorium.
Designed as a showcase to the visual arts and a highly adaptable technology hub for the Arts and Technology program, the $60 million building is slated for completion in 2013.
Dr. David E. Daniel, president of UT Dallas, said: “We are in a growth phase, and there has been a chokepoint for us in terms of new facilities. The building, with its 2,150 new classroom seats and 50 faculty offices, will aid our effort to meet our strategic growth goals.”
Dr. Calvin Jamison, senior vice president for business affairs, said, “Bar none, this is the most comprehensive team effort for a major project resulting in an extraordinary iconic building. The UT Dallas academic leadership, Business Affairs, Facilities, the UT System Office of Facilities Planning and Construction, and the architect all engaged in a complex process resulting in this achievement.”
Dr. Dennis Kratz, dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, described the building design as “seductive,” with open public spaces and window views along its perimeter.
“It’s a departure from the usual building layout with offices and classrooms surrounding the perimeter,” he said. “We wanted to move the offices to the center of the building and make the perimeter a showcase for our students’ work.”
Dr. Tom Linehan, head of the ATEC program and director of the Institute for Interactive Arts and Engineering at UT Dallas, said there was a real need for an open building design that could meet the demands of fast-changing technology.
“We did not want to construct a building around old technology,” Linehan said. “This building will help us address the changes in technology and help us fulfill our mission – while simultaneously showcasing our unique program.”
The Arts and Technology building will be near the center of campus, adjacent to the library and facing the newly renovated mall and reflecting pools. It will include an exterior courtyard next to the new auditorium. Inside features include classes for game design, visual arts, conference rooms, 2D drawing and painting art studios, 3D art studios, and photography and print-making labs, among others.
“This is such a well-designed, integrated and coherent building,” Kratz said. “With all of the room for exhibition space around the exterior, people walking by can be lured into visual arts exhibits and lots of exciting choices.”
The building’s design presented opportunities to find an architect who could accurately express the design concepts needed for the project. In the end, UT Dallas chose Studios Architecture – the same firm that designed Google Headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
Kratz said the ultimate goal was to create a building modeled similarly to a website with stunning visual appeal and access to many different choices.
“We told them we wanted the building to be an architectural representation of the values of the program,” Kratz said. “Moreover, we wanted it to be accessible to everyone.”
In that spirit, the building will have an exterior video screen showcasing ATEC projects and other visual arts.
Groundbreaking is slated for August 2011.