New Construction

Clark University Breaks Ground on Multidisciplinary Academic Building

Clark University in Worcester, Mass., recently broke ground on a new academic building that will allow for collaboration across disciplines, according to a press release. The new Center for Media Arts, Computing and Design will house the university’s Becker School of Design & Technology, the Department of Computer Science and programs from the Department of Visual and Performing Arts.

The 70,000-square-foot building will stand four stories and is scheduled to open in fall 2023. It will include amenities like a multi-floored tiered classroom, a robotics lab, a multimedia gallery, a data science lab, classrooms and collaboration spaces, and a video game library to research interactive media, according to the news release. Its layout will create a new academic quadrangle on the campus, and floor-to-ceiling windows will overlook the new greenery and allow natural light into the space.

“When we think about our facilities, and especially our new buildings, we don’t just think about containers of activity but rather purpose-built spaces that encourage collaboration, convening, cooperation and even collisions—that is, chance encounters of people from different disciplines, departments and different ways of thinking,” said Clark University President David B. Fithian at the groundbreaking ceremony. “The building soon to come out of the ground behind me will have many of just those types of spaces. It will bring together different departments and programs with evident synergies but also the potential for new creative instigations and alchemy.”

The news release notes that the university will pursue a LEED Gold certification for the building’s construction and operation. Its primary source of heating and cooling will be geothermal energy.

“[T]o truly practice and embody interdisciplinarity, we have to not only evolve our curriculum but also reconfigure the spaces within which we do that work,” said Betsy Huang, associate provost and dean of the college. “The ideals of interdisciplinarity and the core values of our liberal education are baked into this building and this center’s structural DNA. We all know the sparks that happen when we put people of great creativity, intellect and decency in the same space, working side by side, learning from each other, building trust and community, breathing the same air and feeling the life of the different and the new.”

Clark University is partnering with Ayers Saint Gross for the building’s design and Shawmut Design and Construction for construction.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].