The Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Maryland (UMD) represents a new type of STEM anchor for an academic campus. Part institute, part innovation center, part student commons, it houses both the Department of Computer Science and the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS).

Located at the University’s main entrance, the Iribe Center is the bridge between traditional academy in one direction and the economic development engine of the city of College Park’s Discovery District in the other. The two main components of the building — a six-story instructional and research space, and a 300-person auditorium — are joined by a connector space creating a thoughtful academic research center.

With its curved-glass exterior and six stories cantilevered over a large ground-floor plaza, the new building provides both outward and inward connections to the College Park campus. Designed to be open and welcoming to students across campus, the Iribe Center provides environments that fuel curiosity and give space for reflection and relationship-building.

Unlike any other building on campus, the Brendan Iribe Center is a new “front door” that pronounces UMD’s commitment to being the premier technology hub for the region. The building projects an image of technological advancement on a campus that is deeply rooted in classical neo-Georgian architectural tradition. The designers intentionally removed the Maryland brick façade that characterizes the other buildings on campus but left the highly ordered structural grid beneath, peeling the skin off the building to reveal the buzz of activity inside. The Maryland brick is brought back as an anchor, grounding the building as a main feature of the first floor exterior and wrapping the sculptural form of the Antonov Auditorium. The organic form of the auditorium was inspired by the concept of a pebble in the water and seamlessly integrated with the circulation, topography, and environment of the campus.

The Brendan Iribe Center was recognized with an Award of Merit in the 2019 AIA Virginia Design Awards program.

About the project team

Project Name: The Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Engineering (College Park, Md.)

Owner: University of Maryland

Firm Name: HDR Architecture, Inc.

Contractor: Whiting-Turner Contracting Company

Photographer: Dan Schwalm | HDR

Content provided by HDR Architecture, Inc.