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HOK to Design New Computer Science Building for USC

LOS ANGELES, CA — HOK is designing a computer science building for the University of Southern California on its University Park Campus near downtown Los Angeles. As the result of a gift from Dr. Allen and Charlotte Ginsburg, the university is able to build a 102,000-square-foot home for the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, Department of Computer Science with a planned opening in 2023.

“This unique facility will be the center of USC-wide human-centric computing,” said USC Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos. “In an environment and a period of time where new ideas, breakthroughs, and innovation can only be nucleated by in-person, ‘human collisions,’ the new facility will be a true incubator of exceptional technologies to help solve global challenges. In synergy with the adjacent buildings of the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience and the Ray Irani Hall for Molecular and Computational Biology, the convergence of computing with biological and biomedical science and engineering will provide the ideal trifecta that advances the solution of challenging biomedical and biological problems for the benefit of humanity.”

To support USC’s commitment to sustainability, health, and well-being, HOK is designing the building for LEED Platinum certification — the highest level — from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The goal is for the new building to serve as a transitional sustainable prototype that will inform the design and construction of USC campus facilities in the future.

The project will satisfy the current needs of the Department of Computer Science to consolidate its talent in one central location while adding space for expanding future multidisciplinary research. With the increased importance of harnessing computing power to solve society’s critical needs, the department is experiencing rapid growth. It now includes more than 90 faculty members, 360 doctoral students, 2,000 master’s students, and 1,200 undergraduates. The new facility will also help USC attract the most talented researchers, faculty members, and students.

HOK’s design provides modern computational laboratories, core facilities, offices, meeting rooms, and open spaces that promote collaboration among students, researchers, faculty members, and visitors. Labs will be flexible to easily accommodate reconfigurations as USC’s needs change over time. A lower-level auditorium will host events for the entire Viterbi School of Engineering.

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The idea of “putting science on display” permeates the design. HOK’s plan for the work and social spaces produces serendipitous encounters, allowing science to spill out into the corridors and throughout the building. The open plan and glass walls maximize transparency and integration among labs, offices, and public spaces. Branding includes high-tech displays and science-inspired artwork.

“We want to enable people to experience science and engineering in action and reinforce USC’s identity as an open, forward-thinking university,” said Anne Fletcher, Managing Principal in HOK’s Los Angeles studio.

The design creates a living lab for sustainability. Designed to showcase its green technologies, the building will help bring to the public an awareness about the importance of sustainability. Its mission is to educate and inform all occupants and visitors about how it contributes to USC’s 2028 Sustainability Plan.

“Students will be able to interact with the building systems and the surrounding natural environment,” said Enrique Ceniceros, HOK’s Regional Leader of Science + Technology.

HOK is providing programming, architecture, interiors, laboratory planning, and sustainable design services. HOK previously designed the adjacent 190,000-square-foot Michelson Hall research facility, which opened in 2017 and houses USC’s Center for Convergent Bioscience.

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