University of Maryland – E.A. Fernandez IDEA Factory

The University of Maryland’s The IDEA Factory in College Park features a unique design by Page with a floating research space above student innovation areas, promoting entrepreneurship and collaboration in engineering education.

  • area / size 60,000 sqft
  • Completed 2022
  • Pushing the limits of what’s possible, the team designed a building that defies gravity — floating a solid box of flexible research space above two glass levels of student innovation and collaboration spaces.

    Dubbed the IDEA (Innovate, Design and Engineer for America) Factory, the street level invites onlookers to peer inside and see the energy of entrepreneurship at the heart of the Clark School’s reputation. You’ll find undergraduates sharing tools in the Rapid Prototyping Lab, preparing for design competitions in the “ALEx Garage” innovation workspace, or working on next generation apps in the Startup Shell, an incubator for student-run startups.

    Then the second floor, sheathed in glass, encourages students, faculty and staff to grab a bite of the best food on campus while exchanging thoughts in collaboration areas and conference rooms. Great ideas often emerge after faculty lunch-time presentations and create buzz in this social hub for the engineering school. Floating above these inviting spaces, the box of research labs allows walls to be reconfigured in a snap, providing the University unprecedented ease in adapting to research demands. Home to the Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center, drones zoom by, and students explore bio mimicry in the Robotics Realization Lab. Tucked away below ground is the Quantum Technology Center, hosting sensitive equipment harnessing the power of the very small.

    Combined, the IDEA Factory is a place of curiosity, energy and exploration, educating 21st-century engineering leaders.

    Design: Page
    Contractor: Clark Construction
    Photography: Halkin | Mason Photography