Friday, July 12, 2013

Masdar Institute campus expansion opens

The second phase of the Masdar Institute campus has started operating, and my department, Computing and Information Sciences, moved in this past week. For us in CIS, that means no more weird smells and machinery sounds occasionally wafting and blaring in from the chemical labs adjacent to us in the old research building, although those did add to the "sciencey" atmosphere of the place.

The new campus still uses a lot of the old architectural styles; at least, that's way it looks from the outside. Most of the new buildings have the clay-coated wavy and air-padded screened facades of the residential and research buildings in the older part of campus. The new part of campus also seems much, much larger, with multiple courtyards.

The only new building style is represented in a couple of blocks that have facades that slope outwards on all sides. One of these blocks is literally hinged to the top of a set of pillars, which hold it over the swimming pools. Presumably, this design will make their smooth faces less likely to collect dust.

One major concession that has been made is the addition of a rather large car parking lot right in front of the new part of campus. For a few years now, access to the old campus was limited to shuttles, electric vehicles and self-piloting electric pod cars that ferried staff, faculty, students and visitors between the campus proper and the parking lots on the outskirts of the city. Now, private cars will be able to enter the city itself.

Everything is nice and fresh. Our new premises have wide corridors and a lot of meeting/common space, and (seemingly) better cooling.

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