Center for the Sciences & Innovation (CSI)

, Trinity University

San Antonio, TX

Main entrance exterior
The Cube Garage Doors
The Cube
Casual seating
Study spaces

Trailblazing professors inspired Trinity University to strengthen its reputation as a premier institution in STEM disciplines and embark on the largest project in its history — a building dedicated to engineering, science, and the entrepreneurial spirit. Big ideas happen here.

Built in three phases, the new Center for the Sciences and Innovation (CSI) complex provides research and teaching labs with technology access for eight departments, creating collisions of ideas and encouraging teamwork.

Taking a mixing-bowl approach, strategic adjacencies connect neighborhoods of classrooms, laboratories, and offices. Biology and chemistry students spark interdisciplinary conversations as they settle into collaboration spaces. This popular new hub provides unique learning environments, including “the Cube,” a creative makerspace that supports Trinity’s interdisciplinary program in entrepreneurialism. Light-filled, high bay ceilings promote flexibility. Moveable learning “pods” allow classes to break into smaller groups or transition for large-class instruction. Impressive glass garage doors open to the outside, so STEM innovation spills out and inspires passersby.

With RVK Architecture of San Antonio, EYP’s design responds to the existing campus’ landscape and architecture, San Antonio’s heritage of Spanish missions, and the region’s natural resources. The local sedimentary rock and its role in retaining the life-sustaining Edwards aquifer are at the heart of the design. The entry courtyard leads to an interior three-story limestone wall, which is porous so you can glimpse teaching, research, science, and engineering. The campus’ signature hand-laid “Trinity red” brick, selected by O’Neil Ford, the campus’ first architect and designer, respects Trinity’s legacy.


  1. Feature 1:

    Designed to help manage stormwater runoff, the bioswale features live oaks and native plants.

  2. Feature 2:

    A green roof is one of several features that make the building a living lab for sustainability.

  3. Feature 3:

    Energy-saving design strategies earned Trinity a $1.3M rebate from the local utility.

Building Facts

  • 155,000 GSF new
  • 85,000 GSF modernization
  • LEED Gold certified
  • 43 research labs
  • 24 teaching labs
  • Innovation lab/makerspace
  • Outdoor classroom
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Sciences
  • Engineering Science
  • Psychology

Protecting the Environment

41 live oak trees were recycled into benches and tables.
100 % of the building uses graywater for flushing toilets.
1,500 tons of waste were recycled and diverted from the landfill.
Trinity University

When Green Equals Green

When it came time to design Trinity’s Center for the Sciences and Innovation (CSI), who better to collaborate with than the scientists who would be inhabiting the space and the University’s sustainability experts who would be maintaining it? It took this team of experts coming together to create a rooftop utopia that has been awarded an SA Tomorrow Sustainability Award from the City of San Antonio’s Office of Sustainability.

See the Award Writeup

In the Driver’s Seat

Students thought their new STEM building needed a cool tour guide…so they built one. CSIborg gives visitors an unforgettable welcome to Trinity’s culture of creativity.

Liberating Potential to Transform Human Experience

Inspired and empowered by innovative spaces like “the Cube,” undergraduates collaborate with peers and faculty on projects that address real-world issues like diabetes and pediatric health, aging in place, or cross-cultural communication.

The architects collaborated and pushed us to think beyond our wildest dreams, and the result is this award-worthy facility that has transformed the way we think about our educational mission and demonstrates who we are.

David Ribble Professor of Biology, Trinity University

STEM Magnet

Designed as a "crucible for ideas," CSI has raised Trinity’s profile among liberal arts institutions; helped increase enrollment in STEM fields; and become the go-to place for students from all disciplines.

Living Lab

Trinity's investment in energy efficiency and sustainability earned it a Texas-sized ROI in the form of a $1.3M rebate from San Antonio's public utility.