E.A. Fernandez IDEA (Innovate, Design and Engineer for America) Factory

, University of Maryland

College Park, MD

Exterior
Interior Common Space
exterior
Interior staircase
Exterior lawn and staircase

Ready to expand the boundaries of innovation, entrepreneurship, and world class research, The A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland sought a facility that was “unconventional in every way.”

Pushing the limits of what’s possible, the EYP 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 Factory, the building’s 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 ALE x Garage innovation workspace, or developing next-generation apps in the Startup Shell, an incubator for student-run startups. The Shell already has generated over 60 ventures, valuing $20 million and growing.

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.

And 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 biomimicry in the Robotics Realization Lab.

Tucked away below ground is the Quantum Technology Center, hosting sensitive equipment harnessing the power of the very small. Students and researchers focus on translating quantum physics into real-world technologies.

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

Building Facts

  • State-of-the-Art Laboratories, Workshops, and Collaboration Spaces
  • Robotics Realization Lab
  • ALEX Garage (IDEA Factory Design Studio)
  • Quantum Technology Center Lab
  • Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center
  • Design-Build
  • 60,000 GSF

Drone Footage: Fly Through the E.A. Fernandez IDEA Factory

Designed around the concept of “defying gravity,” tradition is flipped with the five-story building’s solid upper floors emerging above the lighter, mostly glass base.

The IDEA Factory is a spectacular addition to UMD’s robust and growing innovation ecosystem. Its world-class facilities for education, innovation, research and product development in robotics, quantum, engineering, transportation and manufacturing will be transformative.

Darryll J. Pines University President