IDEA’s movable walls and shared spaces will encourage dialogue between students, entrepreneurs and teachers working in fields such as multimedia, robotics, rotorcraft and quantum engineering. Particularly striking is the façade, which is dominated by a huge laminated glass window treated with foil, which creates vibrant color shifts depending on where the spectators stand.
“Engineering brings together great brains – people from different backgrounds and perspectives who look at the same challenge in different ways – to work together on solutions that serve humanity. IDEA Factory will be the catalyst for this collaboration, ”said Clark School Dean Samuel Graham, Jr. “When the world is looking for a solution, it’s time for Maryland Engineering. We greatly appreciate our supporters for providing our students, teachers and staff with a new place to do top-notch work. ”
The building is named after Emil Fernandez ’69, a Maryland graduate of engineering, an entrepreneur and inventor who holds dozens of patents, including one that defined electronic reading devices and is the most cited U.S. patent ever issued. Many of these patents were invented together with his friend, business partner and colleague Terp Angel Bezos ’69. Their inventions and their company Pulse Electronics changed the operation of the railway. The investment in the cornerstone of the building came from the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation Building Together: Investing for Maryland in 2017.
Fernandez said he hoped the IDEA plant would accelerate the inclusive collaboration our company needs to meet its major challenges. “Today’s problems are complex and require interdisciplinary solutions,” he said. “We need to combine our specializations to develop our knowledge into products and services that help humanity.”
The new IDEA Factory is the latest addition to the vibrant UMD innovation ecosystem. It includes the UMD Discovery District, as well as the Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Engineering (2019), a center for technology, collaboration, and discovery; A. James Clark Hall (2017), designed to support the development of transformative engineering and biomedical technologies to improve human health; and Physical Sciences Complex (2013), created to provide ideal conditions for scientific collaboration, research and innovation with partners across campus and at local federal agencies such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NASA Goddard and the National Institutes of Health.