UC San Diego’s Structural and Materials Engineering (SME) building fosters a collaborative culture by design.

Structural engineers, nanoengineers, medical device researchers, and visual artists share the multidisciplinary facility, which opened at the Jacobs School of Engineering in 2012. With art studios on all four floors, art exhibition areas, indoor-outdoor performance space, and common meeting areas, the state-funded, 183,000-square-foot structure bridges the arts and sciences and connects disparate engineering disciplines.

The new Structural and Materials Engineering building.

The SME building addresses multiple societal needs. Research laboratories, visual arts studios, and visualization facilities are among the building’s shared resources that encourage people working at different scales and in different fields to interact. From 3-D printing of blood vessels to safer heart pumps for ailing children, from making bridges and buildings safer during an earthquake to developing a unique laboratory for advanced composite aircraft safety, transformative projects are already under way.

UC San Diego’s continued growth in numerous departments and disciplines has created the need for additional physical space, and the SME building answers that need. It provides a permanent home for the Departments of NanoEngineering and Structural Engineering, required lab space for the Institute of Engineering in Medicine, and more studio space for the Department of Visual Arts. By housing all of these seemingly disparate groups of academics and artists, the SME building exemplifies the interdisciplinary and innovative character of the UC San Diego campus.

Visionary design principles are also at work in CAVE-CAD (computer-aided design), a software program that monitors human neurological and physiological responses to make architectural design more efficient. Researchers at the UC San Diego division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) developed CAVE-CAD and its accompanying hardware in 2011. More >>>