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University-Industry Engagement Advisor

Georgia Tech’s new ‘Coda’ building designed to foster collaboration, showcase research


By David Schwartz
Published: March 19th, 2019

Georgia Tech’s Technology Square has already been hailed as an outstanding example of a growing innovation ecosystem. But its newest building – called Coda – is a physical manifestation of its desire to create collisions between university faculty, students, corporations, and other collaborators.

Coda is a shimmering glass L with wings running north and west that its lead designer describes as outstretched arms embracing the whole of Technology Square. The 21 stories feature a grand piazza through its center where a food hall and outdoor furniture will beckon students, faculty and tech company workers to mingle. It also features a mini-soccer pitch on the roof, and a spiral staircase that links to the building’s “Collaboration Core” — a series of six three-story vertical atriums connecting the wings – which is said to be the longest continuous helical staircase in the world.

Jack Portman, chairman and CEO of John Portman & Associates, and Luca Maffey, a vice president and design director of the Coda project, recently discussed the tower and why it’s so important to Georgia Tech’s industry engagement efforts.

“Tech came to the conclusion that people — they’re not like these wild scientists of the 1920s that go into a dark room and come up with great ideas; ideas are spawned by interaction with other people having ideas. It’s a laboratory for creation and expanding ideas,” Portman says.

Adds Maffey: “You can break boundaries between people. We’re talking about students with crazy ideas who probably don’t even know how to talk about them, and then CEOs who are thirsty for ideas and they want to make new businesses. The only ways to make these two worlds come together is food, games and maybe sports.”

In addition to creating a collaboration-friendly space, “one of the ideas in the design brief was that Georgia Tech would use Coda as a showcase for all the technologies they’re coming up with at the college,” Massey continues. “Georgia Tech knows how to publicize their technology to capture the attention of industry. Level 2 of Coda, where we have what I call the panoply, we have a terrace over the piazza. It’s a whole space for Georgia Tech dedicated to showcasing their product.”

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

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