The Future is Here: University of Cincinnati’s Digital Futures Hosts Grand Opening


The University of Cincinnati (UC) recently welcomed students, faculty, community members, and leaders from across the state to a grand opening and open house of Digital Futures. Designed by GBBN (in collaboration with Associate Architect for the Exterior, Kieran Timberlake), Digital Futures is the university’s first dedicated, interdisciplinary research building. It will host some of UC’s most future-oriented researchers together with students, nonprofits, and industry partners to undertake research that addresses some of society’s most pressing problems.

Speaking at the ribbon cutting, Cincinnati Mayor, Aftab Pureval, underscored the significance of this development for the whole city. “Bringing our top minds together in this world-class facility will be an important catalyst for cutting-edge projects that can make a transformative impact on our community. As our Innovation District continues its exciting expansion, our city is thrilled by the opportunity Digital Futures will provide.”

UC Vice President of Research, Patrick Limbach, stressed the significance of the building. “This space is absolutely amazing, and there’s so many people to thank for that,” Patrick said. “I want to give a shoutout to the partners, our partners at Terrex and Messer, and especially GBBN… (Our partners) really made this building what it is. And I can tell you as someone who is a researcher, who has a lab on-campus, this is nothing that we have on-campus.”

According to GBBN Director of Higher Education, Zachary Zettler, part of what distinguishes the building is the way it brings disparate researchers together. “You can’t just bring people into an open space and assume that is enough to generate creative, new ideas,” he said. “What Digital Futures does is carefully craft public and private spaces, shared resources and places for focused work, so researchers are drawn out of their labs and find each other at the right times, when they’re open to connecting with others.”

GBBN Director of Commercial & Workplace, Chad Burke, adds that the significance of the building goes beyond UC’s Digital Futures itself. “This is part of a whole complex. Digital Futures’ immediate neighbor that is currently under construction will be the home to some of the most innovative industry partners in the region. They will share spaces inside and outside of Digital Futures— the pocket park between the two, the public plaza, the Café in Digital Futures—so the whole development will really be a home for innovation in Cincinnati.”