Creating an Innovation Ecosystem

University of Cincinnati, Terrex, & Messer Construction, Digital Futures

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Cincinnati, Ohio | 189,000 SF

Connection, Collaboration, and Creative Collisions Abound at UC’s Digital Futures.
First Floor Lobby Ground level amenities invite community members into Digital Futures while providing a space for them to mix with the building's researchers.

Born out of a partnership between University of Cincinnati (UC), Terrex Development & Construction, and Messer Construction, UC’s Digital Futures recognizes the best research is a result of collective effort. Bringing some of the university’s most future-forward research teams together with industry partners, Digital Futures overcomes institutional boundaries and facilitates intellectual cross-fertilization by displaying research in action.

Digital Futures Exterior Digital Futures' facade employs movement and thoughtful repetition to provoke moments of curiosity and wonder.
Glass-lined labs invite curiosity and exchange while letting natural light into the building's core.

Digital Futures recognizes the best research is a result of collective effort.

With exposed floors, ceilings, and expansive glass walls, the design creates a raw yet refined industrial backdrop—punctuated by vibrant insertions of color, art, graphics, and finishes that express a digital language in the material environment—to inspire the creativity of the building’s inhabitants.

Acting as a central hub for researchers, students, and members of the surrounding community, the ground floor is outfitted with a café where visitors can sip coffee while watching the activities of a neighboring high bay drone research space and a gallery to display ongoing research. It also contains classrooms, an auditorium, community meeting spaces, and co-working spaces to allow researchers and community members to connect, share ideas, and work in a variety of postures away from their desks.

Research Display Digital displays reveal research in action.

Upper floors also offer researchers spaces to support varied work modes while encouraging the kind of connection that will enrich disparate research projects. Grouped together in conceptual neighborhoods, research initiatives find their homes in labs that are arrayed along the building’s perimeter, but the building’s core draws people together again to share resources—VR studios, computer labs, workspaces, social spaces—and ideas.

While enabling research teams to flex into shared spaces, the labs themselves are highly adaptable to meet the changing needs of regularly rotating research initiatives. GBBN collaborated with Kieran Timberlake (Associate Architect for the exterior) on this project.

Upper Floor Break Room With humble materials that have been elevated through their detailing and compelling graphics, shared spaces bring researchers together to share ideas in an inspiring environment.