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A Behind-the-Fence Tour of the E.A. Fernandez IDEA Factory

New Engineering Building Full of Design Features Unique to Campus

By Maryland Today Staff

Idea factory underconstruction photo

Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle

As the E.A. Fernandez IDEA Factory nears the final stages of construction, a Clark Construction employee and UMD alum offers an inside look at the facility in a new video.

Join Maya Lieber ’16, assistant superintendent for Clark Construction and an A. James Clark School of Engineering civil and environmental engineering graduate, as she leads a detailed video tour of the new E.A. Fernandez IDEA (Innovate, Design and Engineer for America) Factory, due to be dedicated in early 2022.

With construction nearing the final stages, stops include the building’s unique façade, dominated by an enormous window coated in dichroic film that changes colors based on where the viewer stands; a monumental staircase that leads to the second-level café and a wide-open lab on level three that will be home to the Maryland Robotics Center; the basement with a massive 3.5-foot-thick concrete slab floor to minimize vibration for delicate optical experiments in the new Quantum Technology Center there; and a double-high fourth-floor lab—complete with a crane that can haul heavy equipment up from ground level—dedicated to the Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center.

The ground floor will also be home to Startup Shell, the student-run coworking space and business incubator. Every design element for the 60,000-square-foot addition to the Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building is intended to help the IDEA Factory live up to its name, senior project manager Ryan Knox tells Lieber. “It’s really going to be designed to spark innovation among students, driving the collision of ideas between engineering disciplines.”

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