Envisioning a new data hub at UC Berkeley

University of California, Berkeley is making the fields of computing and data science foundational to its academic mission by bringing together data science, computer science, statistics, and the School of Information in a new Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS). brightspot, working with Ratcliff Architects, developed the vision, program, and initial planning for the division’s new home on campus, the Data Hub, that will foster connections across academic disciplines and broaden educational opportunities in order to meet society’s greatest challenges.

BrightSpot Strategy

“brightspot successfully engaged a complex stakeholder group for a new multidisciplinary building. They were able to quickly adapt their engagement to work remotely in the early days of the pandemic and keep the study moving forward, while providing a robust program model that continues to let us refine and develop the space program.”

Wendy Hillis, Campus Architect, UC Berkeley

With the goal of creating an iconic home for CDSS of more than 400,000 gross square feet, UC Berkeley engaged Ratcliff Architects and brightspot strategy in a visioning and programming process. In line with the Division’s goal of deeply engaging the entire campus in its mission, the programming team successfully managed a comprehensive, remote engagement successfully during the pandemic. A diverse group of representative stakeholders from every discipline and role were brought into a collaborative discussion to craft a shared vision for the new building, define the future experience for each of the building’s user groups, and develop a space program and design brief to identify parameters and strategies to guide the design team through subsequent phases of work.

brightspot crafted a vision and a set of guiding principles to guide the design team in the building development process, and identify the activities, goals, and needs of future Data Hub building users. In developing the program, brightspot explored multiple scenarios to find the right balance of spaces — between research and teaching, society and campus — to meet the division’s strategic goals. Future research will combine disciplines in unpredictable ways and the evolving nature of Berkeley’s innovative data science curriculum.

So, brightspot created a program focused on flexibility and collaboration for research and instructional spaces using a diverse palette of multi-purpose spaces. Since data science hub is an emerging but growing building type, brightspot developed a series of concepts for how to organize the building’s spaces by looking internally to Berkeley’s organizational relationships and externally through benchmarking relevant interdisciplinary buildings.

BrightSpot Strategy
BrightSpot Strategy