Yale Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking / 2020

ArchitectWeiss Manfredi

The 12,200-square-foot Center for Innovative Thinking establishes a beacon for university wide interdisciplinary collaboration. The center brings students from diverse disciplines together to create innovative solutions to real world problems. The program, unique to the university, is based around team workshops that allow students to bring their ideas to fruition.
The building’s unique, elliptical form is centrally positioned in a courtyard of stepped orthogonal structures. Curved transparent glass walls encourage circulation through and around the center and allow the rest of the university to see and participate in ongoing work. Indoor and outdoor connections between the center and the adjacent landscape will establish this section of the campus as a new circulation route and a new home for innovation.
Within the center, continuous sightlines throughout unite spaces of creation and critique, encouraging interdisciplinary discourse. The open studio, conference and breakout spaces create opportunities for spontaneous discussion and provide a link between public areas and adjacent instructional spaces.
In keeping with Yale’s commitment to sustainability, the project will replace the current underused paved plaza with a new planted garden, significantly reducing storm runoff and encouraging activity year-round. The building and the plaza renovation are currently on track for LEED gold certification.
The combination of connectivity, sustainability and new collaborative spaces will transform the existing plaza and establish the Center for Innovative Thinking as a new interdisciplinary learning environment that cultivates innovators, leaders, creators, and entrepreneurs in all fields and for all sectors of society.