William Gates Computer Science Building
Palo Alto, California, 1996
Located on Serra Street, the principal cross axis of the Stanford University campus, the 141,000 GSF Gates Computer science building at once unifies the University's geographically-scattered computer research groups under a single roof and serves as an important first step in a long-term plan to redevelop the University's Near West Campus from an existing, expediently conceived and largely unplanned grouping of utilitarian buildings into a system of academic quadrangles and walkways which extend the pattern established by the University's original campus plan of 1884. At the intersection of Serra Street and the North South Axis, the building's two principal entrances reflect a basic division in its internal program. Facing south and opening onto Serra Street the building's triple height arched main entrance leads to a lobby with stairs and elevators. Facing east, an open loggia provides the building's second entrance from which stairs lead down to a lower level where three, sloped-floor auditoria and a variety of flat-floored classrooms are located as well as a 5,000 NSF, state-of-the-art computer room.
The building's ground floor houses the robotics research group consisting of a cluster of faculty and student offices around a centrally located robotics lab. The second, third and fourth floors of the building house the combined facilities of the Computer Systems Lab (CSL), Knowledge Systems Lab (KSL), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Group. These three groups consist of faculty and student offices around the building's perimeter surrounding shared meeting, laboratory and technical support spaces within the building's linear core. On the second, third and fourth floors, respectively, the double height computer science library, a second student/faculty lounge and a south facing meeting room and terrace introduce Department-wide activities to each floor and foster serendipitous communication among the Department's diverse research groups.
The massing and detailing of the Gates Building reflects Stanford's Memorial Quadrangle. Warm, buff limestone walls, deeply recessed windows and low-pitched, clay tile roofs continue the traditional pattern of building at Stanford. Operable steel industrial windows allow for ventilation on a comfortable, even intimate scale.