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Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale University

Continuous sightlines unite spaces of creation and critique, encouraging interdisciplinary discourse.

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 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 establish this section of the campus as a new circulation route and a new home for innovation.

Within the Center, continuous sightlines unite spaces of creation and critique, encouraging interdisciplinary discourse. The open studio, conference, and breakout spaces engender 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 replaces the current underused paved plaza with a new planted garden, significantly reducing stormwater 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 transforms the existing campus courtyard, and establishes the Center for Innovative Thinking and its plaza as a new interdisciplinary learning environment that cultivates innovators, leaders, creators, and entrepreneurs in all fields. 

The building's elliptical form is centrally positioned amidst a block of orthogonal structures.

Magritte-inspired conceptual sketch

Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale on the Cover of Architectural Record