September 21, 2015
Walk into Rice Hall and you’ll immediately see what’s what. From its window-lined hallways, you’ll see students poring over textbooks in lounges, collaborating on projects in conference rooms, and testing next-generation computer chips in labs. The extensive use of glass inside and out makes all this activity immediately visible and creates a sense of a community focused on learning and creating. This information technology engineering building funded by Paul Rice (Engineering ’75) and his wife, Gina, buzzes with energy.
Perhaps the space with the most activity is the Lacy Design Studio, furnished with support from Linwood A. “Chip” Lacy, Jr. (Engineering ’67, Darden ’69). This rapidly reconfigurable classroom and lab is equipped with 3D printers, an electronics workstation, and a variety of tools and materials—like foam and a die cutter for 2D prototyping—that students use to manufacture parts for their projects.It is used for first-year design seminars, design competitions, and even receptions. Student “super-users” have 24-hour access.
“All through the year, late into the night, you can look through the studio’s transparent interior wall and see students hard at work, learning how to make things,” said George Cahan, the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s associate dean for undergraduate programs. “You can see what they are feeling—just how exciting engineering can be.”