Friday November 3, 2006
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Klaus Building opens its doors to students

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By Ethan Trewhitt / Student Publications

Faculty and administrators perform the ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the Klaus Advanced Computing Building.

By Vivas Kaul Contributing Writer

A lot of construction projects are going on around Tech and each has its own aura of mystery due in no small part to the rather broad names given to them. The first of these construction projects to be completed is the Christopher W. Klaus Advanced Computing Building. The Klaus Building was made possible through a private endowment by former Georgia Tech student and head of Internet Security Systems (ISS), Chris Klaus. Klaus donated $15 million to Tech for the construction which has made him one of the largest private donors in university history. The building, which sits close to the heart of campus, will house some of the most advanced technology on campus. It will also house many of the College of Computing's own faculty offices as well as research labs.

The building features many innovative design elements that set it apart from other buildings on campus, while at the same time drawing on some elements that are found in others. An example of this is a massive upgrade to the problem based learning rooms found in the Whitaker Building. The PBL rooms in Whitaker feature walls that can be written on in dry erase marker making them ideal for group projects and research.

The Klaus building features rooms like this while taking this one step further. Throughout the halls of the facility there are several writable walls. So many, in fact, that a typical student might be hard pressed to remember which ones can be marked on and which ones cannot.

The Klaus Building also features the use of environmentally friendly or 'green' materials. Many of the carpets in the halls and labs are recycled. In addition a lot of the wood paneling used in the building is made from bamboo rather than rainforest wood. The building also features a series of exterior reflectors which will make optimal use of natural lighting rather than having to depend on electrical lighting. In addition to this as more sunlight enters the building there are automatic dimmer switches that will dim the electric lighting so that less power is consumed. The lawn features a cistern which will pool rain water and water from the sprinklers so that it can be reused to continually irrigate the lawn. Thus conserving water and thereby also keeping costs low.

"These buildings are aimed toward the future, not the past. [The students] take that for granted. We talk about it like it's a big deal that there's a cistern. That's just the way things should be," said Manuel Cadrecha, the design principal for the Klaus Building.

However, the two biggest design elements are the Atrium and the Binary Walkway. The atrium features a series of slightly pulled-from-the-wall panels that improve the acoustics of the high ceiling room by dampening sounds and reducing echo. The atrium also features a wall of windows that looks out on to the lawn. The Binary Walkway connects the Klaus Building to the rest of the IT Campus and ECE buildings. The walkway gets its name from the frosted glass along the walkway which says, in binary code, Klaus Computing Building.

Classes will be held during the spring semester.