In October, DALI started calling a new space home. After three years of squeezing 60+ people into Sudikoff 143, we were in desperate need of a larger, more well-equipped space. Brainstorming and space design officially began on July 21, 2015 with the creation of a designated Slack channel. The channel saw many exciting ideas, but from the beginning, the emphasis was on creating a space that would function both for work and play, with public and private spaces. The new lab, Sudikoff 007, just inside the basement entrance to Sudikoff, accomplished these goals. We are indebted to the Computer Science and the Dean of Faculty for their amazing support of our new space.
We began by asking DALI student members what they wanted in a new space. Students wanted to keep the colorful, fun, and homey atmosphere of the original lab. Warm lighting, writeable surfaces, standing desks, and hammocks were also on the top of the list. They also requested more quiet spaces to meet with partners and small work stations for group-work. In early meetings with the builders, these ideas were incorporated into the overall designs for an open-concept, modern, start-up like environment.
Central to the DALI experience is the sense of community and a culture of curiosity, exploration, and innovation. Now, with a larger lab space, we often have over 30 members coming into the lab to meet and work throughout the day.
Things you might find in the new lab:
- The smell of cookies baking in the toaster oven during TA help hours
- All of the white boards in use and covered with UI flows and user personas
- A student wearing a VR headset, fully engaged in a world nobody else can see
- Students sitting around the conference table (made of reclaimed bowling lane floor!) working, talking, and sharing ideas
- An ongoing poll of cold brew coffee favorites on the pillars that double as whiteboards
- A talented music major belting out Billy Joel from the piano
- Staff and core mentors gathered with a team around the kitchen bar or big screen during code and design reviews
- Someone turning flips on the gymnast rings
- An impromptu student-to-student tutoring session at the standing desks
- Students intent on a game of DALI-Hanabi or Dutch Blitz at the kitchen bar
- A project team showing their partner the latest features of their app on the big screen
- Students nestled into the bean bags, napping after an all-night study session, listening to a well-crafted playlist, or internetting.