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Bill & Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex and Dell Computer Science Hall

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

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Project Name

Bill & Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex and Dell Computer Science Hall

Project Status


Year Completed



234,000 sq. feet


University of Texas at Austin

Certifications and Designations

Project Description


The Bill & Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex will bring together all programs, faculty and students of the Computer Science Department for the first time in the department’s history. Located in the center of campus, the complex consists of two buildings —Dell Computer Science Hall and a wing to the south —connected by an atrium.
The design of the complex emphasizes modern uses of materials found in the Spanish Mediterranean buildings at the core of the campus. Exterior walls will use the signature UT-​Austin mix of Texas brick laid in a stack bond or grid-​like pattern. Colorful soffits on the underside of roof overhangs will recall the painted wood soffits of older campus buildings. Large windows will give the complex a light, open appearance. This use of glass is contemporary in spirit while recalling Sutton Hall and other campus buildings by Paul Cret, the architect of many of UT Austin’s early structures.
The complex comprises two buildings connected by a large glass atrium; Dell Computer Science Hall is the north building. Materials such as cast limestone and Texas brick recall UT's Spanish Mediterranean-style architecture, while the use of glass adds a contemporary spirit. The bustling atrium is the social center of the complex with wide bridges crossing the space that includes inviting study lounges with links to outdoor terraces. Artwork was selected for the project as part of UT's public art program.
"The open design and spectacular light and architectural features of the Gates Dell Complex create an inspiring environment for computer science researchers, faculty, students and staff," stated Pat Clubb, Vice President for University Operations. "A building that engages the academic community to this degree can only be achieved with a world-class architect. Pelli Clarke Pelli's contemporary vision for this building and the architectural dialogue it creates is perfectly complemented by Sol LeWitt's Circle with Towers which the university erected in front of the new complex."
The complex contains nearly 24,000 square feet of instructional space and 20,000 square feet for research. Ten research clusters each have glass-walled laboratories surrounded by offices and discussion areas to share the excitement of research with students. The department is known for its work in cybersecurity, computer systems, artificial intelligence and robotics.
GDC is the second UT Austin building by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, which also designed the 1996 campus master plan. The firm has designed buildings and campuses for more than 40 higher education clients.

A walk-through of the atrium is available on YouTube:
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