BY HOLLY HABER
ART AND TECHNOLOGY MERGE
IN AN INNOVATIVE NEW
STRUCTURE ON UTD’S CAMPUS.
om Linehan says he’s afraid to advertise the maverick
arts and technology degrees offered by the University of
Texas at Dallas. Since 2004, ATEC enrollment has more
than quadrupled to 1,140 students, and the stunning new
“We don’t advertise because I can’t handle the growth,” says the
director of the Institute for Interactive Arts and Engineering. “And
you gotta be smart to get in here.”
The $60-million facility is designed to nurture the artists, sound
designers, techies, and writers who come together to create video
games, online training systems, animated films, web content, and
other digital media. It shelters classes for bachelor’s, master’s and
doctoral degrees in arts and technology in addition to programs
for bachelor’s and master’s degrees in emerging media and
communications (EMAC), which teaches messaging across multiple
“This building brings together art and technology, which
share a common element, which is creativity—a process of making
something,” says David E. Daniel, president of the university and
an engineering Ph.D. “In science and engineering, our language
is mostly mathematics, which means it’s not for artists. It’s a great
chasm of communication, but the computer makes that go away.
It has math embedded in it, and it can generate all sorts of shapes.
Now artists have math in their toolbox without even thinking
Studios Architecture, the award-winning firm that designed
Google’s headquarters, created the quirky space in which right
angles are few and many traditions of academia have been discarded.
Hallways are rarely square, as walls are angled or curved—the better
to challenge students who are drawing perspectives or simply rattle
expectations and convention. Professors aren’t awarded offices
whose sizes reflects rank or even grouped by department. In fact,
From top: The 155,000-square-foot Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Bui-dling; a second-floor entrance to the lecture hall that doubles as a study; classroom, student labs, and conference rooms offer views along the perimeter; and a
second-story walkway connects two sides of the Building.