Campus & community, Campus news, Events at Berkeley, Research, Technology & engineering

Grand opening for Jacobs Hall, the new hub for all things design

First public view of the new building that houses the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, where students will be immersed in hands-on, human-centered design.

Will Huang shows augmented reality glasses to Ian Randles
Weiijia (Will) Huang of the Virtual Reality Club shows sixth grader Ian Randles how to use augmented reality glasses.

With the ritual gold and blue balloons and ribbon-cutting, UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering threw open the doors of Jacobs Hall on Thursday. The new building is the headquarters of the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, launched to immerse students in hands-on, human-centered design.

A post-ceremony open house Thursday showed off a modern building full of studios and makerspaces for classes and projects in digital design, prototyping, fabrication and manufacturing. Photographers Nicholas R. Chen,  Hulda Nelson and Noah Berger caught the event in photos. (Read more after the slideshow.)

Class instruction – including curriculum created just for Jacobs Hall – will start in the new building Sept. 14. During the fall semester, 16 courses will be offered in Jacobs Hall, including:

  • A “How It’s Made” freshman seminar
  • The Challenge Lab, in which student teams compete to create innovative products serving a social cause
  • A class in user interface design, expanded from 100 to 220 students

Among the fall 2015 offerings are five brand-new courses launched by the Jacobs Institute to make use of the new space and equipment in Jacobs Hall, including a suite of three classes that provide incoming undergraduates with a roadmap in design innovation. More information about Jacobs Institute courses can be found online.

Each semester, as many as 800 students will take classes or participate in other activities in Jacobs Hall.

The 24,000-square-foot building was constructed at a cost of $25 million, funded by philanthropy. The ribbon-cutting ceremony featured speeches by Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, engineering Dean Shankar Sastry, Jacobs Institute faculty director David Dornfeld and Paul Jacobs, executive chairman of Qualcomm.

Inside Jacobs Hall, a visitor tried out the energy-generating rocking chair. (Video by Hulda Nelson)