Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tech Garden Springs to Life

The Technology Garden has come a long way in a short time. When we moved into Bren Hall in the Spring, every time I went by Office 5054, now the site of the Garden, I had an irrepressible urge to see what was then an empty office, filled with plants. That’s how the project got started.

The Garden office is well situated – at the end of a line of sight in a main corridor on the fifth floor of our beautiful new building, the Donald Bren Hall of Information and Computer Sciences. The office has a pretty window and good light. I pass by 5054 on the way to my own office probably a dozen times a day as I walk around the fifth floor. Thank you David Redmiles, our Department Chair, for seeing the potential to use this office as a community space.

Through one of those gifts from the gods, the talented and creative Charlotte Lee agreed to collaborate on the project. Charlotte has contributed more than I can possibly say, but her blog posts indicate the nature of her resourcefulness, thoughtfulness, and organizational prowess. She is working closely with one of our best undergraduate students, Bryant Hornick, on the software to support the project. I will always have a fond memory of going plant shopping with Charlotte ;)

Silvia Lindtner provided important inspiration as we were designing the project, as did Don Patterson, Bill Tomlinson, Shadi Shariat, Beverly Andrews, Miryha Gould, Eric Kabisch, Jim Doyle, and Marcel Blonk. We hope to fold in further contributions from all as the project proceeds. One of the things I like about the Garden is that its development has been effortlessly interdisciplinary – we have expertise in social science, computer science, the arts, media, facilities, and environmental psychology -- not to mention plants!

Our Dean, Debra Richardson, has provided crucial support and we appreciate the way she views the building as a living space to be worked with and shaped through human activity and creativity.

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