Creating Innovation Spaces for University Students

Focus Area Higher Ed

Students converse under the roof overhang of a large multi-story glass university building.

Expanding the next generation of scientific, research and technology talent

We have been living in an accelerated and highly competitive global innovation economy for decades, with no end in sight.  Page has been front and center in shaping facilities to support the needs of that economy - to empower students to enter into it at the highest levels and to provide established researchers with the tools and support to continue to innovate successfully. Page continues to lead in this industry, working with thought leaders in academia to design and build spaces that work at every level – sustainably, economically and competitively.

Space requirements to support innovation are diverse, but they share some common attributes:

  • support rapidly changing technology
  • foster collaboration across disciplines
  • recognize and support convergence in the sciences
  • responsibly apply institutional investments to achieve clear goals

The need for highly educated and skilled individuals to continue to drive this innovation economy has been repeatedly demonstrated, and academic institutions are motivated to fulfill this. We serve as a trusted institutional partner to program, design and build educational facilities that support innovation at regional and national levels.


  • Academic
  • Building Sciences
  • Commissioning
  • Engineering
  • Interiors
  • Lab Design / Planning
  • Strategies / Analytics
  • Science / Technology

Academic / public research / private industry collaborations

At Page, we play a significant role in the planning and design of public-private partnership projects and have extensive experience in academic and research components. We design workforce training spaces for federal, educational and private industry clients that enhance effective learning and collaboration. Projects can range in scale from planning and test-fit studies to full architecture, engineering design, project management and delivery.

Montage of building types

Giving students what they want

On a functional level, connectivity and collaboration components are extremely important to students. They want the flexibility to stay all day (or night) and need power and USB outlets in multiple locations so they can congregate, whether to study or socialize. Page designers take every opportunity to create informal, flexible spaces that enable students to benefit at any time.

Student collaboration spaces include whiteboard walls and power outlets.
Nick Merrick © Hall + Merrick

Resilience and sustainability also are significant aspects of our design work. We believe in a future where buildings stand the test of time, create more energy than they use, make people healthier and are positive contributors in their communities and environments. These elements are high on students’ lists of priorities in choosing their academic home, so universities offering these can benefit from the perspective of both recruiting and facility management.

Ingenuity applied

Fort Bend County is one of the fastest-growing in the United States and the University of Houston-Sugar Land wanted to support regional tech employers’ needs with Tier One-educated graduates. Its new College of Technology required a campus expansion and supporting infrastructure. Page created a science-based institute of learning through an extensive value chain of services from architectural design to structural and civil engineering, interiors, A/V technology and landscape architecture.

Glass door to an interior office stands open in a hallway. The college's red logo with the phrase
© Thomas McConnell

The resulting facility was designed with several rectangular volumes that extend beyond their first story bases, increasing interior space on a fixed footprint and creating a multilevel central courtyard that includes shaded recesses. A rooftop greenhouse / research space and efficient solar management techniques improve the College’s building energy performance. Inside, classroom space is supplemented with flexible research labs and materials testing and fabrication spaces.

The exterior of the glass and brick College of Technology at dusk.
© Thomas McConnell

Expanding participation in the innovation community

The University of Texas at Arlington Science and Engineering Innovation and Research Building is a collaborative, team-based learning and discovery space designed to provide significant support in filling workforce and research needs. Designed in collaboration with ZGF Architects, the glass interior walls make activities in the collaborative lab spaces transparent to the university community, particularly to first-year students, promoting interest in and conversation about the research.

Dual images of glassed in research and study spaces.
Nick Merrick © Hall + Merrick
Student working on laptop in the glass anteroom of a research lab.
Nick Merrick © Hall + Merrick

The Arlington Walk, a primary pathway into campus is another aspect of this purposeful expansion of the science community. Its southern entry point is through the SEIR Building, providing views of glass-front laboratories to one side and classrooms on the other. Collaboration spaces are in the hallway adjacent to the exterior glass. These glimpses of activity allow the greater campus community to connect with the energy of research and innovation happening on the campus.

Map of the building's location on campus
© Page

Organizing an integrated multidisciplinary research facility

The first new academic building at the University of Massachusetts-Boston in nearly forty years was a collaborative effort between Page’s lab planning team and our architectural partners Goody Clancy Associates. The new Integrated Sciences Complex (ISC) was mandated to transform a very traditional department-centric system into a more nimble cross-disciplinary research center. The design allows for far more connectivity between labs and more possibilities for research programs that cross departmental boundaries.

Students in collaborative open space outside glassed-in classroom
© Robert Benson
Multipurpose classroom space that allows students to research, collaborate or focus.
© Robert Benson

Instructional spaces embody the goals of the ISC very clearly, broadening the science community and encouraging multi-disciplinary approaches. Although primarily a research-oriented building, it was important to expose undergraduates, especially freshmen, to that community. Opening to the large central atrium is a cross-disciplinary “sandbox” lab designed to accommodate any science but available only for courses and projects that utilize faculty from multiple departments.

Diverse types of spaces that foster innovation, collaboration and adaptability over time

Page is involved in science – both big and small. Our academic science projects range from large multidisciplinary science research and teaching facilities to small but vital renovations. Because of the nature of science today – we are truly living in a time of scientific convergence – to be expert in any type of science space one has to be expert in all of them. We are.

The open stairwell and open ground floor with various seating options supports spontaneous engagement.
© Thomas McConnell

Learning spaces:  It is essential that teaching spaces today enable collaborative team-based learning in a flexible proven format. All of our academic facility designs include flexible spaces that anticipate reconfiguration and smart growth.

Cost-effective outdoor gathering spaces: Planned and landscaped sites can be utilized for assemblies, industry and community events or special student activities.  Outdoor learning has proven to be a very effective adjunct to traditional indoor spaces for multiple disciplines.

Industry partnership spaces: Much of academic science is supported through industry partners.  Such spaces can be used to display equipment, host educational events and bridge the gap between students and working professionals.

Laboratories: These expensive resources are the backbone to many science facilities but have evolved to be are smart utility solutions that support complex instrumentation and equipment with reliable, economical and flexible systems.

Transparency and circulation: There is a consensus in the research community that encouraging people to cross paths usually results in good things in science. Transparency and carefully designed circulation can be useful tools to achieve “creative collisions”.

The evidence is in the numbers



Tools, processes and people all contribute to our success

Hispanic male in a jacket and button-down

“Collaboration on the 3D portion of the UT Arlington SEIR Building project with all the third-party team members was done through BIM 360 Glue. Seeing the Revit design models come together and the building come into fruition virtually was fulfilling.”

Chris Luz PE, LEED AP BD+C

Page Associate / Mechanical Engineer

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