Main Nav

Web Sidebar:The USITE/Crerar Computing Cluster and Cybercafé
University of Chicago

Shirley Dugdale and Chad Kainz

The photos included in this Web-only sidebar show additional views of the USITE/Crerar Computing Cluster and Cybercafé described in chapter 40 of Learning Spaces. All photos were taken by Roberto Marques and are reproduced here with the permission of the University of Chicago.

Located at the base of a two-story glass atrium, the WebStations and coffee shop greet visitors to USITE/Crerar. A glass wall separates the USITE cluster from the cybercafé (see Figure 1), allowing 24-hour access to the WebStation e-mail/Web kiosks without the need to gain access to USITE itself. Thin-client WebStations provide Web access to members of the university without tying up a fully functional workstation (see Figure 2). WebStations are located throughout campus and may be installed in media classrooms in the near future.

Figure 1
Figure 1
Photo: Roberto Marques © University of Chicago
Click image for larger view.

Figure 2
Figure 2
Photo: Roberto Marques © University of Chicago
Click image for larger view.

The general computing area has a number of different seating arrangements to accommodate different work and collaboration styles. The Consult Desk sits at the back of the room. The etched glass that separates the Collaboration Area from the rest of the cluster (see Figure 3) allows the student staff at the Control and the Consult Desks to have clear views of the entire space from either point.

Figure 3
Figure 3
Photo: Roberto Marques © University of Chicago
Click image for larger view.

The cluster itself sits atop a 4-inch raised floor. Workstations connect via data/power floor boxes liberally placed throughout the environment (see Figure 4). Personal laptops connect via wireless.

Figure 4
Figure 2
Photo: Roberto Marques © University of Chicago
Click image for larger view.

With its continuous uninterrupted work surface, the Media Wall (see Figure 5) provides ample space to work with larger materials or attach video cameras, VCRs, and other digital media equipment to the Macintosh workstations.

Figure 5
Figure 5
Photo: Roberto Marques © University of Chicago
Click image for larger view.

LCD monitors attached to the booth tables prevent users from accidentally knocking the monitors onto the floor when sliding in and out of the banquette seats. Computers are mounted in the table pedestals. (See Figure 6.) The booths are curved to focus attention both on the individual displays as well as the two projection screens at the front of the room (see Figure 7). They form an arc that completes the back wall of the Collaboration Area (see Figure 8). Up to three people can share a single monitor when seated in a booth (the record is seven).

Figure 6
Figure 6
Photo: Roberto Marques © University of Chicago
Click image for larger view.

Figure 7
Figure 7
Photo: Roberto Marques © University of Chicago
Click image for larger view.

Figure 8
Figure 8
Photo: Roberto Marques © University of Chicago
Click image for larger view.

In this view of the general computing area, the cybercafé and atrium are at the far end (east) of the cluster itself (see Figure 9). The general computing area supports both group work and individual study, with a glass wall separating the Collaboration Area from the rest of the USITE space.

Figure 9
Figure 9
Photo: Roberto Marques © University of Chicago
Click image for larger view.