University of Chicago’s new molecular engineering program and Nobel-prize winning physical science departments just became roommates.
This week UChicago officially dedicated the William Eckhardt Research Center, a new Hyde Park building that will house laboratories, classrooms, and research space dedicated to some of the most prominent STEM researchers on campus. The building, which opened in September but was formally announced this week, was designed with interdisciplinary collaboration in mind, in hopes that this building can be the home for the next great science, engineering, and physics discoveries out of the university.
The Eckhardt research center will be home to the Institute for Molecular Engineering (IME), the university’s Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, and the Dean’s Office of Physical Sciences. Researchers in the building are working in a variety of fields, including chemical, electrical, mechanical and biological engineering, and materials and physical sciences. The high performance labs in the building will allow for research ranging from nanofabrication to creating instruments that can detect distant planets.
“The diversity of research that takes place here extends from the smallest scale possible to the largest imaginable, ranging from molecular manipulation to increasing our understanding of the universe,” said Bill Odell, director of Science + Technology for HOK, the architecture firm behind the building, in a statement. “This building is a true nexus for transformative, interdisciplinary discovery.”
The building was designed in a collaboration between HOK, an international architecture firm, and James Carpenter Design Associates, an architecture firm known for innovation in glass and light. The structure allows for well lit hallways, collaboration corners, and a top-floor deck with views of downtown Chicago.
“To recruit top faculty and top students requires the facilities to allow them to do the best science they can do,” said Rocky Kolb, dean of physical sciences, to UChicago. “With the Eckhardt Research Center, we will have the facilities and the infrastructure that will allow our faculty and students to explore the cosmos—in ways they have never been able to before.”
Here’s a look inside the new William Eckhardt Research Center.