The official dedication of the William Eckhardt Research Center at the University of Chicago took place on October 29th 2015. The multifaceted Eckhardt research center is home to the Institute for Molecular Engineering, the University of Chicago’s Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, the Dean’s Office of Physical Sciences, and the Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility. The seven-floor, 277,000-sq.-ft. building includes state-of-the-art laboratories, offices, conference rooms, and a café. Five floors above grade houses different types of labs ranging from optics to chemistry. The two floors below grade will provide extremely low-vibration environments for laboratories used for nanoscale fabrication and imaging, including a 10,000 square foot class 100/1000 cleanroom. These high performance labs will allow researchers to work on a variety of fields including chemical, electrical, mechanical and biological engineering, and materials and physical sciences.
The building design is a joint collaboration by two architectural firms; HOK, an international architecture firm, and James Carpenter Design Associates, an architecture firm known for its innovative use of glass and light. The building’s design emphasizes the use of renewable and environmentally friendly resources, which helped it to achieve LEED Silver certification. Colin Gordon Associates provided input in the design and construction to help ensure that the challenging noise and vibration design criteria were met in the research center. Portions of the Pritzker cleanroom provide a NC-50 noise environment and VC-E vibration environment, both extremely challenging criteria to meet in a cleanroom supported on a suspended floor. Furthermore, the lower level below the cleanroom provides one of the quietest vibration environments CGA has ever measured. Achieving these stringent vibration criteria was a particular challenge given the active urban environment where the research center is located, and required careful coordination between CGA and all the members of the design team involved.
For additional information on the project and new research facility, follow the links below: