William Eckhardt Research Center
When completed in early 2015, the William Eckhardt Research Center will occupy the site of the current Research Institutes building on the west side of Ellis Avenue between 56th and 57th streets, across from the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library.
An architect's rendering of the forthcoming William Eckhardt Research Center
The institute and portions of the Division of the Physical Sciences will share as their home the forthcoming William Eckhardt Research Center, an architecturally innovative building that will host a broad spectrum of 21st-century science, from investigation of the deepest cosmic mysteries to manipulations of matter on the scale of atoms and molecules.
The center will occupy the site of the current Research Institutes building on the west side of Ellis Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets, across the street from the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library. Scheduled for completion in February 2015, the $215 million project will provide 265,000 square feet of space on seven floors, including two below ground. The building is named for Chicago futures trader and alumnus William Eckhardt, SM'70, who committed $20 million to support the Physical Sciences Division.
Equipped for the Future
The William Eckhardt Research Center is being specially equipped to support research dedicated to harnessing the remarkable properties that emerge at the nanoscale. The two basement levels will contain specially designed, vibration-dampening space for clean rooms and molecular imaging. The clean rooms will filter out the vast majority of airborne contaminants such as dust, microbes, aerosols, and vapors that would interfere with experiments.
The center will also incorporate specific design features intended to actively foster bold, cross-cutting intellectual collaborations. The Institute's molecular engineers will find themselves co-located with world-leading materials scientists, physicists, chemists, biological scientists, computational scientists, astronomers, and cosmologists in a single purpose-built facility. In addition to the Institute of Molecular Engineering, the center will house the theoretical physics group of the Enrico Fermi Institute, including some of the world's top particle physicists, leading material scientists from the James Franck Institute, and astronomers and astrophysicists from the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics. Carefully designed public space will allow these distinguished scientists to mingle and exchange ideas across disparate disciplines.