Campus unveils plans for Stanley, Davis halls
Facilities foster interdisciplinary research in health sciences, information technology

By Diane Ainsworth, Public Affairs


A view of the proposed Stanley hall, as it would be seen from the ast side of the building, near the intersection of Hearst Avenue and Gayley Road.

07 February 2001 | Plans for two new, ultra-modern and seismically sound research and teaching facilities to bring together scientists at the crossroads of the physical and biological sciences and engineering have been rolled out to the campus and community.

The buildings further Berkeley's efforts to focus interdisciplinary research on solving society's most pressing needs. The campus's Health Sciences Initiative and its work through the new California Institute for Bioengineering, Biotechnology and Quantitative Biomedical Research (known as QB3) will benefit from the new building on the Stanley site, and the work of the proposed Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society would be housed in a building replacing an older wing of Davis Hall.

Berkeley's next generation Stanley Hall, envisioned as an interdisciplinary hub for scientific research and teaching, will house state-of-the-art computational laboratories and the most advanced instruments. The new building, which will go up beginning in summer 2002, will be located on the site of the current Stanley Hall - which does not meet current seismic codes - and its parking lot to the west.

Forty-one interdisciplinary scientists tackling new research under the aegis of the Health Sciences Initiative and QB3 will focus on the biological sciences, engineering, physics, chemistry and computer science.The seven-story Stanley Hall facility will allow them to collaborate and advance the fields of molecular and biological chemistry, research on Alzheimer's disease, cancer, AIDS and new techniques for understanding the function of the human genome.

"These research programs are at the forefront of scientific research in bioengineering, molecular and cell biology, chemistry and physics, and can help us advance some of the most fundamental questions in human health," said William Webster, vice provost for academic planning and facilities.

"The facility will be an architectural example of the new paradigm for interdisciplinary research, providing exceptionally flexible and modular laboratories for constantly evolving teams and initiatives, said Robert Bluhm, Stanley Hall project manager in Capital Projects.

Designed by the Portland, Ore. architectural firm Zimmer Gunsul Frasca, the building will provide 270,000 gross square feet, roughly three times the size of the current Stanley Hall, at a cost of approximately $150 million.

The facility, scheduled to be finished in summer 2005, will house part of the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, which is located in the current Stanley Hall; the recently established Department of Bioengineering; and research programs in the Departments of Chemistry and Physics that have interdisciplinary ties to the work of molecular cell biology and bioengineering.

Offices and laboratories will house an ultra high-field magnetic resonance suite, a Bionanotechnology Center, instructional laboratory space, a multimedia center, general assignment lecture halls and administrative space, Bluhm said. Surrounded by core research support space, the laboratories will be specially designed for vibration-free research, which is necessary for imaging experiments, studies using lasers and many bioengineering techniques.

"The fusion of biology with the physical sciences is an essential part of an ambitious reorganization to keep Berkeley competitive in basic research and to apply new techniques in nanotechnology, three-dimensional imaging, bio-MEMS (micro-electrical-mechanical systems), minimally invasive surgery, the design of artificial tissues and joints and other specialties that will have a high payoff in medicine," said Webster. "These studies will lead, ultimately, to an improved understanding of the science of human health and techniques to detect and treat disease."

Interdisciplinary studies in the new building on the Stanley site will solve riddles in the treatment and cure of cancer, help researchers design drugs to stymie genetic and infectious diseases, prevent AIDS or slow the onset of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, said Edward Penhoet, dean of the School of Public Health.

"The most exciting work in health care today is coming from research in biomedicine and fields at the boundaries of biology and molecular science," Penhoet said. "Scientists are applying powerful computational tools, new algorithms, high resolution, 3-D imaging techniques and an assortment of other specialties to the study of the body's molecular machinery."

With a similar approach to space design for interdisciplinary collaboration, a new multi-story building is also being planned to replace the older portion of Davis Hall, across from Soda Hall at Hearst Avenue and LeRoy Street. According to an initial study, released this week by Capital Projects, the building will be a new hub for information technology research to address such large-scale societal challenges as transportation, education, emergency preparedness and health care.

Although not as far along in the developmental phase as Stanley, the Davis Hall North Replacement Building will be four or five stories above ground with two basement levels. The older portion of Davis Hall will be demolished to make way for a facility of approximately 145,000 square feet. It would house high-tech classrooms and labs accessible through the Internet for distance learning seminars, offices and a new Lifelong Learning Center.

The building would house research conducted by the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, named in December by Gov. Gray Davis as the fourth center created through his new program of California Institutes for Science and Innovation. The campus is hoping that plans for the new facility will receive a boost from the state legislature this spring, when it considers Davis' proposed 2001-02 budget, including $100 million over the next three years to support CITRIS.

"There will be a great deal of very interesting and high-impact technology springing out of CITRIS that will benefit all areas of society," said Richard Newton, dean of the College of Engineering.

One of the first goals of CITRIS will be to create societal-scale information systems - networks that might reach broadly across the state and nation. These might include specialized versions of the Internet, tying together devices such as tiny sensors, hand-held data pads, desktop computers and room-sized supercomputers, all connected to wireless networks.

CITRIS will support a broad array of projects, from the design of information systems for emergency and disaster response in an earthquake to life-saving medical alert sensors, to "smart" buildings that automatically adjust their internal environments, to save energy and reduce pollution.

In accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act, an announcement of intent to prepare a draft Environmental Impact Report was released this week, along with the initial study, which addresses potential environmental impacts of the two projects, said Capital Projects planner Jennifer Lawrence, who oversees the campus's environmental planning programs.

Comments from the public will help Capital Projects staff focus on issues of potential concern, such as potential increases in traffic or relocation of people during construction. A draft of the Environmental Impact Report will be issued in the spring, with final approval of the buildings to go before the UC Board of Regents this fall.


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