After the addition of two new residential colleges, Science Hill will undergo another transformation with the upcoming construction of the Yale Science Building.
Construction on the seven-level structure, envisioned as a facility to further interdisciplinary work in the sciences, will likely be complete by fall 2019. The new structure will replace and expand on the current site of the J.W. Gibbs Laboratory, a building that several departments, such as Astronomy, have vacated since 2015.
“Science Hill provides a home for all branches of the basic biological sciences, so the [building] was necessarily designed to accommodate diverse research programs that range from studies of living plants to behavior of microorganisms,” said Anna Pyle, a professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology who chairs the committee in charge of the building plan. “The facility is designed to foster interdisciplinary science through the inclusion of investigators from MCDB, MB&B, Physics and engineering, and by the creation of specialized spaces such as the Quantitative Biology Center.”
Early estimates suggest the building will cost at least $200 million, Pyle said.
Both the Yale Corporation and the City of New Haven approved the design, which Pyle said was a collaboration between Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and the laboratory design firm Stantec.
Yale faced some obstacles earlier this year in getting the project past the planning stage. In May, after residents raised concerns that the building would aggravate traffic in the area, the City Plan Commission declined to approve the plans and asked the Board of Alders to review them. However, after the University threatened to withhold its voluntary yearly payments to New Haven, the Board approved the plans in early September.
Building facilities will include a rooftop greenhouse, aquatic and insect labs, a lecture hall, gathering spaces and faculty offices.
Anin Luo ’20 said more specialized labs will offer students with special interests a chance to further explore those fields.
“I’ve always thought that the current system and existing buildings work well, but it will be nice to have more space for labs,” biomedical engineering student Ben Wang ’19 said, adding that he currently has to share a lab in Kline Biology Tower with a graduate researcher.
Students interviewed expressed excitement about the promised interdisciplinary opportunities and Yale’s further investment in STEM facilities. Still, the Yale Science Building will be too far from the central campus to be a convenient study space, Wang said.
Pyle said she hopes the facility will provide an environment for innovative research and education during the current “revolution in biosciences” and remain a vibrant and functional space in future decades. Yale faculty in the sciences wants the building to encourage student participation and convey their own enthusiasm for the work that will take place there, Pyle added.
“Science is all about understanding how our world truly works, and a cross-disciplinary approach will only push that forward,” Margo Feuer ’20 said. “The world is increasingly becoming more interconnected, and the field of science is no exception. It’s important that Yale has the infrastructure to reflect that.”