Home > News > Sure, the building's just a box, but what a box
July 3rd, 2007
Sure, the building's just a box, but what a box
In today's world of iconic architecture that defies gravity with glee, there's something refreshing about the Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. It's just a black metal box, four stories high and 242 feet long -- pure streamlined punch.
True, the narrow box extends 50 feet beyond the steep hillside where it begins, poised in air above a roadway. And the Hayward Fault runs barely a mile to the west, below the laboratory's forested ridges.
But the Molecular Foundry's triumph is that the eye-popping slab seems right at home. The structure is a logical outgrowth of what goes on inside, engineered with common sense despite its uncommon perch. There's not one gratuitous flourish. That's why the Foundry deserves attention, even though it is off-limits to the public and almost invisible from afar.
The Foundry was designed by the San Francisco office of SmithGroup architects. It opened last year, a $52 million research center focused on nanoscience, a field I make no pretense of understanding. In addition to the four stories on view, wrapped in a tight skin of aluminum panels and recessed windows, two floors are burrowed within the hillside -- hidden behind a concrete wall that also serves as part of the box's base.
Novel approach to magnetic measurements atom-by-atom October 1st, 2014
'Stealth' nanoparticles could improve cancer vaccines October 1st, 2014
Stressed Out: Research Sheds New Light on Why Rechargeable Batteries Fail October 1st, 2014
New Absorber Will Lead to Better Biosensor: Biosensors are more sensitive and able to detect smaller changes in the environment October 1st, 2014
Japanese gold leaf artists worked on a nano-scale: Study demonstrates X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy is a non-destructive way to date artwork July 3rd, 2014
Harry Potter-style invisibility cloaks: A real possibility next Christmas? Forget socks and shaving foam, the big kids of tomorrow want an invisible cloak for Christmas December 19th, 2013
Chicago Awareness Organization First Not-for-Profit to Sponsor Dog Training to Detect Ovarian Cancer Odorants December 12th, 2013
ZEISS Microscopes used to create images for Art Exhibit at Midway Airport: Art of Science: Images from the Institute for Genomic Biology October 25th, 2013