$51 million research facility, classroom complex breaks ground at UH

Designed to be both efficient and aesthetically pleasing, the new $51 million Science and Engineering Research and Classroom Complex (SERCC) at the University of Houston is one of the most ambitious academic facilities in the Southwest. On hand to celebrate its groundbreaking Friday, Dec. 5, will be world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli, the visionary behind the project.

The synergy expected in this building will be powerful, as multiple disciplines from the Cullen College of Engineering and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics will be brought together in the state-of-the-art facility, allowing researchers to more closely interact and collaborate. The design of the building facilitates interaction, featuring labs upon labs with no walls to isolate them. Of benefit for the entire university will be a two-story classroom wing for general academic use.

To ensure functionality for the types of research slated for the building, UH scientists and engineers had ample input into what would be optimal for their work. To carry it through, members of Pelli's architectural firm assigned to this project have scientific backgrounds in addition to their architectural expertise.

The addition of this facility to the university's existing science and engineering network will have a major impact on its academic and research programs for years to come. With the evolution of research comes new methodologies and focuses that require variations on space needs. This 200,000-square-foot complex will address such issues, featuring five floors of laboratory space that will accommodate an estimated 40 research laboratories.

Current research that will benefit from the new building includes areas that cover bionanotechnology, DNA chips, protein chips, synthetic medicinal chemistry, drug design, nano-lithography, materials and optoelectronics. Essential to experiments performed in many of these areas is the need for a dedicated, full-service

Contact: Lisa Merkl
University of Houston

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