The Silvio O Conte National Center For Polymer Research
The Department of Polymer Science and Engineering is located in the Silvio O. Conte National Center for Polymer Research.
Construction began in October of 1989. Designers and architects were Ellenzweig and Associates, Inc., of Cambridge, in collaboration with Whitney, Atwood, and Norcross Associates of Boston. The builder was R. W. Grainger of Cambridge. The $56 million project was designed over 22 months. The building itself was constructed in the 45 months beginning in August 1991.
There are two wings to the Center: The Office Wing and the Laboratory Wing. The two wings of the Center are structurally separate, with connections on each floor via an elevator lobby. The lab wing contains 123,000 square feet, the office wing 39,000 square feet, and the six elevator lobbies 10,000 square feet.
The photograph on the left displays the front entrance of Draper Annex in 1970, when this building was home to the budding PSE program. Shown on the right is one hallway of the new Silvio O. Conte National Center for Polymer Research, which was formally dedicated in March of 1996.
Faculty and student offices are found on floors two through six, with space on the first floor reserved for a 150-seat conference room and the main administrative offices. All spaces are connected with twisted pair fiber-optic communication cables, creating a central data network that extends to the laboratory wing. The office wing is 39,000 square feet, and the six elevator lobbies 10,000 square feet.
Also contained within the office wing are the following specialized spaces:
- 20 faculty offices
- 20 post doctoral offices
- 160 student offices
- 15 secretarial stations
- 5 lounge/lunch areas
- 2 library/study areas
The laboratory wing is slightly taller than the office wing, consisting of 6 lower floors of laboratory space and 2 1/2 stories of mechanical penthouse. The layout of the lab floors follows a suite concept, with labs clustered around short sub-corridors linked to a large central corridor. The lab wing contains 123,000 square feet.
The six laboratory floors house 113 individual research labs ranging from 800 to 2100 square feet. Larger and heavier instruments, such as electron microscopes and mechanical testing equipment, are located in specialized rooms on the lower floors, while synthetic laboratories are clustered on the upper two floors. The entire complex contains 150 energy efficient variable volume fume hoods, with enough installed duct work to accommodate 75 more. Exhaust air from the hoods is convected upward via a large chase to the top of an adjacent 17 story building. All labs are supplied with nitrogen, compressed air, deionized water, and processed chilled water for instrument cooling. Our Support page shows a full listing of labs and facilities that are housed at the Center.