Photos by Caitlin Cunningham
The doors opened this week to 245 Beacon Street, a 150,000-square-foot facility of office and laboratory space, classrooms, maker spaces, and common areas, and the home of the University's Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society.
Constructed during the past two years, the $150-million building is the largest single investment in the sciences at Boston College, and the focal point of a $300 million University initiative in the sciences.
A laboratory in the new Integrated Science Building at 245 Beacon Street.
“The opening of 245 Beacon Street is the culmination of years of hard work and collaboration among faculty and staff across the University,” said Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley. “The beautiful new facility's emergence over the past two years has been a point of light and a reminder of the promise of better days. 245 Beacon will quickly emerge as a hub for student and faculty engagement at the intersections of Boston College's varied strengths in the disciplines and the frontiers of science and technology. Its arrival on campus is cause for celebration.”
Features include office and laboratory space for researchers and engineering faculty, and teaching laboratories that include computer science robotics. In addition, there are maker spaces for prototyping research, a clean room, and collaborative space for faculty and students. The new facility also houses BC’s Computer Science Department, Engineering Department, and the Shea Center, as well as classrooms.
The building, which was designed by the architectural firm Payette and constructed by Suffolk, will ultimately house as many as 22 principal investigators working in areas of health, energy, and the environment.
“245 Beacon will quickly emerge as a hub for student and faculty engagement at the intersections of Boston College's varied strengths in the disciplines and the frontiers of science and technology. Its arrival on campus is cause for celebration.”
“I am excited for our students and our faculty,” said Vice Provost for Research and Academic Planning Thomas Chiles, who has spent nearly a decade helping to lead the planning for the integrated science initiative. “There is a level expectation, but also genuine excitement that there is something really new here and something that is going to make an impact, both on campus and in the world. You can sense that when you walk in the building.”
A central component to the building is the Schiller Institute, which supports faculty from across disciplines in developing knowledge and solutions to crucial global problems in the areas of health, energy, and the environment. The institute is named in honor of BC Trustee Phil Schiller ’82
and his wife, Kim Gassett-Schiller, through a multi-year lead gift totaling $25 million.
"The Institute's state-of-the-art laboratory and convening spaces are catalyzing ground-breaking research to fight the effects of climate change, spur the transition to renewable energy sources, and protect public health," said Schiller Institute Executive Director Laura Steinberg.
Engineering Chair Glenn Gaudette at work in the new facility.
In fall 2021, BC welcomed the first class of students in the Human-Centered Engineering major, which integrates BC’s liberal arts core curriculum with foundations of engineering, design and systems thinking applications, and service-focused capstone experiences.
The first day of classes in the new building was exciting, said Professor Glenn Gaudette, the John W. Kozarich ’71 Chair of the Department of Engineering. "You could see the excitement on the students’ faces, even as they wore masks.
"The new building provides something for everyone, from the café on the first floor, to the meeting spaces throughout the building, to the classrooms and teaching lab and finally, the research labs," he said. "The openness of the building helps entice collaborations, especially from different academic departments. Our undergraduate teaching labs provide students with an environment for innovative thinking and analytical testing. Our research labs are enabling new discoveries and the development of solutions to problems facing humanity."
Chiles said the building—and the programming and personnel that enliven it—reflect a collaborative, campus-wide approach to planning aligned with the University’s strategic goals.
“This was a campus-wide University effort in terms of how we programmed and laid out these spaces,” Chiles said. “This building will be a center not only for student learning, but for faculty collaboration, scholarship, and research from all disciplines. We want all disciplines brought together to tackle the tough problems we face as a society.”
Ed Hayward | University Communications | January 2022
Two years, 160,000 images. Watch a time-lapse video of the building's construction by Ravi Jain of University Communications.