Public Release: 

California NanoSystems Institute breaks ground for world's most advanced nano-research facility

University of California - Los Angeles

To develop the nanotechnological advances that will dominate science and the economy in the 21st century, UCLA is breaking ground for a new building that will house the California NanoSystems Institute. The CNSI is one of Gov. Gray Davis' four UC Institutes for Science and Innovation to expand California's role as the leader in technical invention. The CNSI will take a multidisciplinary approach to developing the information, biomedical and manufacturing technologies necessary to meet the scientific and economic demands of the new century, with an emphasis on nanotechnology.

Unique in its execution, the building design, created by Rafael Vinoly Architects, spans an existing parking structure, allowing for a large laboratory floor plate above. Vibration-sensitive laboratories will be housed in the basement floors. The building's primary design theme is to encourage interaction, which underscores the nature of the institute itself, where researchers are crossing traditional disciplinary boundaries to interact in innovative ways.

The groundbreaking ceremony, to take place from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 14, will be held on the UCLA campus on the top level of parking structure No. 9.

The CNSI will be located at the heart of the UCLA Court of Sciences, the ideal location to foster collaborative research among physicists, molecular biologists, chemists, engineers, medical scientists and other scholars working on nanotechnology research.

"Nanotech may be one of the world's smallest sciences, but it has the greatest potential. Today, we break ground on a world-class facility, to house a world-class research institute," Davis said.

"The governor has acted boldly to ensure that the CNSI will go forward with the research and discoveries that are vital to California's technology-oriented economy," said University of California President Richard Atkinson.

"The California NanoSystems Institute will bring the research communities of UCLA and UC Santa Barbara together with industry partners to create the technologies of California's future," said UCLA Chancellor Albert Carnesale. "California and the world will benefit from the scientific breakthroughs fostered by this innovative, interdisciplinary endeavor."

With a gross square footage of 184,712, the building is carefully designed to mitigate acoustic noise, low electrical noise and vibrations. The types of facilities to be located in the building include:
· Information technology infrastructure
· Imaging and spectroscopy
· INMOS (Integrated Molecular Systems Facility)
· Incubator labs
· 4,000-square-foot data center
· Interactive space for planning and activities

"This building brings together, under one roof, a unique conjunction of scientific and technological capabilities that will foster a truly exceptional community of innovators," said Evelyn Hu, acting director of the CNSI and professor of electrical and computer engineering and of materials at the University of California, Santa Barbara. "The design of the building itself reflects the openness of ideas and the breaking of disciplinary barriers that are at the heart of the CNSI," she added.

"The CNSI realizes the governor's vision of creating a hub for nurturing nanotechnology," said Fraser Stoddart, acting co-director of the CNSI and the Saul Winstein professor of chemistry at UCLA. "It is quite possible that the corridor between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara will become a nexus for invention and innovation across an enormous breadth of disciplines."

Special consideration was given to the interior layout of the building to facilitate the inherently interactive nature of the CNSI. The building design lends itself to dialogue and interaction with six central conference rooms, indoor and outdoor interactive spaces, exhibition space on a ground floor lobby, outer terraces, a 260-seat theater, and open laboratories.

Four open labs on the fifth and seventh floors combine three to four laboratories in the same room. Also, there is an area on the fifth floor dedicated to technology transfer.

"The CNSI represents an unparalleled opportunity for both campuses to push the frontiers of one of the most exciting fields of science and engineering today," said Roberto Peccei, UCLA vice chancellor of research.

Scheduled for completion in winter 2004, the CNSI building will be a world-class intellectual and physical environment that fosters collaboration among California's university, industry and national laboratory scientists. The building's designers, Rafael Vinoly Architects, are no strangers to structural innovation. Founded by Rafael Vinoly in 1982, the firm now has offices in New York, London and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Vinoly has built extensively in the United States and Latin America. Recent projects include the Tokyo International Forum, Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, the Boston and Pittsburgh Convention Centers, and museums in Buenos Aires, Cleveland, New York City and Tampa, Fla.

Most recently, a team led by Vinoly was chosen as one of two finalists in the design plan for redeveloping the World Trade Center site.

Schematic designs of the CNSI building can be viewed online at Click on "Facilities," then "UCLA CNSI building."


Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.