Bloomberg Hall Extension
The new extension to Bloomberg Hall, built at the east end of the existing building, houses The Simons Center for Systems Biology, and unites all the components of the School of Natural Sciences in one building. Systems biology is a rapidly growing and increasingly important field. Under the leadership of School of Natural Sciences Professor Arnold J. Levine, The Simons Center is focused on research at the interface of molecular biology and the physical sciences. To move forward the frontiers of understanding of fundamental biological problems, Members and Visitors explore and mine large data sets of genomes of organisms, expression patterns of genes in normal and pathological conditions, the genetic diversity found in species, and clinical and molecular correlations. The Center draws researchers from an array of disciplines, including mathematics, physics, astrophysics, molecular biology, chemistry, and computer science.
The extension, pictured below, has been designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, and its opening was celebrated on October 26, 2007. In 2005, the Center was named The Simons Center for Systems Biology to reflect the generosity of Institute Trustee James H. Simons, a former Member in the School of Mathematics, and his wife Marilyn Hawrys Simons, who have endorsed the Center's work with a $10 million challenge grant from their foundation, The Simons Foundation.
The three-story, 13,750-square-foot extension has been conceived as a distinct but highly compatible addition to the existing building. Particular attention has been paid to maintaining natural circulation patterns to encourage communication within the School as a whole.
The extension has also been designed to accommodate the Center's anticipated future growth. The upper two floors provide office and meeting space for Faculty, Members and Visitors, and staff. The ground floor houses the Institute's central computing staff as well as a computer equipment room.
In addition, the design features an extensive green roof, the first to be built in Mercer County. Ninety percent of the extension's 4,300-square-foot roof are planted with a mixture of three variants of sedum, a low-to-no maintenance plant that tolerates shallow soil and harsh growing environments. The design includes a water retention layer that allows the soil and plants to soak up storm water for prolonged periods of time, mitigating storm water runoff.
For additional information about the Institute's work in systems biology, please see the Fall 2006 issue of The Institute Letter. The new extension and related celebratory activities was profiled in the Winter 2008 issue of The Institute Letter.
Photos © Brian Rose