Providence, R.I. – Shawmut joined Brown University, KieranTimberlake, and members of the community for a dedication ceremony of the university’s new Engineering Research Center, which was completed in October of 2017.

The new three-story, 80,000-square-foot research building, broke ground in October of 2015 and was completed months ahead of schedule due to innovative delivery methods such as Integrated Project Delivery and Lean Construction, the first of its kind at Brown. The new building is home to specialized research facilities for nanomaterials, photonics, and environmental science, and is designed to expand research in renewable energy, advanced materials, and other areas. In total, more than 100 faculty, research associates, undergraduate, and graduate students will work within the ERC that is intended to enable the kind of interdisciplinary research for which Brown is known.

“Through our longstanding partnership with Brown University, and with proper planning and preparation, we created an innovative new research space to meet the growing needs of Brown’s School of Engineering,” said Ron Simoneau, vice president at Shawmut Design and Construction. “At the same time, were able to fuse the disparate assembly of earlier structures into a physically integrated engineering facility that provides space to expand and advance the school's research and instructional capacity.”

The state-of-the-art facility boasts an 8,000-square-foot cleanroom for nanomaterials, microelectronics, and photonics, imaging suite, bioimaging suite, 22 open-plan research labs, collaboration and support spaces, a café, and secondary entrances and connections to surrounding buildings. The Hazeltine Commons on the building’s first floor and Giancarlo Plaza, a green space outside the building’s front doors, are designed to build a thriving intellectual community for faculty and students from across campus.

“This building is a statement about the importance of engineering at Brown and also in the world at large,” Brown University President Christina Paxson said in remarks at the May 24 dedication. “We need to blend engineering with a keen appreciation and understanding of the humanities, ethics, and social sciences. I think that Brown can do this better than anyone. And I’m very excited to see the work that takes place here.”

Designed by KieranTimberlake, the $88 million-dollar project is tracking LEED Gold Certification with an energy and performance goal of 25% better than the minimum efficiency and performance criteria established in the Rhode Island-adopted International Energy Conservation Code. This is achieved through an environmentally conscious design, including: 60 glass reinforced concrete vertical fins to manage solar gain; four water-filling stations; and a façade made from 40% glass, capturing natural daylight, lowering costs, and improving health and well-being of the community. The new facility also supports high-precision, high-impact research through a below grade solid concrete slab that minimizes vibrations from passing traffic that can disrupt nanoscale measurements.

Shawmut has successfully completed more than 200 projects for Brown University, with current projects underway at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Geology-Chemistry Research Building, and Performing Arts Center.

ERC By the Numbers:

  • 80,000-square-feet
  • 116 dedicated workstations for graduate students
  • 20 lab modules
  • 4,000-square-feet of class 100 and 1000 cleanrooms
  • 30% increase in School of Engineering lab space on campus
  • 10 conference/meeting spaces
Photo Credit: Warren Jagger Photography