09/11/2000 07:00:00

Caltech Breaks Ground for Broad Center for Biological Sciences

PASADENA—The California Institute of Technology broke ground for the Broad Center for Biological Sciences at noon, September 12, at the site of the future building, at the southeast corner of Wilson Avenue and Lura Street in Pasadena.

Expected to be completed in the year 2002, the Broad Center will be the site of up to a dozen key research groups that will expand Caltech's existing strengths and position the Institute for leadership in a number of critical areas of investigation. Principal funding for the building was provided by a gift of more than $20 million from Edythe and Eli Broad. Eli Broad is chairman and CEO of SunAmerica Inc. and has been a Caltech trustee since 1993.

The Broads' gift is part of a $100 million fund-raising effort for the biological sciences at Caltech.

Speakers at the groundbreaking included David Baltimore, president of Caltech; Broad; Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan; Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard; Gordon Moore, chair of the Caltech Board of Trustees; James Freed, senior partner with Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects; John Rudolph, principal with Rudolph and Sletten, the construction company; and Mel Simon and John Abelson, biology faculty.

Pei Cobb Freed & Partners is known for its work on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Modern Art in Athens; the Miho Museum of Shiga, Japan; the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland; the Grand Louvre in Paris; and the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas.

Caltech's Broad Center will be located on the northwest corner of campus, near the Beckman Institute. Measuring 120,000 square feet, with three floors above ground and two below, the building will include laboratories and offices for 10 to 12 research teams, as well as conference rooms, compact libraries, a lecture hall, and a seminar room. The latest modular design elements will be used to allow the greatest flexibility for rearranging labs and offices to accommodate future needs at minimum cost. The square modern design is intended to maximize scientific interaction within.

The building will contain several major research facilities including an imaging center and a biomolecular structures laboratory.

A mall covered by red Chinese pistache trees will line one side of the building. The exterior walls of the building will be travertine on the south-facing wall adjacent to the Beckman Institute, and etched stainless steel on the other walls.

Founded in 1891, Caltech has an enrollment of some 2,000 students, and a faculty of about 275 professorial members and 130 research members. The Institute has more than 19,000 alumni. Caltech employs a staff of more than 2,100 on campus and 4,800 at JPL.

Over the years, 28 Nobel Prizes and four Crafoord Prizes have been awarded to faculty members and alumni. Forty-five Caltech faculty members and alumni have received the National Medal of Science; and eight alumni (two of whom are also trustees), two additional trustees, and one faculty member have won the National Medal of Technology. Since 1958, 13 faculty members have received the annual California Scientist of the Year award. On the Caltech faculty there are 77 fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and on the faculty and Board of Trustees, 70 members of the National Academy of Sciences and 48 members of the National Academy of Engineering.

Written by Jill Perry