University of Chicago - Searle Chemistry Laboratory

Novel Space for Chemistry, Computation, and Cleanroom

The renovation of the Searle Chemistry Laboratory building consists of state-of-the-art dedicated research space for five principal investigators and approximately sixty graduate students in the Department of Chemistry.

It also provides laboratory space for the department’s core instrumentation including an NMR and Mass Spectrometry suite, X-Ray Diffraction, and future instrumentation. In addition to the Chemistry Department, the building provides an interim home for the 90 members of the Computation Institute (CI). The collaborative open environment for CI is designed for conversion to synthetic chemistry labs in the future. This infrastructure investment will ensure that the Chemistry Department has firm platform for future growth as the department continues its success in securing grants and recruiting world-class investigators. In anticipation of exciting new research directions, the renovation includes a cleanroom in the basement for nanoscience and project collaborations with Argonne National Laboratories.

Socially, the building underwent a major transformation. New entrances were added to both the Ellis Avenue and the quadrangle sides of the building, each leading to a double height entrance lobby that provides a strategic pedestrian link to the campus. The new entrances make the building universally accessible and enhance the building’s elegant stature. These new public spaces are augmented by an important new seminar and conference area located on the second floor of the eastern quadrangle wing.

The Searle project is LEED® Gold certified and utilized energy conservation technologies, used and reused materials responsibly and has taken care to ensure excellent air indoor air quality. The renovation has transformed and enhanced the excellent qualities of the original design. Brought up to date for modern research, the building also demonstrates a respect for the environment and for the important human interactions both within the building and across the campus. As a sustainably-designed renovation, the look and feel of the interior is fresh, naturally day-lit, and comfortable.


Chicago, IL

Building Type

Research Labs and Workspace


86,000 SF

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