By Marissa Allen, news correspondent
Construction of the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex (ISEC) is on schedule after a summer of building.
In 2013, Northeastern unveiled plans to construct the six-story, 220,000-square-foot complex. Since then, the former Columbus Avenue parking lot has transformed into the skeleton of a state-of-the-art, Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)-certified facility.
“What’s going up now is called the curtain wall,” Stephen Director, the senior advisor to President Joseph E. Aoun, said. “Glass is being installed, wrapping around the building.” Inside, contractors are working on piping.
According to the ISEC website, the structure was designed by Payette, a Boston-based architecture company. Payette has implemented several unique features to the complex, such as The Arc, an organically flowing curved bridge that will connect the facility to research buildings on the other side of the Orange Line.
“It’s good that they’re dedicating a building to lab and research because I’ve noticed that a lot of research is done in different buildings,” Adam Harsch, a sophomore chemical engineering major, said. “It’ll be cool to have it all more centralized.”
The building was designed with a focus on interdisciplinary collaboration.
“Rather than trying to divide up the building into a bunch of small labs, it’s big, open spaces,” Director said. Specialized equipment may be located in separate rooms, he said, but will be open to all.
Olga Vitek, a professor in the College of Computer and Information Science, is looking forward to the interdisciplinary nature of the ISEC.
“I have a joint appointment between computer science and chemistry so I have to choose whether I am sitting in a computer science or a chemistry lab.” she said. “It’s nice to be in the building where you have both sets of things in one place and you can turn around and ask a question about a chemistry experiment or you can turn around and ask a question about the computing.”
The building, according to Director, is designed to hold approximately 114 principal investigators – faculty members in charge of labs – and about 700 people total.
“A lot of the space in the new building will be for either groups on campus that have to expand… or for new groups and new faculty hires and so forth,” he said. “The building will not be filled on day one. It was designed to allow us to continue hiring for a number of years after.”
The university’s current budget for the project is set at $225 million. The ISEC is slated to create 630 construction jobs and about 700 full-time positions once the complex opens, according to the website.
“Great research happens when you talk to people,” Vitek said. “I think it’s a luxury to have an environment where you can have people from different departments and different colleges working together. Not every university has that, and I think this building will be useful.”
Varun Goyal contributed to this report.
Photo by Brian Bae