PHILADELPHIA – The Vagelos Laboratory for Energy Science and Technology received design approval from the University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees, the Pennsylvania Gazette reported, noting that construction should begin in March 2022 and be completed by fall 2024.
The new $173 million facility at 3200 Walnut Street will consolidate existing and emerging energy research programs by providing 110,000 square feet of state-of-the-art laboratory space, according to the University of Pennsylvania Almanac.
“The building is a key element of the School of Arts & Sciences’ strategic plan and the University’s commitment to advancing research in energy and sustainability,” the Almanac reported, adding that “the project has been made possible through gifts totaling $70 million to the School of Arts & Sciences from P. Roy Vagelos, a Penn alumnus, and his wife, Diana T. Vagelos.”
The support included a 2019 gift of $50 million, and an additional gift of $20 million earlier in 2020 which “has allowed the building’s design to expand from six to seven stories,” the Almanac reported, adding that “the project expansion will provide space to accommodate continued growth of the energy research program and enable additional faculty hires in the future.”
“We are so grateful to Roy and Diana for their enduring support of Penn’s groundbreaking research in the area of energy research and sustainable energy solutions,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann, the Almanac reported. “Their tremendous generosity and trust in Penn’s collaborative approach, bringing Penn’s world-renowned physical scientists and engineers together to solve scientific and technological problems related to alternative sources of energy and energy use and storage, is a testament to Penn leadership and innovation in seeking a sustainable future.”
The facility will “house the Vagelos Institute for Energy Science and Technology, bringing researchers from the School of Arts & Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Science together to solve scientific and technological problems related to energy,” the Almanac reported, noting that “it will also be a home for the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER), an undergraduate dual degree program run jointly by Arts & Sciences and Engineering.”
Steven J. Fluharty, dean of the School of Arts & Sciences and Thomas S. Gates, Jr. Professor of Psychology, Pharmacology, and Neuroscience, said that “the new Vagelos Laboratory for Energy Science and Technology aligns with a major pillar of the School’s strategic plan: Energy, sustainability, and the environment,” the Almanac reported.
“We have steadily built on investments in energy science, including faculty hiring and establishing the Vagelos Institute for Energy Science and Technology,” said Dean Fluharty. “Today we present a plan for a world-class facility, all this made possible through the continued generosity of Roy and Diana Vagelos.”
Dean Fluharty also acknowledged the partnership the School of Arts & Sciences has with the School of Engineering and Applied Science, noting that “Together, we will ensure that basic discoveries translate into impactful technologies,” the Almanac reported.
The Vagelos Laboratory for Energy Science and Technology was designed by Behnisch Architekten, and “includes highly functional, flexible, and efficient wet chemistry research labs and optics research labs serving researchers in both schools,” the Almanac reported, adding that “the facility also includes a complement of collaborative spaces and offices with a new landscaped courtyard linking the Walnut Street gateway and Shoemaker Green to the southwest.”