William Eckhardt Research Center

facade from Ellis


Status: Completed October 2015

The William Eckhardt Research Center design proposes a 277,000 gross square foot building with a basement and sub-basement and five above grade floors including one shell space floor. The building will house offices, conference rooms and laboratories for Division of Physical Sciences units including the Astronomy and Astrophysics Department, the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Studies, and the Enrico Fermi Institute. The building will also house the University’s new program in Molecular Engineering providing offices, conference rooms, a clean room, and specialized laboratory and imaging facilities. Three buildings currently located on the site will be demolished to make way for the new building.

Exterior work includes landscaping, paving, lighting and security and will create a new “North Science Quadrangle” in the interstitial space to the west of the building. Steam and chilled water would be provided through new direct buried lines from the existing vault west of the new West Campus Combined Utility Plant.

Project Team

  • Senior Project Manager: John Ekholm
  • Assistant Project Manager: Jennifer Fifield
  • Architect/Engineer: HOK with James Carpenter Design Associates
  • Construction Manager: W.E. O’Neil
  • Project contact: John Ekholm, jekholm@uchicago.edu

Project Updates

Past Milestones:

  • Summer 2010: Program relocation renovations began
  • Winter 2011: Completion of program relocations; start of abatement and demolition
  • Spring 2012: Demolition of on-site buildings
  • Summer 2012: Begin construction
  • Spring 2013: Complete site excavation
  • March 2014: Began curtain wall installation.
  • June 2014: Completed building enclosure.

Upcoming Milestones:

  • Winter 2015: Target for occupancy.
  • October 2015: Building dedication for William Eckhardt. 


Central stair installation, March 2015.

penthouse level

Penthouse under construction, May 2014.


Building enclosure nearing completion, May 2014.

curtain wall construction

Progress of curtain wall installation, April 2014.

Glass panels

Installation of the curtain wall underway, March 2014.

View from Mansuetto

Concrete structural frame is complete, March 2014.


Mechanical, electrical and plumbing installation.


Construction progress as of February 2014.

Northwest Aerial - William Eckhardt Research Center

corner view facade

View from the corner of Ellis Avenue and 56th Street.


View from 56th Street.

South View at Ellis - William Eckhardt Research Center

Science Quad - William Eckhardt Research Center


Preparation for concrete pour


Crane used for erection of above ground structure

Construction site

View of lower level construction

Construction site

Overview of floors below grade