Tufts University begins new era of innovation, discovery with opening of Science and Engineering Complex

Interdisciplinary space to serve as hub of innovation, research and collaboration

Tufts University today unveiled the state-of-the-art Science and Engineering Complex (SEC), a combination of new and renovated space on the Medford/Somerville campus that will foster innovation, collaboration and discovery.

The SEC links 80,000 new square feet with 26,000 renovated square feet in Robinson Hall as well as the existing space of Anderson Hall, creating a unique space for students, faculty and researchers in science and engineering disciplines.

The complex expands the university's science and engineering facilities, adding over 47,000 square feet of laboratories, classrooms, support rooms and other core facilities. The flexible design allows for the addition of more laboratory or collaborative space as demand grows over time.

The SEC is also a key component of Tufts' Science and Technology Corridor, a string of laboratories, offices, classrooms and collaborative space along Boston Avenue in Medford dedicated to supporting STEM education and research. Extending from College Avenue to Harvard Street, the SciTech Corridor also includes the Tufts University Science and Technology Center; the Collaborative Learning and Innovation Complex (CLIC), opened in 2015; and the new Central Energy Plant, which will lower Tufts' greenhouse gas emissions.

"The SEC brings together faculty from across the university to collaborate and exchange ideas," said Anthony P. Monaco, president of Tufts University. "Its program and design reflect Tufts' commitment to fostering innovation and discovery. The advances developed here have the potential to change the world by extending the frontiers of science, technology, and medicine."

Faculty researchers working at the SEC are focused on pursuing innovative approaches to complex problems. Labs in the new complex include the recently dedicated Allen Discovery Center, which explores the frontiers of the life sciences. The center was funded with a $10 million grant from Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen and is led by Michael Levin, the Vannevar Bush Professor in the Department of Biology at Tufts University's School of Arts and Sciences and director of the Tufts Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology

The SEC's sunlit atrium gives students a place to study, chat or take a break (Anna Miller, Tufts University)The SEC's sunlit atrium gives students a place to study, chat or take a break (Anna Miller, Tufts University)

Highlights of the collaborative spaces include a window-filled atrium displaying the architecture of the exposed rear facade of Robinson Hall. The atrium features the new Kindlevan Café, with offerings including coffee and espresso beverages, make-your-own salads, hot and cold sandwiches, healthy snacks and a juice bar. The café is supported by a gift from Jeff Kindler and Sharon Sullivan, husband and wife alumni. Kindler, a former trustee, and Sullivan met in Copenhagen on a semester abroad program, and saw their daughter graduate from Tufts in 2011. "Kindlevan" is a portmanteau of their surnames.

The atrium is lined by the Henricks Art Wall, currently displaying prints from Evelyn Rydz' Tufts University Art Gallery show "Floating Artifacts." An alumna of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, Rydz' colorful prints capture organic and manmade ocean detritus at the microscopic level. The art wall was a gift from alumna Joan Henricks and her husband, Alan.

The forthcoming Nolop FAST Facility will be a "maker space" that serves as a gateway to the Tufts maker community.  Funded by a gift from the Keith Nolop Irrevocable Trust, the space will provide ample room for planning and assembly, and look to encourage participation from students of all backgrounds and abilities. 

The SEC opening was celebrated with a program featuring trailblazing neuroscientist Martha Constantine-Paton, professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT and founding member of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research. U.S. Sen. Edward Markey and Mayor Stephanie M. Burke of the City of Medford were both in attendance.

The SEC was designed by Boston-based architecture firm Payette, and built by Turner Construction Company.

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