Silverman Hall Design

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The initiatives of the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute require the most advanced physical environment including revolutionary technologies and leading scientists. Although CLP is an “institute without walls” and counts faculty across both campuses among its members, The Richard and Barbara Silverman Hall for Molecular Therapeutics and Diagnostics is the Institute’s administrative home and intellectual locus. The construction of the $100 million building was funded in part through the generosity of Richard Silverman, Patrick G. Ryan/Aon Professor, who donated a portion of the royalties obtained from sales of the blockbuster drug for Lyrica™, the first approved treatment for fibromyalgia and diabetic neuropathy.

Dedicated in November 2009, Silverman Hall houses approximately 245 researchers and staff in 17 research groups. The 147,000 gross square feet building has four stories above ground and one below. Each of the five floors contains state-of-the-art research laboratories and student offices. Faculty offices are located on the third and fourth floors. The ground floor features the Center for Advanced Molecular Imaging that researchers from both campuses use to image molecules, chemical reactions and magnetic resonance contrast agents. The building also houses the Center for Development Therapeutics, the Center for Molecular Innovation and Drug Discovery, the Quantitative Bioelement Imaging Center, and Northwestern Proteomics. 

Silverman Hall is designed to enhance interactions and collaborations among colleagues. A variety of meeting rooms and gathering places, including two two-story interaction spaces, encourage both spontaneous and planned discussions among research groups and across disciplines. Glass laboratory walls and doors encourage line-of-sight collaboration. Fifteen percent of the square footage is devoted to shared resources.

Silverman Hall is directly integrated with other science and engineering buildings on the north part of the Evanston campus. The east side of connects to Pancoe Life Sciences Pavilion, and the west side connects on all five floors to Ryan Hall (chemistry and nanotechnology). A two-story pedestrian bridge filled with open interaction spaces, conference rooms and faculty office suites connects the two sides.

The construction of Silverman Hall was a significant departure for the University as it is the first building ever built for an institute, rather than for a school or department. The Director and key Institute faculty took a lead role in designing and allocating space within the building to ensure the alignment of this research space with the mission of the Institute.

In accordance with Northwestern’s policy of using environmentally sustainable design for its new buildings, Silverman Hall was designed as a green building. A large underground cistern, chilled beams, a reflective roof, an automatic lighting system and the use of recycled and regional materials all contributed to the building receiving gold-level certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System®.