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From the College of Natural Sciences
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Rising from the Rubble

Rising from the Rubble
hackerman buildingThe new Norman Hackerman Building is beginning to rise from the rubble of the old Experimental Sciences Building (ESB) this year.

Named in honor and memory of Dr. Norm Hackerman, chemist, professor and president emeritus of The University of Texas at Austin, the 6-story building will hold modern classrooms and teaching labs for organic chemistry; research labs for faculty from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Center for Learning and Memory and Institute for Neuroscience; a vivarium; and, administrative offices for the School of Biological Sciences and Center for Learning and Memory.

The building was designed by California firm CO Architects, which has a penchant for designing complex high-end labs, and there will be plenty of those tucked inside the new building.

“The building is designed to be a catalyst for the integration of sciences and the collaboration between research groups,” says Jay Hughey, project director from CO Architects and University of Texas at Austin alum. In other words, it’s a building for the way science is done in the 21st century, with plenty of open areas and collaborative spaces.

Hughey and his team also have an eye for creating public spaces, nice views and a façade that both fits in with and provides a modern interpretation of the campus’s traditional architecture.

“We strove to make this building modern, but to fit within the traditional context of the university’s architecture,” says Hughey. “Some elements are very new, like the four-story glass box, the flat roof and the irregular limestone columns along the base of the building.”

But the materials and building’s scale will also help it to blend in with its surroundings. Plazas, porches and galleries finish out the building and will make for grand entrances on both 24th and Speedway Streets.

If funding becomes available, the Hackerman Building may also become one of the “greenest” buildings on campus, potentially featuring rooftop solar panels and a green roof. The solar array will be used to heat water (and thus heat the building) and could be the largest solar hot water array in the state of Texas.

The building may also be home to high-end imaging facilities, including an NMR imaging suite.

This article also appeared in the Spring 2009 issue of Focus magazine. To help the college build out NHB, contribute here.
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Saturday, 04 February 2023

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