Yale Bulletin and Calendar

October 21, 2005|Volume 34, Number 8















During the day, the Malone Center's glass exterior mirrors the surrounding Trumbull and Hillhouse neighborhood.

University dedicates Malone Engineering Center

The new Daniel L. Malone Engineering Center, a key and architecturally dramatic component in Yale's $500 million commitment to science and engineering, was dedicated Oct. 10 during a rainstorm that couldn't begin to dampen the enthusiasm of those celebrating inside.

Paul Fleury, dean of Yale Engineering, said the five-story, 63,117-square-foot structure on Prospect Street (between the Arthur K. Watson Hall and the Farmington Canal) is both a physical and programmatic symbol.

"It stands as a statement to all that Yale Engineering is an integral part of this university's most vibrant intellectual life," Fleury said. "The research and teaching that will take place here will center upon those forefront areas of biomedical engineering, materials science and nanotechnology that underpin 21st-century progress."

Fleury noted that the Malone Center is only the second new engineering building to be constructed at Yale since the early 1900s. "So the Malone Center testifies in the strongest terms that Yale Engineering is not only back, but central to Yale's vision of itself," he said.

President Richard C. Levin characterized the event as "truly a great day for Yale Engineering, one that makes us both proud and happy." At times, he said, engineering at Yale was on precarious footing, but this is definitely no longer the case.

"If I did my math right, this is only the second new engineering building in 93 years," he said. "It will not be the last."

John C. Malone '63E, whose gift helped make possible the construction of Yale's first new engineering building in 93 years, cuts a nylon polymer "ribbon" at the dedication ceremony.

The building was made possible by a $24 million gift from John C. Malone '63E, chair of Liberty Media since 1990 and chair of Media International since June 2004. A pioneer in the communications media industry, Malone spent much of his career at Tele-Communications Inc., serving as president, chair and chief executive officer. An active alumnus and generous supporter of Yale, Malone was a 1999 Sheffield Fellow.

The building is named for his father, the late Daniel Malone, who spent most of his career as an engineer with General Electric, developing wartime radar systems, commercial television and military communications. In 1960, he co-founded La Pointe Industries, a supplier of military communications systems and components.

Malone quipped that it was rare in life to have a triple play -- in this case, the opportunity to give something to Yale, to name it after his father and "to get a tax deduction." He also said it is imperative to keep Yale competitive in a global environment.

"In a world with diminishing resources, exploding populations, immense complexity, only science and technology can improve the standard of living for people on a global basis," Malone said. "That's why I think it is so terribly important that an institution like Yale be in that game. Not just for Yale, but for the society at large."

The dedication concluded with an unusual ribbon cutting. With Levin and Malone wearing protective gloves and glasses, a member of the faculty mixed chemicals to create a nylon polymer, and then Levin lifted the long Yale blue strand so that Malone could snip it. The following day to mark the dedication of the new building, Yale Engineering held a symposium exploring the evolution of biomedical engineering. (See related story.)

The center will house the newly formed Department of Biomedical Engineering, which brings together in full partnership faculty from Yale Engineering and the School of Medicine. With an important goal of linking the laboratory research to the clinical environment, the department addresses a range of health-care issues, among them design of biomaterials for tissue engineering, development of drug delivery systems to treat cancer, development of nanoparticles that are targeted to cells in the immune system, analysis of cell and tissue structure with multiphoton microscopy, and use of integrated anatomical and functional imaging to guide neurosurgical procedures.

In addition to research, the Malone Center offers state-of-the-art facilities for undergraduate education. Prominently located on the first floor, the Frederick P. Rose Teaching Laboratory, established through a generous gift of the late Frederick P. Rose '44E, will provide a rigorous, hands-on learning experience for biomedical engineering majors.

Designed by Cesar Pelli & Associates, the building is clad in limestone veneer and features a sweeping glass curtain wall. The building was designed to relate in scale to Watson Hall and the Becton Center and to provide a suitable backdrop for the historic Dana House.

"If you stand at the corner of Hillhouse and Trumbull and look at the new building," said program manager David Spalding, "you are looking directly at the glass, and it reflects what is facing it, which is the Trumbull and Hillhouse neighborhood. During the day you are seeing not the building, but what is reflected on the surface of the building."

The landscaped grounds flank a restored section of the Farmington Canal, which is being transformed into a public greenway for the Greater New Haven community.

Pelli, architect and founder of Cesar Pelli & Associates, said the site was challenging because of its limited size and the fact that it is triangular in shape. Another hurdle, he noted, was making the building compatible with the Watson laboratories on Prospect, just 30 feet away; Becton laboratories down the street; and the historic homes on Trumbull and Hillhouse, particularly the Dana House.

"We carefully designed the narrow passageway to Watson not to be an alleyway, but to have handsome views from Prospect Street and the Watson building," Pelli said. "We did this partially by opening windows and using dolomitic limestone, which is very hard, almost as hard as marble, and which has a rich orange and ochre color. Several of the older buildings at Yale, such as Berkeley College, have the same color and glow in the light."

Students work in the Frederick P. Rose Teaching Laboratory on the first floor of the Malone Engineering Center. Established through a gift of the late Frederick P. Rose '44E, the laboratory will provide a hands-on learning experience for biomedical engineering majors.

Pelli said the most difficult wall was the one facing the Farmington Canal, Trumbull Street and Hillhouse Avenue -- which he described as not only the most beautiful street in New Haven, but in Connecticut and possibly the Northeast. The Dana House at the corner of Trumbull and Hillhouse, he said, is considered by many to be the most outstanding of the grouping.

The glass curtain, Pelli said, is "a very beautiful background for the Dana House.

"In fact," he laughed, "some would say the Dana House looks even more handsome now than it did before."

"This is a very good engineering building," he added, "and a very good Yale building."

Designed to be comfortable, practical, elegant and high-tech, the interior of the building sets a new standard of excellence for Yale's laboratories, said Spalding. Researchers will have ready access to the latest equipment, computers and communications technology. Equally important, the building was designed so that laboratories can be easily reconfigured as the needs of researchers evolve over time.

Spalding said the main hallways between the stairwells on every floor of the center are intended as gathering places for students and faculty. The hallways are wider than are needed, and the doors to laboratories and offices are inset so that they don't swing into the passageways.

The design of the building is also in keeping with Yale's renewed commitment to an environmentally friendly campus. The Malone Center is currently undergoing LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification as an energy-efficient, sustainable building.

Spalding said there is an array of interesting and innovative energy conserving features. The building reclaims wastewater normally sent to the sewer, treats it in a system in the basement and then reuses it to flush toilets. Waste heat and cooling is recovered from the exhaust air to precondition incoming fresh air. A daylight harvesting system controls lighting when ambient daylight is available to supplement light fixtures in the hallways and offices. There are no ozone depleting chemicals in the refrigerants used in the building. The tinted glass of the curtain wall filters out ultraviolet rays to keep the heat from accumulating in the warmer months, and to gain and store heat in the winter. Rainwater falling on the building is collected in an underground retention tank and then slowly released into the ground rather than going into the sewer.

"It is very difficult to reduce the energy used by the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system in a laboratory building," Spalding said. "It uses quite a bit of air that has to be treated and then completely exhausted. We reduced the air used by installing separate digital controllers in each laboratory which minimize the ventilation rate under varying conditions, even sensing when the lab is unoccupied and reducing ventilation to lower levels and turning out the lights."

In addition, 75% of the construction waste was recycled instead of being trucked to landfills, and many of the materials were purchased locally to minimize the use of fossil fuels for shipping.

-- By Jacqueline Weaver


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