Columbia University


4,000 SF


Research Lab


Shakespeare, Gordon Vlado

Architects (SGVA),

Brooklyn New York


Design Stage

Legacy Engineers was retained by Columbia University to design new expansion lab for Dr.Pasupathy, an Associate Professor of Physics.

Columbia University’s Scanning Tunneling Microscope Lab project was a renovation and expansion of Dr. Abhay Pasupathy’s 1st Floor Lab, in Pupin Hall, to construct two (2) new experimental laser scanning tunneling microscope (STM) stations. Dr. Pasupathy was Columbia University’s Associate Professor of Physics and led CU’s studies on Condensed Matter Physics, and Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics. The new STM stations would take his studies from taking photographs of atoms, to filming motion movies of atoms. The goal of the project was to bring his current Lab up to the required standard appropriate for his new research.

The Physics Department has given Professor Abhay use of rooms 110, 112, 114, 118, adjacent to hisvcurrent lab Room 100; and additional space in Room 208 directly above, to house the required mechanical and medical gas equipment. The two experimental STM stations required a 17-foot clear, floor to ceiling height space, which meant that they would have to be depressed down into the 1st Floor slab, extended up into 2nd floor space, or a combination of the two. The Lab also stringent temperature, humidity, and low noise and vibration requirements. Therefore, the MEP, structural and vibration analysis scopes of work were vital to the success of the project.

Legacy Engineers analyzed and proposed three (3) alternative layouts of new air handling equipment in the 2nd Floor MER to serve Professor Pasupathy’s existing and new lab spaces: a new 2nd AHU to serve each lab independently; and two different layouts utilizing one new larger AHU to serve both labs. Each scheme was analyzed in terms of its construction cost, phasing requirements/impact on the existing Lab operations during construction, and space layout requirements.

The building’s electric, chilled water and sprinkler utility services had been upgraded in a previous infrastructure upgrade project and were available to serve this project. A new chilled/hot water air handling unit with a built-in humidifier and a separate return/exhaust fan was designed to serve the new lab. The existing outdoor air intake and exhaust ductwork and louvers systems had to be enlarged for the increased ventilation requirements. The Lab was equipped with new sprinkler system; and the existing plumbing and electrical services were modified to accommodate new lab expansion.