Fermilab History and Archives Project

Construction of Wilson Hall

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THE CORE IN THE "FOOTPRINT"

When it was established several years ago, NAL was fortunate to find an instant -- although spread-out -- center in DuPage County of Illinois, some 35 miles west of Chicago, for its administrative offices and temporary laboratories. Today, some 600 NAL and DUSAF employees work in what is known as the National Accelerator Laboratory Village -- the former village of Weston -- where men and women can now be found working almost around the clock on the development of what will become the world's largest instrument for basic research. At present, it appears that the NAL Village will serve as a temporary headquarters and research center for the Laboratory for a period of at least two more years. What will happen to the homes in the Village when the staff moves to the permanent site still is under discussion.

It is the present hope of Robert R. Wilson, NAL's director, to begin construction sometime during Fiscal Year 1971, which begins next July l, on what generally is described as "The Core Building" for the Laboratory. The building will be situated, according to present plans, somewhere near the Linear Accelerator Enclosure structure, on the western part of the 6,800-acre site. It will be close to the city of Batavia and close to Kirk Road, the north-south Kane county route which will be extended and improved in the next year or two. Of course, there is considerable planning - architectural, environmental, fiscal, etc. -- to be done before work can be started on the proposed "Core" structure.

The "footprint" site selected for the Core building provides architects with an unusual challenge to place a striking, high-rise structure that will be both aesthetically appealing and functional on an Illinois prairie that overlooks the Fox River Valley. For years to come, the building doubtlessly will be one of the most commanding and hopefully, appealing -- structures in the area.

Marty Stein, Tom Downs, Robert Wilson and Alan Rider
Marty Stein, Tom Downs, Robert Wilson and Alan Rider

In November 1969, Dr. Wilson asked DUSAF's chief architect, Thomas Downs, to have the talented architects in the DUSAF joint venture firms try their hands at developing conceptual possibilities for the NAL core building. In Washington, D.C., architect Alan H. Rider went to work on his proposal as a member of the staff of Daniel, Mann, Johnson & Mendenhall, one of the DUSAF joint venture firms. In New York City, architect Martin Stein, of the Office of Max O. Urbahn, began to produce his concepts for a building. Both visited the "footprint" area and discussed with NAL planners proposed functions and needs of the "high-rise." For example, they found that 400,000 feet in floor space is needed to serve all of the presently-anticipated needs; that the building must be impressive, but within certain cost limitation; that it must provide an atmosphere and a spirit for NAL beyond the bland "institutional gray" often associated with major governmental research centers.

Some of the office and other space requirements, as outlined by Francis T. Cole, assistant director for technical affairs at NAL, include about 140,000 square feet of office space; ample space for laboratories and offices for visiting scientists; a computer center; a library; a lobby-reception area; an auditorium that can seat up to 500 persons; a lecture room; eating facilities; film processing; light shops; and miscellaneous needs.

Alan Rider's Offering
Alan Rider's Offering

A native of Michigan, "with a deep feeling for the middle-west," Rider is an alumnus of Carnegie Institute of Technology (Pittsburgh, Pa.), class of 1952. He received his master's degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art, near Detroit, in 1953 and also studied in Paris, France, at the L'Ecole de Beaux Arts. For the past four years, Rider has been working on a master plan and designs for a group of buildings at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md. These included the science, engineering, library and auditorium buildings. However, the work that he probably will be best known for among millions of persons is his design of the "eternal flame" gravesite for the late President John F. Kennedy in Arlington Cemetery.

Architect Stein is an alumnus of Pennsylvania State University and is a registered architect in New York. He has been a member of Urbahn's staff since 1963. Among his most notable projects have been the Hall of Science Museum, New York City, where he was the designer-project manager, and the Children's Psychiatric Hospital in New York City's Bronx area. It won the first prize at the New York Architects' Institute of America professional society convention in 1966. Stein was the subject of an article in the New York Times recently for his design of a unique "self-help" project in Appalachia -- a textile assembly shop. Stein resides in New Canaan, Connecticut with his wife and four children, so he has an appreciation of ex-urban life just as members of the NAL family are absorbing.

Architects Stein and Rider communicated with each other only infrequently during the four months on which they worked on their concepts. "We discussed general and functional needs, but wanted each of our proposals to be quite independent," explained Stein.

Marty Stein's Concept
Marty Stein's Concept

"I tried to make my building a community," explained Architect Stein. His proposed building is 12 stories high, with senior administrative offices on the seventh floor. There would be six or seven conference rooms throughout the building with easy access to nearby floors so that scientists and administrators can inter-act with ease. Stein's building would run, more or less, East-West in the "footprint" area with an appendage that would serve as an auditorium. There would be a patio for summer walks or eating. For cold weather periods, there would be underground passages linking the Core building with the Linac building.

Architect Rider proposed a twin-tower design 16 stories in height. Each tower would be 200 feet long and about 50 feet in width. The auditorium is on the ground level and eating places would be on the main floor and mezzanine. Rider's building would run roughly North-South in the entrance to the "footprint" area, with a circular-sort of driveway coming off Kirk Road for traffic; a service driveway would be at the eastern edge of the building.

The two architects made their presentations at a seminar in the NAL Curia Wednesday morning, February 25, 1970. In a question period, staff members fired a range of inquiries at them -- ranging from footage measurements, to elevator service, to air conditioning requirements, to office-laboratory space layouts. Generally, Stein & Rider advised that they were offering concepts, not final designs; when the concept of the building is selected, then staff work can be done on specific needs.

The Director's office is seeking comments about the proposed designs. Models of both the Stein & Rider proposals are on exhibit in the Director's complex, just next to the Curia. Employees are invited to drop by to look them over and offer comments preferably in writing). In the next month or two, if NAL is to start work on the Core buildings in the next fiscal year, design concepts must be "frozen".

Source: The Village Crier Vol. 2 No. 9, March 5, 1970

WORK PROCEEDS ON PHASE I OF CENTRAL LABORATORY BUILDING

On NAL's Main Site, at the northern end of the "footprint area," work is proceeding on Phase I of the Central Laboratory Building. The first phase is nearly 50 percent complete despite the fact that the contract was awarded last autumn and severe weather interfered with progress.

Model of proposed Central Laboratory Building. Caisson construction began late in 1970. Plans call for 16-story, twin tower building with approximately 400,000 square feet of floor space. Architect: Alan Rider, Washington, D.C.
Model of proposed Central Laboratory Building. Caisson construction began late in 1970. Plans call for 16-story, twin tower building with approximately 400,000 square feet of floor space. Architect: Alan Rider, Washington, D.C.

The foundation is finished and concrete is being placed for columns and walls of the ground floor. Structural work and backfilling on the utility tunnel to the Cross Gallery are finished.

In general the Phase I effort includes the construction of caisson-type foundations, post-tensioned tie-beam, and building the structure up to and including, the structural slab for the main floor of the central lab and office building. This building will be a reinforced concrete and glass high-rise building which, when finally completed, will have 16 stories tapering up from a base that will be 213 feet by 195 feet.

Central Laboratory Building Under ConstructionAn adjoining auditorium will also be available. It is planned that this meeting center will be completed in time to house the international "Rochester" Conference on High Energy Physics at NAL in September, 1972.

The general contract for the Phase I construction project is held by Walsh Bros., Inc., of Chicago. It was awarded August 24, 1970 on a bid of $1,902,353. Work under the contract also includes installation of 13.8 KeV power transformers, providing and installing power distribution and lighting for the lower level, and providing and installing complete plumbing and fire protection systems for lower level and architectural finish required to complete the lower level for tenant occupancy in the summer of 1971.Central Laboratory Building Under ConstructionCentral Laboratory Building Under Construction

The proposed Central Laboratory Building of about 400,000 square feet will be a twin-towered structure. It was designed by Architect Alan H. Rider, of the Washington, D.C. office of Daniel, Mann, Johnson, and Mendenhall, one of the DUSAF joint venture firms. Each tower will be about 200 feet long and about 50 feet in width. The building will be sited so that it runs roughly north-south in the entrance to the "footprint" area, with a circular driveway coming off nearby Kirk Road for traffic and a service driveway at the eastern edge. Parking for employees and visitors will be located across the road to the west of the Linac enclosure.

Source: The Village Crier Vol. 3 No. 13, April 1, 1971

CONTROLS GROUP FIRST TO MOVE INTO CENTRAL LAB BUILDING

(L to R) Larry Semsch, Ted Ulijasz, Bob Young, R. Mahler, and Karl Schmidt, members of the Controls Group of the Accelerator Section, working on the ground floor of the Central Laboratory building
(L to R) Larry Semsch, Ted Ulijasz, Bob Young, R. Mahler, and Karl Schmidt, members of the Controls Group of the Accelerator Section, working on the ground floor of the Central Laboratory building.

Photos by Tim Fielding, NAL

Right on the heels of the workmen completing Phase I of the Central Laboratory high-rise building, came the first NAL employees to move in to the ground floor in the industrial area -- the Controls group of the Accelerator Section.

Deeply and closely involved in producing the control systems for all of the accelerators, and in the Main Ring in particular at the moment, the 19 technicians represent a consolidation of five groups previously associated with the Beam Transfer, Booster, Linac, Main Ring, and R.F. Sections. Under the direction of Bob Daniels, Controls Commissioner, the united group now has space to work, producing the components that will give interface between the accelerators and the computers - the Sigma 2 in the main control room and the Mac 16's interspersed throughout the systems. When they have finished Main Ring modifications and maintenance, they will turn to controls for the neutrino and meson experimental lines.

Working in the midst of the array of electronic equipment that is the mark of their trade -- livened by the spools of colored wire, the soldering irons, and the many, many circuit boards -- the group, under the immediate supervision of Tony Tummillo, is getting the job done in spite of the heavy construction that goes on over their heads. Phase II of the building construction, now underway, will extend the building upward to the l6th floor and the top out. A tunnel, also completed, connects the high-rise to the Cross Gallery.

A "hats off!" to the Controls group who work under conditions somewhat less than ideal -- sometimes without power and heat; sometimes with water dripping on their desks -- to add their important contribution to the completion of the Laboratory.

Phase II of high rise construction of the Central Laboratory extended the building from its January, 1972 level, above, to the 16 stories shown in the inset. Pedestrians may enter through the low enclosed wooden runway at right, which also leads to the lunch area A small meeting room is now in use in the Central Lab Building - for meetings of Operations groups, personnel seminars, etc.
Phase II of high rise construction of the Central Laboratory extended the building from its January, 1972 level, above, to the 16 stories shown in the inset. Pedestrians may enter through the low enclosed wooden runway at right, which also leads to the lunch area. A small meeting room is now in use in the Central Lab Building - for meetings of Operations groups, personnel seminars, etc.

Source: The Village Crier Vol. 4 No. 3, January 20, 1972

 

INTERIOR PLANNING FOR HIGH-RISE

A pleasant lounge...carpets...proximity to other sections...you may have thought wistfully of these as you bicycled from the Physics Department to a meeting in the Snake Pit, or slogged to the Cafeteria for lunch in the rain...

All these and more are planned for the sixteen-story Central Laboratory, into which most NAL offices and sections will move in the spring, 1973. No specific moving dates have been set; too many as yet unknown factors are involved, but the interior of the building is being readied for occupancy as quickly as possible, and discussions of locations and space allocations for Laboratory Sections are under way.

The interior of the sixteen-story structure is very open and airy, and to maintain this feeling, the open office concept will be used in any group which can function well in such an arrangement -- with no permanent walls or corridors. Instead, low dividers will provide privacy where desired, particularly around work stations. In this way, commented Donald Getz, "Everyone will be able to stand up from his or her desk and look out a window. Also, we are trying to eliminate the problem of 'inside' and 'outside' offices as status symbols."

It will be a very colorful building. The architect, Alan H. Rider, of the Washington, D. C. office of Daniel-Mann-Johnson and Mendenhall, has suggested accent colors, one for each floor, based upon a scientific progression of color values. Thus, the first floor will be yellow; the second floor, ochre; the third, olive green; the fourth, light green; the fifth, dark green; the sixth, aqua blue; the seventh, light blue; the eighth, dark blue; the ninth, purple; the tenth, light purple; the eleventh, dark red; the twelth, red; the thirteenth, dark orange; the fourteenth, orange; and the fifteenth, yellow again. How much of the accent color will actually be used on each floor is still being decided. Carpeting throughout the office areas will be the same - a neutral brown.

New furnishings are planned for the entire building, and DUSAF is taking bids now for the first phase. Delivery dates will be a large factor in determining moving dates. Commented George Poddy of DUSAF, "We've all worked very closely together - NAL, DUSAF, and the interior design consultants - to make this a functionally and aesthetically coordinated installation. I think it's a very exciting one."

The location of offices in the building is being discussed now and is still subject to change. The floor numbering system is in the European style, with the so-called first floor actually on the second level of the building. Don Getz gave a capsule description of the plans for some of the floors:

The ground floor, which has a high ceiling, will be used as heavy laboratory and shop space. The cafeteria kitchen will also be located there. The main entrance to the building, with a receptionist to greet visitors, will be on the first floor. The cafeteria, perhaps open 24 hours daily if there is a need for it, will be in the south portion of that floor. The west wing will probably contain a model and exhibit center, and possibly, a small stationer's-newspaper stand. The most striking feature of the first floor is the atrium in its center. There you'll be able to sit in or stroll through the garden-like atmosphere and watch the jets passing overhead through the skylight. A Laboratory Operations Center will be located in the east wing.

Looking northeast from the Cross Gallery toward the Central Laboratory
Looking northeast from the Cross Gallery toward the Central Laboratory

The roof of the auditorium is accessible from the first floor; in good weather, it will surely prove a pleasant place for gathering. The reflecting pool in its center was included for both economic and aesthetic reasons.

Personnel Services - Personnel, EEO, Public Information, Medical Offices, etc., will occupy both wings of the second floor. A comfortable lounge is planned for the area at the south end which connects the two wings. "One of the problems of a scientific laboratory is communication and cross-fertilization of ideas. A pleasant place to go for coffee and a chat may encourage more of that," commented Don Getz. "CERN has a wonderful coffee lounge, one which we'd like to emulate. Unfortunately, we don't have surroundings to compete with the Alps."

The Library and the Physics Department theorists will be on the third floor, in the south and east wings, respectively. The rest of the third floor space is not allocated yet.

The Director's Office and conference rooms will probably be on the fourth floor, in the south portion overlooking the Cross Gallery. The balance of this floor is still vacant.

Both wings of the fifth floor are given over to money matters - the business office, payroll and accounting, contracting, purchasing, and the legal office.

The AEC will have its offices in a portion of the east wing of the-sixth floor, but the rest of the space has not been assigned yet.

The west half of the seventh and eighth floors will be used for computers for analysis of experimental results, as well as the data link to Argonne. Present plans call for the installation of the 6600 computer, coming from Berkeley in spring, 1973.

Plans for the rest of the building are still too tentative to discuss. One entire floor or equivalent space on two floors, will be occupied by Technical Services - plant operations, modifications, drafting, and the like, but the exact location hasn't been decided. Space for the Physics Department, Research Services and other Laboratory Sections, is still in the planning stages, but "anyone whose work makes it necessary to be in the building will have space available," The building is planned for a maximum capacity of 1200 people.

There is no need to fear that the Village, such an important part of NAL's development, will become a Ghost Town once the Central Laboratory is completed. Some of its buildings, those north of Neuqua, the Director's Complex, and possibly some others, will continue to be used as laboratory space for visitors and some NAL personnel.

In addition, the Laboratory has asked the AEC for permission to spend some of the $250 million authorized for construction and development of the site to convert some of the houses back into quarters for short-term visitors to the site.

All in all, it should be an exciting Spring around NAL!

Source: The Village Crier Vol. 5 No. 8, February 22, 1973

THE LAST BUCKET OF CEMENT GOES UP

Click on the Photograph for More InformationIn the old country - Sweden, that is - they used a cedar tree, the symbol of" strength, but Corbetta Construction Company, the firm building Phase II of the Central Laboratory, chose instead an American flag for the traditional "topping out" ceremony which signified that the last bucket of cement had been poured into the top of the sixteenth floor of the building.

The ceremony, which took place shortly after 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 5, 1973 was attended by only a handful of hardy souls who were brave enough to climb the ladders which led up the last windy 30 feet to the top of the roof. Among others, they included NAL Director Robert R. Wilson, DUSAF Project Manager E. Parke Rohrer, and Corbetta Construction Company job superintendent Kenneth Monson. The flag located on the East Tower of the building, rises 10 feet above the 240-foot structure. It will remain there until NAL officially takes over the building from Corbetta later this year.

According to John Schroeder, Mechanical Coordinator for Corbetta, there are about 27,000 yards of concrete in the building. He estimates that only about 2000 more yards will be needed to complete the main entrance and some other portions of the lower levels.

The last bucket of cement is guided into place by the Corbetta Construction Company crew. Crane operator on the ground receives his instructions via the radio held by the man second from left NAL Director Robert R. Wilson (L) lends a hand at the final stages of the operation. DUSAF Project Manager E. Parke Rohrer (center) and Corbetta Job Superintendent Kenneth Monson are with him
The last bucket of cement is guided into place by the Corbetta Construction Company crew. Crane operator on the ground receives his instructions via the radio held by the man second from left NAL Director Robert R. Wilson (L) lends a hand at the final stages of the operation. DUSAF Project Manager E. Parke Rohrer (center) and Corbetta Job Superintendent Kenneth Monson are with him

Photos by Tim Fielding, NAL

After the formalities, the men returned to the first floor of the building, where Corbetta Company officials hosted an informal champagne party. In congratulating the crews. Dr. Wilson remarked, "We of NAL hope to make a major contribution to our country's knowledge here. This fine building will constantly remind us of the contribution you have made."

Source: The Village Crier Vol. 5 No. 14, April 12, 1973

Press Release

OFFICE LANDSCAPING

Much interest is being expressed around the Laboratory in the open office or office landscaping concept, which is being used in designing portions of the interior of the Central Laboratory. At the moment, according to Assistant Director Donald R. Getz, the Business Administration, Personnel Services, and Technical Services sections will work in space designed in this way. How other areas of the building will be arranged is still under discussion.

Of using the open office concept at NAL, George Doddy, DUSAF Coordinator, remarked, "It's an environment which will really expand the individual's appreciation of the space in which he works. He'll have privacy within his work area, and yet a feeling of spaciousness as he moves away from it. The views throughout the building are fantastic. The variety of arrangements will eliminate any feeling of regimentation."

Employees interested in seeing just how an open office design works might take the tour of the open office area of

Source: The Village Crier Vol. 5 No. 14, April 12, 1973

 

THERE'S NEW PEOPLE IN THE CENTRAL LABORATORY BUILDING

J. Peoples (L), L. Read (Proton Section) enter by south door of Central Lab Ginny Linguist (Neutrino Section) now on second floor Dean Lee (L), Ron Currier, 3rd floor. Proton Section
J. Peoples (L), L. Read (Proton Section) enter by south door of Central Lab Ginny Linguist (Neutrino Section) now on second floor Dean Lee (L), Ron Currier, 3rd floor. Proton Section

A new phase of NAL development opened when about 60 staff members of the Proton and Neutrino sections moved into the west wing of the second and third floors of the Central Laboratory and became the first of the occupants of the upper floors of the building. Laboratory facilities of the Proton section have been set up on the ground floor. John Barry, building coordinator, and the staffs of Technical Services, Plant Services and Engineering, arranged for space layout, phone service and temporary electrical connections so that the groups were able to begin work immediately after the move. The cafeteria in the building has already started to accommodate the increasing luncheon volumn. Heating, cooling, elevator facilities and other permanent amenities will follow during the coming months.

The move in many ways parallels the first move of NAL employees to the NAL Village in 1968, when ingenuity and dedication enabled the NAL staff to forge a working organization in the Village for the construction of the world's largest accelerator while school buses were picking up children who were still residents of the Village of Weston. Those were interesting times for Laboratory employees, and the new phase in the Central Laboratory will no doubt be remembered as a similar time in retrospect. Many employees can recall the red and white striped tent with picnic tables used as a conference room; the delights and disasters of the first air building, the pigeons in the first Users meeting in The Village Barn, all of which have become pleasant, or at least unusual, memories in the NAL history book.

In reviewing the latest move, comments were heard from all sides. Don Getz, Assistant Director, was reminded of an ancient Chinese curse which says, "...may you always live in interesting times..." John Peoples, head of the Proton section, commented on the move, "It was very well planned and executed. We were able to go right to work the next day and we function very satisfactorily in the new quarters."

Through the glass sides of the "high rise" building, the view of "Big Woods," the graceful curve of the new entrance road, and the reflecting pond, over and beyond the remaining clutter of construction equipment, give promise of the new perspectives that will come to employees and visitors as they occupy the new structure.

L. Livingston (L), R. Cudzewicz, Proton Secton Proton's Bettie Howe (L), Alice Lengvenis Neutrino's Homer Clover, (L) Bill Williams, George Zibrun
L. Livingston (L), R. Cudzewicz, Proton Secton Proton's Bettie Howe (L), Alice Lengvenis Neutrino's Homer Clover, (L) Bill Williams, George Zibrun

Photos by Tim Fielding, NAL

Source: The Village Crier Vol. 5 No. 21, June 7, 1973

CENTRAL LABORATORY GREENING CONTINUES

Courtyard improvements will complete Central Laboratory Cross Gallery Area
Courtyard improvements will complete Central Laboratory Cross Gallery Area

Conversion of the Central Laboratory parking areas continued this fall as Site Services proceeded with a planting and improvement program. The dust and gravel will disappear, replaced by a paved roadway and pleasant outdoor lounge facilities.

On the west side of the Central Laboratory landscaping of an irregular-shaped island in the center of the largest parking area will relieve the asphalt expanse. Among the large trees planted there were sugar maple, red maple, redbud crab, and Austrian pine. Some tall hedge buckthorn will appear. Shrubs planted include golden drop cinquefoil, bottle brush buckeye, and dwarf-winged euonymous. Another new addition in this area will be several hundred spring bulbs.

The substantial grading and soil preparation going on in the courtyard between the Central Laboratory and the Cross Gallery resulted in a major facelift for this vital area. (See drawing above.) Parking returned here, surrounded by a landscaped courtyard.

The ground immediately around the Auditorium Building was landscaped In a more formal manner with year-around-coloring plants. The Transfer Hall, Control Room, and Linac Galleries were bordered by hedgerows and grassed areas. The resulting shaded areas contain benches in the corners for employee and visitor enjoyment.

In the front of the Central Laboratory the planting of low shrubs in the shape of the Fermilab logo is clearly visible from the observation area of the 15th floor.

Source: The Village Crier Vol. 7 No. 36, September 11, 1975