Art & Architecture

Since the lab's earliest days, Fermilab's art and architecture have been an important part of its identity. The lab's first director, Robert R. Wilson, was a skilled sculptor, and his conditions for accepting the position included that the new lab feature "good architecture" and that he be given broad control over the design of the lab's buildings. One of his first priorities as lab director was to hire an artist, Angela Gonzales, to shape the lab's aesthetic identity. On this page, you can explore historical articles and other information related to the lab's art and architecture.

Remember that the historical articles are reproduced directly from the original lab publications and reflect the state of the lab and scientific knowledge at the times they were written. Check the dates on the articles to place them in their proper context.


Angela Gonzalez

Angela Gonzales was one of the earliest employees hired by first lab director Robert R. Wilson, and her artistic vision shaped the lab's visual identity. She selected the bold blues, oranges, and reds of the lab's color palette, designed the lab's iconic logo, and created intricate covers for the lab's publications, among many other things. You can learn more about Gonzales in the links below.


The lab's first director, Robert R. Wilson, was a skilled sculptor, and he brought his aesthetic sensibilities to the new lab. The lab features many permanent pieces of distinctive sculpture. You can learn more about sculptures by Wilson and others at the lab in the articles below.

Art Gallery

Shortly after the completion of Wilson Hall in 1973, the space originally known as the second floor lounge began being used for temporary exhibits of artwork. The earliest recorded exhibit of artwork on the second floor lounge was an exhibit of work by Sir Jacob Epstein in April and May 1975. Saundra Poces became the gallery director in 1980, at which time the space officially became known as the Fermilab Art Gallery. It currently hosts several exhibits a year.


Wilson Hall

Robert Rathbun Wilson Hall, the central laboratory building for Fermilab, is the heart of the 6,800 acre site. Following an architectural design competition among the DUSAF firms, it was built between 1971 and 1974. The design was acknowledged in 1975 with an award from the Society of American Registered Architects. The building was named for Wilson on September 18, 1980.

Geodesic Dome

The Geodesic Dome stands atop a building originally called the Bubble Chamber Building in the Neutrino Area of the lab's Fixed Target Area. The panels of the dome were originally constructed using soft drink cans in 1971. In 1982, the dome was clad in copper sheeting.

Proton Pagoda

The Proton Pagoda was built to house the control room for the Proton Area of the lab's Fixed Target Areas. Its design was based on a rejected design for the lab's central laboratory. It was constructed in 1976 and features a double-helix staircase.

Meson Laboratory

The Meson Laboratory was constructed during 1972 and features a distinctive blue and orange roof constructed of corrugated steel arches.