U.S. Department of Energy, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory


The Molecular Foundry

Berkeley, California

94,500 GSF, 8,780 M2

Architecture, Interior Architecture, Programming

Sustainable Programs
LEED for New Construction & Major Renovations (NC) LEED-NC-Gold

Merit Award -- Energy and Sustainability

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“The Foundry is far and away the most popular building on campus, and is bringing researchers together to interact exactly as we intended.”

—Jim Krupnick, Director, Office of Institutional Assurance


Groundbreaking science benefits from powerful design, as this project for LBNL, a collaborative and interdisciplinary research environment for the nanosciences, demonstrates. SmithGroupJJR drew on the spectacular setting for inspiration: a steep canyonside, descending into San Francisco Bay.

The simple rectangular block, with recessed window walls, sits atop a stone plinth creating a remarkable cantilever that defies the terrain. Inside, the research scientists occupying the myriad laboratories, utilizing the Class 1000/100 clean room suite or employing the electron microscopy imaging suite enjoy revelatory views of the surroundings.

But the Foundry is not merely fanciful and dramatic, as the organizational scheme meticulously delivers the fundamentals for laboratory research. The programming also links offices, labs and meeting areas in ways that promote interaction among departments and disciplines.

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A Cutting-Edge Lab for Nanotechnology
Molecular Foundry is featured as a GreenSource Magazine cover story.