UMN Physics and Nanotechnology

  • Location: Minneapolis, MN
  • Architect: Alliiance and Zimmer Gunsul Frasca
  • Client: University of Minnesota

Project Highlights

  • Research laboratories, clean rooms, and high-bay lab
  • Vibration control
  • 5 levels, 144,000 square feet


As part of its plan to revitalize and expand two key areas of scientific endeavor, the University of Minnesota commissioned the construction of this new 144,000 square foot facility, which houses the University College of Science and Engineering’s School of Physics and Astronomy and the Minnesota Nano Center. Spaces inside the five-level building include research laboratories, clean rooms, a high-bay lab for large scale physics experiments, meeting areas, and offices. Due to the program’s high sensitivity to vibrations, reinforced concrete was used throughout the facility with typical floors consisting of 25” depths, including a 12” minimum width joist and 20” deep wide-module “pan” formed beam supported by a 48” wide x 25” deep girder. The “wide module” pan and joist forming system provides excellent resistance to vibration and flexibility for current and future penetrations. Wind loads are resisted by cast-in-place concrete shear walls with thicknesses approximately 12” to 16”. The building’s foundation is spread footings.