Beyond serving faculty in engineering, physics, and chemistry, the Singh Center was built to spark interdisciplinary inquiry. An inviting gateway at the eastern entrance to campus, the Center is already opening doors to new research throughout Penn's 12 schools.
"The Singh Center's facilities will allow researchers from a range of fields to analyze structure in the finest possible detail, from anthropologists working with ancient artifacts to biomedical researchers developing therapeutic molecules," said Steven Fluharty, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. "Its impact will be felt far beyond the field of nanotechnology."
The Singh Center will also help Penn-developed technology move from the lab to the marketplace via connections with local industry development leaders such as the Nanotechnology Institute and Ben Franklin Technology Partners, as well as Penn's internal commercialization engine, the Center for Technology Transfer. Existing industry members, from pharmaceutical companies to computer chip designers, will also make use of the Singh Center's characterization and fabrication facilities.
"The Singh Center is one of the few places in the world where you can find this kind of equipment and expertise in the heart of a major metropolitan city," said Mark Allen, the Singh Center's scientific director. "In addition to enabling world-class research and providing outstanding educational opportunities in nanotechnology, we aim to be a two-way street for entrepreneurship and innovation."
The building was designed by Weiss/Manfredi Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism (http://www.weissmanfredi.com/), a multidisciplinary design practice based in New York City. Founded by Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, Weiss is the Graham Chair Professor of Architecture in Penn'sSchool of Design. The team's challenge was to create a building that evoked the mathematical precision of nanotechnology while being integrated into the large scale of Penn's urban campus. The results have been met with resounding praise from the architecture world: The Singh Center has already won a 2013 American Architecture Award and a 2013 International Architecture Award (http://chi-athenaeum.org/intarch/), presented by the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.
The Singh Center was made possible by a $20 million gift by Krishna P. Singh. Singh is the founder, president and chief executive officer of Holtec International in Marlton, N.J., an energy-technology company he established in 1986. He is a member of Penn'sBoard of Trustees and the Engineering Board of Overseers and has served as an adjunct professor of mechanical engineering at Penn. He received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering in 1972 from Penn and a master's in engineering mechanics in 1969, also from Penn.