January 27, 2022

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Breaks Ground on New Chemistry Building in R1 Research Complex

In a highly anticipated moment for the university, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee recently broke ground on its new chemistry building this week.

The new four-story, 163,400 sf building will serve as a gateway to career opportunities for students. As home to the chemistry department—a key contributor to the university’s R1 designation for research excellence—the state-of-the-art facility will support teachers in building the deep research skills employers seek in graduates.

“Chemistry underlies nearly every growth industry, and we know that STEM jobs are growing faster than non-STEM jobs,” said UWM Chancellor Mark Mone. “Employers need graduates who have the opportunity to conduct practical research and develop skills to solve problems. We are delighted to begin work on a new, modern chemistry building that will better prepare our students for the multitude of opportunities open to them.”

The project focuses on student collaboration and connection to prepare students for real-world engineering, STEM and health science careers. The building’s collaboration spaces include integrated whiteboards, a variety of seating and postures, and both intimate and larger spaces. The way the students will interact in the space directly informed the design of the interior and exterior of the building, which prioritizes transparency, natural light and clear views of science in action.

Charles Smith, Michael Kmak and Brett Lawrence from our Chicago office attended the groundbreaking, which took place inside the adjacent Kenwood Interdisciplinary Research Complex amid sub-zero temperatures. Guests enjoyed a toast of smoking lemonade—with the help of carbon dioxide cubes—to mark the start of construction. The building is scheduled to be completed in late 2023 or early 2024. When completed, the new building replace the current chemistry building that was built in 1972. Local CBS 58 covered the event.

CannonDesign is leading this project in partnership with Kahler Slater.