by Barbara Black
Robert Roy, Vice-Dean
of Planning for the Faculty of Arts and Science, is excited by the prospect
of housing all of the Facultys science departments under one roof.
Increasingly, the trend in science is towards multidisciplinary
research, and you find people working together around themes, he
said. The chemists are talking to the biologists, and the biologists
are talking to the psychologists. And of course, everybody wants to talk
to the people in genomics.
Currently, most of Concordias science departments and research centres
are divided among the downtown Hall Building, which opened in 1965, and
Loyolas aging Drummond Science Building, which was built in 1961.
The new Science Complex, set to be fully operational by September 2003,
will house the Departments of Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Exercise
Science, Physics and a major component of Psychology, as well as the Science
College, the Centre for Structural and Functional Genomics, the Centre
for Studies in Behavioural Neurobiology and several smaller research centers
and support facilities.
Rising five storeys above ground with two basement levels, the complex
will cover 33,000 square metres, roughly half the size of the Hall Building.
It will also usher in a new era for sciences at the university, with spacious
corridors, plenty of offices and modern laboratories designed and equipped
to meet the needs of science instruction and research in the 21st century,
When our current science buildings were built more than 35 years
ago, they were designed with a heavy orientation towards teaching and
only a minor orientation towards research, and the balance at Concordia
has basically reversed since then. He joined the Department of Biology
The general trend in science teaching has been to move from what
tended to be descriptive study to more emphasis on experimental work,
which requires specialized facilities and increasingly sophisticated equipment.
The new complex is also being designed with the latest security features
in mind. A series of service corridors will run along the back of each
laboratory and link directly to the freight elevator, enabling researchers
and technicians to transport chemicals and biological materials away from
The availability of offices for all graduate students and postdoctoral
researchers will also contribute to the safety of the building, Roy said,
pointing out that it will reduce congestion in laboratories. We
want people out of the labs when they are not doing research, he
said. They should be doing their computer work and paperwork in
The Faculty has hired 105 full-time professors over the last four years,
including 31 in the science disciplines, and there are plans to hire at
least another 100 over the next four years. Roy, like the rest of Concordias
scientists, is looking forward to welcoming them into a building suited
to their needs.
We have designed the Science Complex so that it includes a lot of
lounge space and common rooms. We want people from different departments
sitting together over a cup of coffee and talking to each other about
The original version of this article appeared in the September issue
of Panorama, the Arts and Science newsletter.