R&D Science Center Construction

Barnard College is transforming Altschul Hall into the Roy and Diana Vagelos Science Center, a modern research and teaching facility that will provide community space to engage the broader Morningside Heights and Harlem communities with the sciences. The College will reimagine the R&D Sci-Center through a renovation of the existing spaces, an expansion northward, and an interconnection into and onto Milbank Hall. The restacking and expansion of the building will provide additional space for the Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Physics & Astronomy departments.

Mission of the R&D Science Center

  • Provide students and faculty with state-of-the-art science spaces and facilities that accommodate side-by-side faculty and student work
  • Modernize and double the the overall programmable science spaces in the R&D Center  
  • Emphasize that Barnard’s science teaching and research is outwardly focused, reflecting the world’s most pressing scientific problems, including climate change, precision medicine and bioinformatics, mental health and wellness, and science literacy
  • Promote women leaders in science research nationally and globally 
    Rendering of the R&D Science Center as seen from Claremont
    Rendering of the view from Claremont

    Project Specifics

    Rendering of the Science Commons space inside the R&D Science Center
    A view of the Science Commons
    • Architect: Perkins & Will
      Construction Manager: Pavarini McGovern
      Owner's Representative: Lehrer Cumming

    • The R&D Science Center will be devoted entirely to sciences, and will integrate other academic programs that have programmatic adjacencies to the sciences.  The new classrooms and layouts will provide more cross disciplinary intersections amongst departments.The Center will have 87,000 square-feet of programmable science space, effectively doubling the current space for the sciences
    • Updated spaces will feature contiguous teaching and labs to enhance our curriculum’s integrated research experiences
    • The R&D Science Center will connect to both the Milstein Center, where the growing Computer Science program is housed, and Milbank Hall and the Arthur Ross Greenhouse
    • The R&D Center will feature a Community Science Center, an open, inviting space where the College will:
      • Host science workshops for New York City children
      • Host engaging and interactive exhibits demonstrating scientific concepts
      • House Barnard programs like Science in the City, Math and the City, and the newly launched STEAM in the City, which are geared toward local K-12 students
      • Host rotating exhibits of both student and faculty research



    Fall Early work begins in Altschul Hall


    May Altschul Hall faculty and staff move to new spaces

    Summer Construction begins


    Official opening of the R&D Vagelos Science Center


    Rendering of an environmental science classroom inside the R&D Science Center
    Rendering of an environmental science classroom


    R&D Science Center as viewed from the courtyard

    Close-up view of the entrance from Claremont

    Inside the gateway

    Inside a seminar room

    To discuss additional philanthropic options related to the R&D Science Center renovation, please contact Kate Martinez, Associate Vice President for Development and Alumnae Relations, at (212) 853-8329 or kmartinez@barnard.edu.