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MUN Core Science Facility (CSF) Design Inspired by Icebergs

Hanging an 82-foot blue whale skeleton in one of the two 98-foot high atria of the Core Science Facility (CSF) at the Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) will mark the completion of a three-year construction project at MUN in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Led by MGAC Senior Project Manager Samuel Hakemi, our Canadian project team has just surpassed the midway mark for project management on a substantial portion of the MUN’s multi-year infrastructure renewal plan.

Through this partnership, MGAC’s primary focus is overseeing the replacement of the core elements of an aging portion of the science and chemistry building, part of Faculty of Science, and expanding the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences. MUN’s ultimate goal is to leverage these improvements to attract researchers, lead new research initiatives, and increase student enrollment.

As described by MUN, the 480,000-square-foot space is earmarked for teaching and research laboratories, associated offices, and other shelled-in space reserved for future partner build-out. The research and teaching space will be occupied primarily by the Departments of Biochemistry, Biology and Chemistry in the Faculty of Science, and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

Labs from the Core Research Equipment and Instrument Training (CREAIT) Network of MUN will occupy highly specialized and sophisticated research labs. One of the most notable being the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance technology lab, which will be part of the “Science on Display” concept adopted by the CSF project. The CSF building will also house MUN’s Cryogenic Facility, which produces liquid nitrogen and helium.  The new “shell spaces” will provide 148,000-square feet for research partnerships with likeminded organizations and universities – the Ocean Frontier Institute was the first to commit. The project is scheduled for completion in 2020 and live updates are regularly shared by the University.

MGAC’s Samuel Hakemi giving local politicians and press a tour.

The CSF’s unlikely design inspiration? Icebergs, which are regular visitors from the Arctic to the island during summer months. Large, majestic, and not entirely visible (in fact, nearly 80% of icebergs remain underwater), icebergs draw many similarities to the Core Science building. The work, research, and technology performed and developed here are largely invisible to the public, but are immensely important and impactful.

Samuel joined MGAC in January 2014 to oversee MGAC’s Canadian outpost (initially established in 2013), but in December 2017 was joined by a handful of new team members. This newly expanded Toronto footprint is meant to accommodate Canada’s growing construction industry. Learn more about our Canadian expansion here.

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