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Ginsburg Center Project FAQs

Caltech is preparing to build the Dr. Allen and Charlotte Ginsburg Center for Quantum Precision Measurement. It will be the first center to unite researchers in precision measurement, quantum information, and the detection of gravitational waves, or ripples in space-time. Researchers in the Ginsburg Center will explore quantum phenomena across all scales and invent measurement instruments with unprecedented sensitivity. The resulting discoveries are expected to yield insights into natural processes and lead to new technologies.

Basic Information

Where will it be? The new building will stand on the north side of California Boulevard between the Ronald and Maxine Linde Hall of Mathematics and Physics and the George W. Downs Laboratory of Physics and Charles C. Lauritsen Laboratory of High Energy Physics, where a physics building was demolished in 2016. This location helps unite a diverse community of theorists and experimentalists devoted to understanding quantum systems and their potential uses.

When will construction take place? Through the end of 2025. Typical construction hours will be 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. (Over the course of the project, some activity may take place on weekends and as late as 7 p.m. on weekdays, within City of Pasadena guidelines.)

Building Design

What will the building look like? The building's preliminary concept features a transparent façade inflected inward on its south and west sides to suggest a prism or the bending of space-time, an allusion to research that will take place in the building. Behind that evocative façade, the building's street-facing south side will feature collaboration areas, while offices will line the quiet interior sides. Parts of the ground floor will be recessed to give space to lush plantings and outdoor mingling areas. Glass panel doors and a breezeway, connecting to an adjacent seminar room, will enable indoor-outdoor flow. While much of the new building is conceptualized as a nearly rectangular column proportionate to other campus buildings and made of similar materials, basement laboratories will be expansive, stretching west under the historic campus entrance on the north side of California Boulevard.

Who are the architects? The selected architectural firm is HOK, who designed the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., and other notable buildings worldwide, including research buildings such as the University of Glasgow Advanced Research Centre, LG Science Park in Seoul, South Korea, and several facilities for the fields of life sciences, biomedical discovery, and medicine.

How are sustainability and our environment being considered? This project aims for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. Sustainable design is a specialty of the architects, HOK.

How is HOK taking the aesthetic surroundings into consideration and connecting this modern building to the historic campus? The design of the new building complements the scale, size, and architectural patterns and rhythms of nearby buildings, corresponding most closely on the sides that face them. The building's eastern façade will have a similar color and material as the neighboring laboratory.

Anticipated Disturbances, Traffic, and Parking

What disturbances can I anticipate and what steps is Caltech taking to minimize them? Though the project necessarily will cause noise, dust, odors, vibration, and parking and traffic impacts, we work to minimize disturbance. The most noise is expected the first three months of the project, when an old, thick concrete pad is demolished and the basement is dug.

Here are some of the ways we plan to minimize disturbance:

  • Shift California Boulevard lanes southward to maintain two-way traffic throughout the project.
  • Keep the air and streets clean by spraying down dust, rinsing truck tires, and using truck turnouts and exit plates (bumps designed to knock dirt off of truck tires).
  • Monitor vibration and work with nearby building managers if vibration exceeds an agreed-on threshold.
  • Provide information early and often, publishing timely information on the websites and newsletters listed below. Thoughts shared by neighbors and locals at listening sessions and public meetings in 2023 have shaped this project. If you have questions or concerns, please email or call one of the contacts listed at the bottom of this page.
  • Invite managers of neighboring campus buildings to participate in construction update meetings at least monthly, and post big-picture news shared at those meetings.
  • Abide by City of Pasadena construction guidelines to protect quality of life.

Where can I find updates?

Which paths and walkways will be closed?

Closures depend on the stage of the project.

  • The first two months of construction, only the passageway between Linde and the site and the fire road between the site and Downs-Lauritsen will be closed.
  • Then, through project completion, additionally, the sidewalk on the north side of California Boulevard will be closed west of Arden Road to the nearest lighted intersection, as will the paths and area between Bridge and Linde. People who want to go from the south side of California Boulevard to the east side of campus should cross at Arden Road. People heading for the west side of campus will continue to cross at S. Campus Road and then detour to the west of the project site.
  • After construction, pedestrian access will be better than it is now, with wheelchair-accessible paths to the arcades and reflecting pool near Caltech Hall.

How will parking be affected?

  • Several parking spaces will be temporarily unavailable on the north and south sides of California Boulevard.
  • Construction workers will park on the bottom floor of the California parking structure.
  • Parking structures on Wilson and Holliston Avenues may become busier.

How will roads and commutes near campus be affected? Lanes on California Boulevard just west of Arden Road will be shifted south for about a block. We expect California Boulevard and other roads around campus to remain open throughout this project.

Will the project affect Children's Center at Caltech drop-off and pick-up? The team is working directly with adjacent stakeholders to minimize impacts.

Will the project affect Polytechnic School drop-off and pick-up? We do not expect the project to disrupt Poly drop-off and pick-up.

Which roads will trucks use? To access and leave the site, construction trucks will travel City-advised truck routes, heading to the site from the 210 freeway on Hill Avenue. If you see construction trucks routinely using unapproved routes, please email neighbor@caltech.edu or dandc@caltech.edu so that we can alert the relevant subcontractor.

Where will materials be stored? Most materials will be stored offsite and moved to campus when needed.

Research, Utilities, and Deliveries

How will ongoing research be affected? We understand that sound and vibration could impact research in neighboring buildings. Therefore, we will continually monitor vibrations in nearby labs and buildings as the project progresses. In addition, our communication plan takes vibration into account and our monthly town halls will continue to coordinate with all interested parties.

How will building utilities be affected? We expect limited disruptions to utilities to the surrounding buildings; the project team will communicate with all divisions in advance to minimize impact to research and operations.

How will deliveries be affected? We are coordinating with Security, Operations & Services, and the construction team to provide alternative paths of travel for delivery access, including access to nearby loading docks and elevators.

Contacts

Who do I email or call to ask a question or report a concern?

Students, postdocs, faculty, or staff members with questions or concerns, please email Julia Ehlert, today@caltech.edu.

Neighbors with questions or concerns, please email Ann Motrunich, neighbor@caltech.edu.

If you have a safety-related question or concern, please submit it by completing this form, which automatically contacts Caltech's Environmental Health and Safety and Security staff. You may also call (626) 395-6727 or (626) 395-5000 outside of business hours.