Harris Celebrates Grand Opening of Chu Hall at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

Project management of leading solar research center was a worthy challenge

California Engineering Services Education Ribbon Cutting Program + Construction Management

  • Chu Hall / Solar Energy Research Center
  • People gathering for the ribbon cutting
  • Steven Chu speaking at the ribbon cutting ceremony
  • Harris Project Manager, Jules P. Feher and CEO Lisa Larrabee at the ribbon cutting

    Berkeley, CA -

    Representatives from Harris & Associates joined science dignitaries on May 26 to cut the ribbon on Chu Hall, a solar research facility that promises to change the world with its renewable energy discoveries. Harris proudly served as project manager for this cutting-edge structure, from design review through construction and project closeout.

    Originally dubbed the Solar Energy Research Center, the $56.9 million, three-story, 40,000 square-foot building—part of the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory—was renamed in honor of Steven Chu, the former U.S. Energy Secretary and Nobel laureate whose vision helped inspire its creation.

    Within Chu Hall, teams of scientists will work to harness the sun's power the way plants do: not to simply generate electricity, but to actually create carbon-neutral fuels that could change the entire paradigm of powering the world. "The risks of climate change are very, very real, but the solution …has to be [economically] competitive with fossil fuel," said Steven Chu at the ceremony. Recent technological advances are bringing this dream closer to reality; a low-power prototype is already functioning.

    Making the building a reality proved a formidable challenge for Harris. The building sits atop a hill on a high-security campus, hemmed in by other buildings and another construction site only 15 feet away. Senior Project Manager Jules Feher and his team also had to account for vibration-sensitive research equipment using innovations such as an oversized first-level floor plate, with isolation joints on all four sides.

    "Research facilities like this come with unique challenges," said Feher. "It was an honor to work with such an experienced team on a building that will do such important work for our planet."

    Learn more

    About Harris

    Harris is a 100% employee-owned company focused on solving today's complex challenges in planning, construction and design. Our offices and project sites span the West Coast in California, Nevada and Washington with a staff of nearly 200 employee-owners. We focus on serving clients in the municipal, water, transportation, and education markets.

    For More Information

    Nathan M. Couch / Director, Marketing + Communications

    925.827.4900, ext. 1125

    Download the Harris Media Kit