University of Pennsylvania, High Bay BLAST Research Laboratory

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


University of Pennsylvania


1,200 sq.ft.

Total Cost


Completion Date


A team of international astronomers has developed the most highly sensitive telescope of its kind to be carried by balloon. BLAST, The Balloon-borne Large-Aperture Sub-millimeter Telescope, is helping researchers understand the formation and evolution of stars and galaxies.

The design for the BLAST Research Laboratory supports and accentuates the astronomers’ cycle of research and reconstruction. Scientists carefully assemble the telescope in the lab, regularly exposing it to the night sky for calibration with stars. A structural crane beam extends from the interior of the lab to the exterior, enabling the telescope to easily move outdoors for calibration. Motorized, 35-foot-high glass barn doors feature smaller operable doors in the upper halves that can be opened for calibration when weather conditions or the construction phase do not permit bringing the telescope outside. Once the telescope takes its balloon voyage and returns to Earth, it must be reconstructed in the laboratory before future missions.

The BLAST lab provides a home for research, fabrication and telescope display. Its simplicity of plan also enables it to be used for other research. The nearly cube-shaped design features a 42-foot-high bay space for work on other large, suspended equipment. A distinctive showcase window affords passersby a visual learning experience as they see astronomers at work.

Additional Information

Cost per Sq Ft


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Product suppliers specified

Walls/Wall Materials by Kingspan
Paint/Wallcoverings by PPG Industries
Roofing by Carlisle SynTec
Windows by Kawneer
Lighting & Accessories by Simkar
Insulation by Kingspan
HVAC Units by McQuay
HVAC Control Devices by Johnson Controls
Draperies/Blinds by MechoShade
Lighting & Accessories by Philips
Lighting & Accessories by Day-Brite Lighting
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