Bowen Science Building

Bowen Science Building

Bowen Science Building

What You'll Find Here

  • Anatomy and Cell Biology Department
  • Biochemistry Department
  • Microbiology Department
  • Molecular Physiology and Biophysics Department
  • Pharmacology Department
  • Classrooms and faculty offices


51 Newton Road
Formal Name: 
Bowen Science Building
Walter Netsch of Skidmore Owings and Merrill, Chicago, Illinois

Howard R. Bowen’s presidency (1964–1969) saw major investments in the sciences, including the construction of the Spence Laboratories of Psychology and Van Allen Hall. A new home for basic sciences, which was later renamed after Bowen, was planned during his administration and built under President Willard L. Boyd (1969– 1981). Funding for this project included a grant of $5.1 million from the National Science Foundation as part of a project to develop Centers of Excellence across the United States. Today the building hosts the most concentrated site of research on the campus.

Like the Lindquist Center and Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, Bowen Science Building is the work of Walter Netsch and expresses Field Theory, an experimental system developed by Netsch and used in the 1960s and 1970s to generate buildings entirely from their plans. According to Netsch, he wanted to create a “radical” building based on a series of octagons organized along an S-shaped spine and forming flexible laboratory pods. The building’s articulated frame structure, highlighted by the exterior’s brick infill, is spectacularly exposed at all six levels through the projecting center of the east façade.

The decision to make the Bowen Science Building’s structure visible extends inside where an Escher-like fantasy interior reveals the skeleton of the building. The building’s siting blocks the visual axis connecting Old Capitol to Medical Laboratories and General Hospital. As if in compensation, however, its exhaust towers acknowledge the vertical accents of the hospital’s venerable neo-Gothic tower.


The building is accessible to persons with disabilities.

The building is connected by accessible tunnels to both the Medical Laboratories and the Eckstein Medical Research Building. There is an accessible skywalk on the fourth floor which connects to the Eckstein Medical Research Building. In addition the west entrance accesses the building on level three near the auditoriums and is accessible via a short ramp and a power door operator. An additional accessible entrance is located on the north side of the building and is equipped with a power opener. The Quad Ravine pedestrian walkway provides an accessible connecting route to the first floor at the plaza located on the southeast side of the building.
The nearest designated accessible parking is located in the Newton Road Parking Ramp. The path of travel to BSB is via the Medical Education Research Facility.
Accessible restrooms are located near the auditoriums on the third floor. There is also an accessible female restroom located on first floor near the southeast entrance as well as an accessible male restroom on fourth floor adjacent to the 600 core.
The building is equipped with six elevators all of which are usable by individuals in wheelchairs.