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Auburn University expanded its footprint and opened its doors to a new facility in Huntsville on Tuesday with the celebration of the groundbreaking research and innovation campus.
The nine-acre property, located at 345 Voyager Way NW in Huntsville’s Cummings Research Park, is close to many defense and aerospace collaborators, as well as the Bridge Street commercial development and entrance Gate 9 of Redstone Arsenal.
The groundbreaking celebration follows the announcement in September of the university’s plan to build an engineering research station on the Gulf Coast at Orange Beach.
“Just as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin did in 1969, today is a monumental day for Auburn as we plant our flag in Huntsville,” said Steve Taylor, acting dean of Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. Auburn. “You could even say another eagle has landed.”
The property, which once housed LogiCore, is well equipped to support applied research and development work for Huntsville/Redstone customers, as well as to host alumni and development events. Designed to foster a new era of interagency and interdisciplinary collaboration needed to secure the nation into the next century, Auburn University’s research and innovation campus will serve as a multimillion-dollar, cutting-edge collaboration engine, center conference and research space that extends Auburn’s expertise and next-generation resources to defense, space and law enforcement agencies.
“Auburn University’s Research and Innovation Campus will be where today meets tomorrow,” said Auburn University President Christopher B. Roberts. “Huntsville has been and will continue to be one of the hotbeds for our graduates to work, for partnership with our faculty, and for exploration by our students. The facility will accelerate world-changing career relationships, not only through the opportunity for next-generation cross-domain collaboration between agencies, but by providing our partners with access to the most promising young minds in the world. ‘Auburn.
Experimentation with collocated labs will enable Auburn research professionals and students to conduct cutting-edge research and development across a range of technology readiness levels to help customers overcome challenges of national security, aerospace and biotechnology. These labs will facilitate the expansion to Huntsville of Auburn’s high-level research programs such as advanced manufacturing, additive manufacturing, biotechnology, quantum metrology, cybersecurity and critical infrastructure security and position, navigation and synchronization guaranteed. To elevate Auburn’s ability to conduct space research, facilities are available to be used as an operations center for NASA, Department of Defense, and private sector missions.
“As the largest city in the state, Huntsville is also dedicated to being a leader in employment and economic development,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “In defense, aerospace, law enforcement, biotechnology and other industries, Huntsville is quickly becoming a global leader in innovation, research and development as we let’s unite our rich intellectual capital with new opportunities, such as this partnership with Auburn University’s Research and Innovation Campus.”
Rose Allen, an industrial engineering graduate from Auburn in 1985, president of deciBel Research and former president of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce, also hosted Auburn University’s research and innovation campus in Rocket City.
“As president of deciBel Research and someone who has spent his entire career in space and defense, I have seen firsthand the impact that Auburn and its graduates have had on this community,” said Allen said. “It’s a special place made up of the nation’s brightest minds who are committed to making our world a better, safer place to live. And Huntsville just got better because Auburn is here.
Mike DeMaioribus, who retired from Dynetics in 2016 as executive vice president of business operations and is currently the District 8 representative on the Auburn University Board of Trustees, said he was thrilled to see Auburn expand its partnership with a community it has called home for more than 60 years.
“Our hope is that this facility will quickly become the primary connection for the Huntsville community to Auburn University and will be the destination of choice for government and industry entities in the region seeking to meet in an unbiased and trusted venue. for technical and other exchange meetings. events,” DeMaioribus said.
In addition to the research and technical aspects, the Auburn Research and Innovation Campus also features rotating exhibits from the university’s Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Arts and original works by renowned artist Gamaliel Rodríguez.
“In this building, we will also find boundless inspiration in humanity’s greatest achievements, as told, through art,” Roberts said. “This facility is for everyone…We hope you too will call the Auburn University Research and Innovation Campus in Huntsville.”
Bringing Art to Auburn’s Huntsville Campus
The Research and Innovation Campus is accented by more than 35 works of art from the collection of the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Arts, including new works by acclaimed artist Gamaliel Rodríguez.
This exhibition outreach initiative is the first in a series in development aimed at sharing the art collection at other sites on campus. Through this campus partnership, administrators seek to stimulate the exchange of ideas and enrich workplace culture by highlighting the intersection of arts, sciences and engineering.
“These parallel disciplines have resulted in the largest and most impressive advances in history,” said Aaron Levi Garvey, director of curatorial affairs for Janet L. Nolan at the Auburn Museum of Art. “This multi-phase exhibit, ‘Surface to Air,’ tells that story, beginning with humanity’s earliest innovations on earth to space and advancements yet to be discovered.”
The first phase includes works by Roger Brown, Enrique Martinez Celaya, Beverly Pepper, Maltby Sykes and Mildred Thompson. For its first commissioned artist, the museum selected Gamaliel Rodríguez, a US Army veteran who uses felt-tip pens and ballpoint pens to create photorealistic aerial views of industrial, military and civilian structures.
Focal points of the exhibition, a painting depicts the recognizable but reimagined landscape of the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. The second features the new facility with architectural modifications, including a rooftop greenhouse.
“From a real image, I start working, then I create my ideas, thinking about it from an imaginary point of view,” Rodríguez said. “Nanotechnology will be the future, so how can I make the building look futuristic? Technology and agriculture co-exist, it’s very ingrained in the history of the university. The building evolves with the environment.
Rodríguez said he studies plant life to pollinate hybrid species that only exist in the lush vegetation of his work.
“The third piece Auburn has acquired, masterfully drawn in pen and ink, pushes the boundaries of the medium,” said Levi Garvey. “With these ordinary materials, he explores memory, sense of place, and human advancements within engineering and science.”
Rodríguez will be featured in an upcoming group exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in November. His work is also collected by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the SCAD Museum of Art and the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico.
“Ahead of the museum’s 20th anniversary in 2023, we welcome partnerships to share the university’s art collection at other sites on campus,” said museum executive director Cindi Malinick. “Whether through tours of the Museum in Motion or extended loans like Huntsville, The Jule positions the collection as a campus resource for research, outreach and teaching.”
Located on the Auburn campus, the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art is the cultural heart of an Alabama public research institution serving students, faculty, and constituents throughout the Southeast. The University Art Collection includes works spanning the 17th and 21st centuries and consists of photographs, works on paper depicting the South, ceramics, and visionary Southern art.