Brookhaven National Laboratories



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Upton, NY

April 2012

400,000 sq. ft.

General Contractor

LEED Gold Certified
American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Building Project of the Year, 2013


Torcon was the General Contractor for a new medium energy electron storage ring for Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, NY.  The synchrotron light source facility, known by the name of NSLS II, is a cyclic particle accelerator that uses magnetic and electric fields in combination to create extremely high energy travelling beams of X-ray and ultra-violet light.  It is the second of its kind for Brookhaven. The state of the art, half mile round ring, promises to bring ground breaking studies in many areas of science.  With an x-ray beam 10,000 times stronger than the first Light Source, NSLS II will serve the cutting-edge scientific community with accuracy on the scale of a nanometer to study clean energy, molecular electronics, and high-temperature superconductors among other endeavors.

The project was constructed in five segments that make up the 278,000 sq. ft. Ring Building, which will house an on-grade concrete ring tunnel that serves as the conduit through which the high energy light beams travel, and from which beam lines are directed out on to the Experimental Floor where the actual scientific studies are conducted. Each of the five segments of the Ring Building, known as Pentants, was constructed in a manner so they could be sequentially turned over to Brookhaven over the last twelve months of the project, thereby allowing the Owner’s extensive installation of scientific equipment to proceed early while construction was ongoing. Torcon’s scope also included other contiguous buildings an Injection Building that housed the linear accelerator, an RF Building that contained a large radiation proof testing structure, as well as five two-story service buildings containing mechanical and electrical equipment that served each of the five Pentants as totally self-supporting building elements.  Given the miles of piping, ductwork conduit and specialty gas systems that circled this facility, as well as the extensive amount of scientific equipment and services that were provided directly by BNL,  BIM techniques were strongly employed by Torcon throughout the MEP coordination process in order to avoid disruptions in the field and accommodate the needs of the eventual scientific users.  

A special feature of the project involved pouring high-density concrete in the Ring Tunnel areas near the Injection Building, where radiation in the Ring Tunnel would be at its highest intensity.  Despite winter storms and freezing temperatures, the pouring of over 40,000 cubic yards of concrete, much of it in the critically dimensioned, radiation proof Ring Tunnel was kept on schedule.

Designed by HDR Architecture in conjunction with an expansive team of BNL managers, architects, engineers and specialists, the complex scientific design is also environmentally friendly, reaching LEED Gold certification.  Building features such as low-flow water fixtures, automatic lighting controls, and a cooling tower in lieu of mechanical refrigeration give this project top LEED status.

A Look Inside the Ring
Completion of the Ring