Margulies Perruzzi Architects Completes Design Of University Of Massachusetts Lowell NERVE Center

Margulies Perruzzi Architects Completes Design of University of Massachusetts Lowell NERVE Center

Margulies Perruzzi Architects Completes Design of University of Massachusetts Lowell NERVE Center

Robotics center is the first comprehensive testing facility in the Northeast

BOSTON – June 24, 2013 – Margulies Perruzzi Architects (MPA), one of Boston’s most innovative architectural and interior design firms, today announced that it has completed the design of the University of Massachusetts Lowell New England Robotics Validation and Experimentation (NERVE) Center, a new 10,000 SF robotics lab and testing facility that is being hailed as the nation’s most advanced facility for robotics testing to date and the first of its kind in the Northeast.

“The NERVE Center is a cutting-edge testing facility that will improve the development of robotics systems by both academic researchers and private industry, and it is very exciting to see the lab up and running,” said Beth Rubenstein, director of campus planning and development at UMass Lowell. “MPA’s design of this lab affords us the utmost flexibility in the types of technologies we can test, and we applaud the team effort in seeing this project to fruition.”  

Located at 1001 Pawtucket Boulevard in Lowell, Mass., the NERVE Center resides in an 800,000 SF R&D building owned and managed by Winstanley Enterprises, LLC of Concord Massachusetts. The new lab space features open, high bay space for robotics testing and includes a machine shop for fabrication of testing obstacles and equipment, an open office area, and a 9,000 SF test range. The test range includes demountable obstacles such as ramps, stairs, debris piles, sand traps, a water testing area made up of a 500 SF fording basin, a series of splash pools, and a 500 SF rain test sprinkler area. Features include obstacle courses that use wood, sand, gravel and water to challenge the robots’ capabilities as they negotiate rough terrain and a variety of weather systems in real-life situations, such as search-and-rescue missions. There is a separate lab for testing airborne robot control systems.

The NERVE Center tests robots from the private industry and the federal government, as well as UMass Lowell-designed and constructed robots. Research focuses on human-robot interaction (HRI), which includes multi-touch computing, interface design, robot autonomy, trust, and evaluation methods. Application domains include assistive technology, telepresence, and urban search and rescue (USAR). The NERVE Center also functions as a training facility for end-users of robotic platforms.

Winstanley Construction Management served as the project manager for the project. J. Calnan & Associates was the general contractor for the facility, which opened in February 2013.

About Margulies Perruzzi Architects
Consistently ranked as one of Boston’s top architectural and interior design firms, Margulies Perruzzi Architects creates buildings and corporate interiors for clients who value design. The firm services the corporate, professional services, healthcare, research/lab, and real estate communities with a focus on sustainable design. Clients include Manulife/John Hancock, Nuvera Fuel Cells, Fallon Clinic, Sapient, Hobbs Brook Management and Forrester Research. For more information, please visit

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