Merck Research Laboratories has embarked on an innovative partnership with Emmanuel College. The pharmaceutical company has a seventy-five-year lease with the institution for 2 acres of campus property, thereby increasing the college's endowment. This is New Jersey–based Merck's first research facility in New England, advantageously located in the heart of Boston's medical and research center. Merck offered to expand Emmanuel's science curriculum, linking students and faculty to its worldwide scientific research with internships, programmatic collaborations, and science education initiatives, including the new Center for Science Education at Emmanuel.
As in all research buildings, the architectural program is complex, accommodating heavy equipment necessitating high ceilings and complex infrastructures. Considerations of scale, material, function, and site geometry were crucial in the design process. The building's massing responds to the different contexts on each of its four glass-encased facades. The taller twelve-story lab block is similar in scale to the research facilities to the south; the northern four-story extension corresponds to the current maximum height of Emmanuel College. Between the two components, an atrium at the terminus of the entrance drive acts as the juncture for meetings and special events. The new Yawkey Student Center will separate the Merck Research Laboratories from the campus proper.