When cardiovascular researcher Jeffrey Bender and hundreds of his colleagues unpack their labs and offices in the Congress Avenue Building later this winter and spring [“The Big Move”], a new chapter in the School of Medicine’s history will begin in earnest. For the first time in a decade, the medical school’s legendary space crunch will ease, at least for a time, and the occasion will mark the completion of a process that began in the late 1980s. The design of the new building has a special purpose behind it, that of knitting together basic biology, physics, chemistry and human health, of making clinical observations relevant at the molecular level (and vice versa) and, ultimately, of alleviating human suffering.

“We have the opportunity now to make an enormous difference in people’s lives,” Dean David Kessler says of the new building. “We have the world’s best scientists and the world’s best labs. This building will move medicine forward.”

A faculty-led committee initially recommended a version of the Congress Avenue Building in the early 1990s. A dozen years, 560,000 bricks and $176 million later, it is a reality. In addition to the 363 laboratory rooms shared by 91 research teams, it also contains state-of-the-art teaching space, an advanced facility for breeding and caring for transgenic mice (a research model invented at Yale in 1980) and a major new center for research employing magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy, another field pioneered significantly at Yale.

If you’re curious about the new space and want to see architect Robert Venturi’s sketches or recent photos of the construction, the school has a website full of wonderful detail. You can visit the Congress Avenue Building online at www.med.yale.edu/cab. It’s just a click away, and there are no boxes to unpack.