Harvard's new science complex retains university traditions with a contemporary twist
The state-of-the-art, 1 million sq ft science complex that is in construction (currently on-hold) will lead the development of Harvard’s future extended campus in the Allston neighbourhood of Boston, Massachusetts.
Harvard’s vision is to create a highly sustainable campus in Allston that will strengthen interdisciplinary teaching and research at Harvard and also bolster Boston’s reputation as one of the leading life sciences capitals of the world. The new complex responds to a pressing need for new kinds of spaces that facilitate interdisciplinary scientific research and the mounting competitive pressure in emerging scientific fields.
The Allston Science Complex, will begin a multi-decade process of transforming large tracts of underutilised industrial land into a vital new campus in Allston.
Harvard University has a long standing tradition of vital campus life. The ‘center’ of its traditional campus in Cambridge is characterised by a seemingly endless network of courtyards, lawns, squares and parks. The yards are spatially and functionally complex. They are sensitive to human scale, provide both access and thoroughfares, and offer places to rest or study in different degrees of shelter and protection.
The proposal for the Allston Science Complex campus refers to these traditions, but in a contemporary manner. Building I, the anchor building for the Complex, is intended to be a primary point of intersection for researchers, faculty, staff, students and neighbours on the future campus. The character and functions of this building were developed in response to this role.
The Allston Science Complex will set new standards in energy efficiency and quality of the working environments. Passive strategies will be adopted wherever possible, and where necessary supported by sophisticated HVAC equipment. In all cases, the individual is to be afforded a degree of control over their own environment. The complex will adopt a number of progressive design strategies that strive to reduce demands on energy resources. These include flexible programming, geothermal sources, wind turbines, natural ventilation, advanced methods of heat recovery, roof gardens, storm water management, wind and solar strategies, sophisticated facade systems, site remediation and daylight enhancement systems.
The client for this is the Allston Development Group. The architects are Behnisch Architekten (Behnisch Studio East, Inc.) in Boston, MA; the Programming/Lab Specialists are Payette Associates in Boston, MA. This project was commenced in 2006 with an estimated completion date of 2012, however, construction on the project is currently on-hold.