Rafael Viñoly commented: “We are honoured to develop this important educational project that will greatly enhance public understanding of the role of the U.S. Senate. We are proud to be working with the Institute and the University of Massachusetts to make Senator Kennedy’s exciting vision a reality.”
The facility will consist of roughly 40,000 sq ft of program space, comprised mainly of classrooms, educational exhibits, and a representation of the Senate Chamber. The Institute’s ground level is made with white precast concrete with punched window openings and as with the overall site plan has been designed to work in harmony with I.M. Pei's neighbouring John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. The design includes a seamless cladding which houses the Chamber and is 2 storeys in height. The cladding is visually separated from the 1-storey volume by a ribbon skylight which will expand at the lobby, greeting visitors with a naturally illuminated reception area.
The completed development will boast a large stretch of outdoor public space at the heart of which is an expanse of grass bringing visitors to the entrance of the building. This lawn is bordered by two triangular volumes which define the entry to the building and geometrically connect the Institute to the JFK Library. The exterior open space is to act as a link between the Institute, the JFK Library and the University of Massachusetts Boston campus, while also operating as a connection to the waterfront and Harbor Walk. The entrance approach is designed to incorporate components from each of the 50 states and enhance connections between the building and the entire nation.