The Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center has opened at Harvard University, in Massachusetts following a project by Hopkins Architects and Bruner/Cott Architects.
The 96,242-square-foot project is a radical reappraisal of the ten-storey, 1966 Holyoke Center building designed by Josep Lluis Sert.
It is part of a wider, ongoing “Common Spaces” initiative by the university to ensure its physical spaces foster the campus’s intellectual, cultural, and social experience and support the wider community.
Realised in consultation with Arup, the project reconfigures the first, second, and tenth floors, reinterpreting the history and logic of Sert’s architecture in a series of additions to and removals from the existing fabric to create a family of new internal spaces, interspersed with a captured internal and external landscape designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.
The new Moise Y. Safra Welcome Pavilion at the front of the building creates a front door for the university and re-establishes a stronger connection between Sert’s Arcade and Harvard Yard.
In the Arcade, by the careful removal of existing concrete fabric, light and view and landscape have been introduced into the heart of the building.
A series of internal and external landscape thresholds mediate between the Arcade and the new Harvard Commons space—the central room of the Campus Center, around which are gathered a series of social and meeting spaces.
The tenth floor has been completely reorganised to provide a flexible suite of formal and informal gathering spaces that openly engage Sert’s building with the campus, the Charles River, and the City of Cambridge beyond.
The Campus Center project has been an opportunity for us to create a new place for the university to come together, responding to Sert’s architecture in a manner that is bold, transformative and dynamic, but which, with each intervention, is grounded in and sympathetic to the history and design of the building.
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