Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex

Architect: Payette

Owner: Northeastern University

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Project site: Brownfield

Building program type(s): Laboratory

Flow and movement define the form language of the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex (ISEC), expanding Northeastern University’s Boston campus to the south of a major rail corridor and reconnecting the diverse neighborhoods of Fenway and Roxbury. Dynamic movement systems permeate the project, like pebbles in a stream defining the landscape paths through bioswales and the dynamic solar veil shading the office. The building form is intrinsically linked with high-performance architecture through parametric design and energy modeling to achieve an integrated design. The building leverages passive elements to reduce energy demand and employs high-tech energy recovery systems to further reduce energy use. This cutting-edge facility represents a major expansion of research at Northeastern University and provides a 236,240 gross sq ft home for four interdisciplinary academic research disciplines: engineering, health sciences, basic sciences, and computer science. The project elevates Northeastern University’s capability to compete as a premier research institution. Aggressive targets and an integrated approach to sustainability was ingrained from the planning stages throughout the design process, impacting everything from the programmatic organization of the building to the design of the building enclosure. The layered organization of the research lab not only creates a vibrant interior culture within the building but also minimizes energy usage while zoning areas for future flexibility. A daylight-filled atrium forms a new campus-scale public space surrounded by intimate collaboration spaces. In addition, it simultaneously acts as a mixing chamber for a cascade air system to recycle air throughout the building. Constructed on an urban brownfield site consisting of an existing surface parking lot set between two garages, the ISEC represents the completion of the first phase of the newly planned 660,000 sf academic precinct.

"A very high-tech project that has an extremely sophisticated high level of design integration." -Jury statement

Additional information

Project attributes

Year of design completion: 2016

Year of substantial project completion: 2017

Gross conditioned floor area: 236,240 sq ft

Gross unconditioned floor area: 10,000 sq ft

Number of stories: 7

Project Climate Zone: ASHRAE 5A

Annual hours of operation: 8,760

Site area: 122,031 sq ft

Project site context/setting: urban

Cost of construction, excluding furnishing: $165 million

Number of residents, occupants, visitors: 1,302

Project Team

Consultant - Laboratory Planner: Jacobs Consultancy

Engineer – Civil: Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc.

Engineer - Facade: Arup USA, Inc.

Engineer - MEP: Arup USA, Inc.

Engineer - Structural: LeMessurier Consultants, Inc.

General Contractor: Suffolk Construction

Landscape Architect: Stephen Stimson Associates

Third party rating systems

LEED: Gold


Nancy Clanton, Clanton & Associates

Paul Mankins, FAIA, Substance Architecture

Christiana Moss, AIA, Studio Ma

Christoph Reinhart, MIT

Allison Williams, FAIA, AGWms_studio

Image credits

COTE Interdisciplinary1

Warren Jagger Photography

COTE Interdisciplinary2

Warren Jagger Photography

COTE Interdisciplinary3

Warren Jagger Photography

COTE Interdisciplinary4

Warren Jagger Photography

The lab is organized in laminated layers of desk, bench and instrumentation; organized zones of low, medium and high energy use to maximize the efficiency of the MEP systems.

Warren Jagger Photography