Tufts University Science and Engineering Complex
Project site: Previously developed land
Building program type(s): Education – College/University (campus-level), Laboratory
A delicate glass box floats effortlessly between two historic red brick bookends. Its taut skin cradles and reflects its surroundings, complements the brick, and lends quiet dignity to the existing buildings. The interdependent forms shape a nested series of interior and exterior spaces that heighten awareness of the existing buildings.
The new Science and Engineering Complex (SEC) is the product of a strategic infill addition on a steeply sloped site that creates space for interdisciplinary research in biology, environmental science, and neuroscience while connecting two historic buildings to create a dynamic, community-focused, high-tech hub for open communication and cross-pollination. The resulting academic precinct addresses the institution’s desire for a critical mass of research and teaching space to support cross-departmental collaborations in an environmentally responsible manner.
This LEED Gold project, located three miles north of Boston, is an unexpected and innovative response to site and existing context. Rather than relocate or demolish one of the significant historic buildings on the site, as the client’s initial project brief had proposed, the design team arrived at a solution for a smaller new addition that leverages and strengthens the existing buildings through adaptive reuse, creating a vibrant integrated complex. From the onset of the project, the client had ambitious energy and sustainability goals, setting aggressive performance targets for the team. The project’s sustainable solutions are integral to its architectural solution, thoughtfully demonstrating the interdependence between sustainability and scientific research. The SEC serves as the academic and social heart of a precinct much larger than the building itself. The spaces between new and existing buildings become as important as their prominent public faces, generating an animated campus system of movement that highlights science and one’s connection to place with a simple, transparent, and elegant architectural expression.