Boston University will soon have the tallest building in the campus to house its Data Sciences Center. It is not just the height but also the unique design which will make this building stand apart from the rest.
Designed by the Toronto architectural firm KPMB Architects, the proposed plans for the center start with a 4-story base, or “podium,” topped by 13 floors, each floor slightly off center from the one below it so that it resembles a stack of books. The 17 floors do not include the top floor and the basement, which will hold mechanical, electrical, and plumbing.
“The design maximizes opportunities for mixing, interaction and interconnectivity. The building serves as a platform for innovation formatted as a vertical campus. Every element is integrated to establish Data Sciences as Boston University’s new iconic heart,” says KPMB Architects.
The podium is extended to occupy the entire width of the site to complete the streetscape and generate maximum ground floor animation on Commonwealth Avenue. Highly transparent and porous, it functions as an urban porch for arrival, study and gathering. Inside, it accommodates the larger programmatic volumes such as classrooms and offers a series of zones for interaction: the Café, the Cascading Stair, the Street Studio and the Fireplace Lounge.
Inside, the design’s focus is on collaboration, with a series of terraced platforms intended for small-group interactions running almost the entire length of the building. Whiteboard walls will be everywhere to encourage scribbling and help turn hallway conversations into fleshed-out ideas. And a collaboration ramp will be dotted with small gathering spaces along the way for quick, spontaneous conversations.
The board of the Boston Planning and Development Agency approved the plan last week and work on the project is scheduled to commence this spring. Completion of the building is expected in 2022. The project is a Jury Winner of the Architizer A+ Awards in the Unbuilt Institutional category.