Boston University officials joined Mayor Marty Walsh on December 5 to break ground on a 19-storey institutional building that will bring the school's mathematics, computer science and statistics departments under one roof. The new Center for Computing and Data Sciences was first unveiled in fall 2018, and upon completion in 2022, will become the tallest building on the Boston University campus.
Conceived as a vertical campus by Toronto firm KPMB Architects, the building's stacked book aesthetic engenders an internal program of departments "arranged like ascending academic neighbourhoods." A five-storey base is surmounted by 12 floors and an additional two mechanical levels. Each two-to-three-storey volume is slightly askew from the one below, forming an irregular silhouette on the campus skyline.
The building's lower floors will house the mathematics and statistics department, while computer science office spaces and classrooms occupy the middle of the structure. The Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science and Engineering is slated for the top floors.
Running with the central theme of collaboration, the building's atrium nearly spans the full length of the footprint, and features multiple terraced platforms suited for group interactions. People are put at the forefront of the design, with KPMB hiding computers behind internal pathways and whiteboards.
Replacing a surface parking lot on Commonwealth Avenue, the fossil-free project will be one of the most energy-sustainable buildings in Massachusetts. It will draw on renewable and alternative energy sources, employing solar panels, shading devices, and groundwater recharge systems.