Intended to be a showcase for the Wentworth Institute of Technology, this building provides a home for the next evolution of collegiate study in multiple engineering disciplines. The facility contains space for interdisciplinary project-based programs including laboratories, High-End Manufacturing, Makerspace and Public Assembly areas. It connects campus and city, and fosters exchange, collaboration, and experimentation among the departments. As the Wentworth Institute of Technology’s program transitions from engineering technology to engineering and innovation, the new four-story, 75,000-square-foot Center for Engineering, Innovation, and Sciences comprises a dynamic environment for multi-disciplinary collaboration among students of biology, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, and biological engineering. The Center is located on a midblock site at the heart of the Institute’s urban campus and plays a pivotal role in the campus plan. The building acts as a filter between two sides of the extended campus—the quad and the city—and strengthens the pedestrian pike that links them. In contrast to the closed off feel of the campus, the ground floor of the building is a transparent showcase that contains Accelerate, an interdisciplinary and entrepreneurial project-based program, and a high-end additive manufacturing lab and a lobby that acts as a multi-purpose gathering and presentation space visible to all passersby. Stepped seating invites students and visitors to experience first-hand displays of Wentworth’s engineering capabilities. A light, perforated metal veil draped over the volumes gives the Center a distinctive identity in the surrounding context of masonry buildings. The upper floors contain laboratories of varied science disciplines, dispersed with faculty offices and spaces for student gathering and group study. Intended to be a visible demonstration of sustainable design with a typically energy-intensive building type, the Center incorporates enhanced metering for the Institute’s use and student demonstration. The project exceeds the City of Boston’s requirements of sustainability with a highly efficient thermal envelope, including sun shading on the east, south and west facades, and mechanical equipment designed for maximum efficiency including low-flow fume hoods. In this low-lying Fenway neighborhood, resilience measures included raising the ground floor two feet above current grade and eliminating most mechanical and systems equipment from the basement. The building is designed to be LEED Silver Certifiable under LEEDv.4.
Leers Weinzapfel Associates is a practice recognized for its exceptional quality of design for the public realm in urban and campus contexts. The group’s special strength is a “mission impossible” ability to meet extraordinarily difficult building challenges with uncommon design clarity, elegance, and refinement. We are committed to providing meaningful spaces for human interaction and to promoting social well-being. Our work is diverse, including technically demanding infrastructure installations, advanced learning and living environments for educational institutions, to civic buildings and community recreation centers. In 2007, the American Institute of Architects honored us with the Firm Award, the highest distinction the AIA bestows on an architecture practice, the first and only woman-owned firm to be so honored. ARCHITECT Magazine has included the firm on its list of Top 50 architecture firms in the country, for the past five years in a row.