Just a few scenes edited together give life to this short docufilm about the Science and Engineering Complex (SEC) at the new Allston campus in Boston, designed by Behnisch Architekten. The video, which we’re exclusively presenting here, brings together interviews with Matt Noblett, Stefan Behnisch, as well as Harvard faculty members. It captures the nuances and architectural details of the building and, in particular, its façade, which comprises opaque and transparent modular panels that connect to the building, creating a hybrid steel and concrete structure. It’s interesting to watch the architects at work. They explain how the whole project was conceived to ensure high thermal performance, while also being flexible enough to offer occupant-controlled natural ventilation in any room.
We recommend watching this short film, produced by Los Angeles–based Nephew visualization studio, because it highlights the value of high-performance, highly complex architecture that’s been developed according to natural principles. This is architecture in which technical expertise imitates and resonates with the natural surroundings, without the arrogance of replacing it in the pursuit of heedless, antiseptic progress. The video pinpoints the ingredients of Behnisch Architekten’s sustainable design strategy: chilled beams, radiant panels, manually operated windows, adiabatic ventilation, a balance between natural and forced cooling, and sufficient natural lighting so that artificial light can be switched off throughout the building during the day. A special article about the project also appears in issue 128 of THE PLAN.
Cover image: © Brad Feinknopf, courtesy of Behnisch Architekten
Short film by Nephew, Los Angeles