Boston University Center for Computing & Data Sciences


Award of Merit

Submitted by: Suffolk

Owner: Boston University

Lead Design Firm: KPMB Architects

General Contractor: Suffolk

Civil Engineer: Nitsch Engineering Inc.

Structural Engineer: LeMessurier Consultants

MEP Engineer: BR+A Consulting Engineers

Architect: KPMB Architects

Geothermal | Technical: Haley & Aldrich Inc.

Landscape: Richard Burck Associates Inc.

A 345,000-sq-ft building that looks like a stack of books placed on a podium was designed to ease its impact on busy Commonwealth Avenue, but it was a challenge to align the structure with other buildings along the busy boulevard.

The largest fossil-fuel-free building in Boston is set on a constrained urban site that meant crews had to drill down deeper than generally required for the geothermal wells. Instead of the typical 500 ft, drilling extended to 1,500 ft. Building in a busy urban environment required the team to complete matt slab placement in a 24-hour period. The third-largest concrete pour in Massachusetts history involved 450 trucks placing 4,500 yd of concrete. The ground floor was also purposely placed above both the Charles River dam and the city of Boston’s recommended elevation for sea level rise, boosting resilience. A hoist placed in the core, with only one hoist car to work with, created logistical challenges. Temporary steel also could not be removed until the decks were fully in place and up to strength. That delayed installation of the curtain wall, which had to be put into place with a crane using retractable loading platforms.