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Abode at Great Kneighton / Proctor and Matthews Architects

Courtesy of Proctor and Matthews Architects Courtesy of Proctor and Matthews Architects Courtesy of Proctor and Matthews Architects Courtesy of Proctor and Matthews Architects

Lunder Arts Center / Bruner/Cott & Associates

  • Architects: Bruner/Cott & Associates
  • Location: Lesley University, 29 Everett Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
  • Architect in Charge: Simeon Bruner, RA; Jason Forney, AIA, LEED AP
  • Design Team: Meredith Affleck; Adrienne Cali, LEED AP; Nat Crosby; Shaun Dempsey; Alexandra Desaulniers; Karen Greene, RA, LEED AP; Aoife Morris, AIA, LEED AP; Henry Moss, AIA, LEED AP; Gretchen Neeley; Stephanie Power, AIA
  • Area: 74000.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: Robert Benson

© Robert Benson © Robert Benson © Robert Benson © Robert Benson

Josep Lluís Sert's Martin Luther King Jr School: A Never-Loved Building That Never Stood a Chance

In architecture circles, it's a sadly familiar trope: a postwar modernist building by a celebrated architect is slated for demolition, and the only people to come to its defense are not the local community, but the architects and critics who can see past the weathered concrete to the ideals within. But despite this familiarity, it's rare to find a critic with first-hand experience as the user of the building in question, and rarer still for them to have experienced it with the unprejudiced eyes of a child. Such is the case with Alexandra Lange, who went to kindergarten at Josep Lluís Sert's Martin Luther King Jr School in Cambridge. In this article from MAS Context, originally titled "Never-Loved Buildings Rarely Stand a Chance: Josep Lluís Sert in Cambridge" and featuring photographs by Lee Dykxhoorn, Lange recounts her experiences of the school and laments its destruction. The latest issue of MAS Context focuses on the theme of "Legacy" - from the legacy we have inherited from our predecessors to the legacy we are leaving for the future.

It’s a detail too perfect, better suited to a novel. Architecture critic goes to kindergarten at modernist school. Years later, she returns to the city of her birth and discovers the school again, surrounded by construction hoardings, on the brink of destruction. Can she save it? Except that was me, and I was too late.

Classroom clerestory expression along Putnam Avenue, Cambridge, 2013. Image © Lee Dykxhoorn Classrooms open on exterior play space, Cambridge, 2013. Image © Lee Dykxhoorn Play area behind the school with entry ramp, Cambridge, 2013. Image © Lee Dykxhoorn Classrooms open on exterior play space, Cambridge, 2013. Image © Lee Dykxhoorn

Cambridge House / Anmahian Winton Architects

  • Architects: Anmahian Winton Architects
  • Location: Cambridge, MA, USA
  • Architect in Charge: Nick Winton, AIA
  • Consulting Principal: Alex Anmahian, AIA
  • Project Architect: Makoto Abe
  • Designer: Natalie Wong
  • Area: 6300.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Jane Messinger

© Jane Messinger © Jane Messinger © Jane Messinger © Jane Messinger

Cristina Parreño Investigates the Tectonics of Transparency With Glass Wall Prototype

Architect and MIT Lecturer Cristina Parreño has created this new prototype for a self-supporting glass facade, entitled "The Wall." The design is the first in Parreño's "Tectonics of Transparency," a series of planned prototypes that will "explore the relationship between formal design, spatial perception, structural efficiency and systems of fabrication."

More details about Parreño's prototype after the break

© John Horner © John Horner © Jane Messinger © John Horner

Harvard Art Museums Renovation and Expansion / Renzo Piano + Payette

  • Architects: Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Payette
  • Location: Harvard University, 32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
  • Design Team: M.Carroll and E.Trezzani (partners in charge) with J.Lee, E.Baglietto (partner), S.Ishida (partner), R.Aeck, F.Becchi, A.Stern, B.Cook, M.Orlandi, J.Pejkovic and J.Cook, M.Fleming, J.M.Palacios, S. Joubert; M. Ottonello (CAD operator); F.Cappellini, F.Terranova, I.Corsaro (models)
  • Area: 204000.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Nic Lehoux, Michel Denancé, Aerial by

© Nic Lehoux © Michel Denancé © Nic Lehoux © Aerial by

ULI Releases New Report on the Infrastructural Challenges of Rising Sea Levels

Innovation District Harborwalk . Image Courtesy of ULI Boston
Innovation District Harborwalk . Image Courtesy of ULI Boston

The Urban Implications of Living With Water, a recent report by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Boston, opens with the clear assertion: "We are beginning to feel the effects of climate change." The result of a conversation amongst over seventy experts from the fields of architecture, engineering, public policy, real estate and more, the report covers the proposed integrated solutions for a future of living in a city that proactively meets the challenges accompanying rising water levels.

"We accept that the seas are rising, the weather is changing, and our communities are at risk; and we recognize that no solution can be all-encompassing. It is our hope that this report will spark conversation, shift our understanding of what is possible, and aid us in reframing challenges into opportunities as we move toward this new era of development."

Become part of the discussion and read more about the collective ideas, after the break.

MIT Beaver Works / Merge Architects

  • Architects: Merge Architects
  • Location: 300 Tech Square, 300, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
  • Architect in Charge: Elizabeth Whittaker
  • Project Architect : Anne-Sophie Divenyi
  • Area: 4875.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: John Horner Photography , David Bragdon

© John Horner Photography © David Bragdon © John Horner Photography © John Horner Photography

London Calling: British Modernism's Watershed Moment - The Churchill College Competition

Fifty years ago Churchill College Cambridge opened its doors. In contrast to the historic Colleges, with their medieval Gothic and Neo-Classical buildings corralled behind high walls, this was in an almost rural setting on the outskirts of the city, modern in design, and Brutalist in detail. 

The 1959 competition that brought the College into being is considered by many to be a watershed moment in British Post War architectural history. It brought together 20 names, young and old, all practicing in Britain, all working in the Modernist and more specifically the nascent Brutalist style. It was a “who’s who” of British architecture at the time, including the Smithsons, Hungarian-born Erno Goldfinger, Lasdun (then in partnership with Maxwell Fry, Jane Drew & Lindsay Drake, and formerly with Russian émigré Lubetkin), Lyons Israel Ellis and Robert Matthew (one half of the Royal Festival Hall team, who teamed up with Johnson Marshall). None of these made the shortlist of four.

Proposal: Stirling & Gowan. Image Courtesy of James Gowan and the Canadian Centre for Architecture, via e-architect Proposal: Richard Sheppard, Robson & Partners. Image Courtesy of Sheppard Robson, via e-architect Proposal: Chamberlin, Powell & Bon. Image Courtesy of Frank Woods, via e-architect The library from Stirling and Gowan’s entry to the Churchill College, Cambridge competition (1958). Image Courtesy of BD Online

Wilson Architects Tapped to Design MIT Hub for Nanoscale Research

Boston-based practice Wilson Architects has been commissioned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to design a state-of-the-art research hub for nanoscience and nanotechnology: MIT.nano. Centrally located at the heart of MIT, the new glass-encased, four-story structure will house two floors of high-performance cleanrooms, as well as imaging and prototyping facilities that are all designed to foster innovation through cross-discipline collaboration. 

Infographic: The Bauhaus, Where Form Follows Function

UPDATE: In honor of the 81st anniversary of the day the Bauhaus closed in 1933, we’re re-publishing this popular infographic, which was originally published April 16th, 2012.

From the “starchitect” to “architecture for the 99%,” we are witnessing a shift of focus in the field of architecture. However, it’s in the education system where these ideas really take root and grow. This sea change inspired us to explore past movements, influenced by economic shifts, war and the introduction of new technologies, and take a closer look at the bauhaus movement.

Often associated with being anti-industrial, the Arts and Crafts Movement had dominated the field before the start of the Bauhaus in 1919. The Bauhaus’ focus was to merge design with industry, providing well designed products for the many.

The Bauhaus not only impacted design and architecture on an international level, but also revolutionized the way design schools conceptualize education as a means of imparting an integrated design approach where form follows function.

AD Classics: Kresge Auditorium / Eero Saarinen and Associates

Kresge Auditorium, designed by Finnish American architect Eero Saarinen, was an experiment in architectural form and construction befitting the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s focus on technology and innovation. This feat of sculptural engineering serves as a meeting house and is part of the cultural, social, and spiritual core of MIT’s campus. Kresge Auditorium is one of Saarinen’s numerous daring, egalitarian designs that captured the optimistic zeitgeist of Post-war America.

© Massachusetts Institute of Technology ©  Flickr user 庶民小文™ © Flickr user gomattolson Sections looking east and north

North West Cambridge Extension Proposals Enter Planning Phase

Earlier this year the University of Cambridge announced an ambitious new urban extension in the north west of the city in order to create a framework for a new district centered on a mixed academic and urban community. The development, planned by Aecom, has aspirations of achieving urban space that is well balanced, permanent and sustainable. Containing 1,500 homes for its key workers, accommodation for 2,000 postgraduate students, 1,500 homes for sale, 100,000 square metres of research facilities and a local centre with a primary school, community centre, health centre, supermarket, hotel and shops, proposals from Mecanoo and MUMA are now entering the planning phase. Future lots are expected to be filled by the likes of Stanton WilliamsAlison Brooks Architects and by Cottrell and Vermeulen working with Sarah Wigglesworth and AOC.

AD Classics: Peabody Terrace / Sert, Jackson & Gourley

Built in 1964 during his tenure as Dean at the Graduate School of Design, Josep Lluís Sert’s Peabody Terrace provides housing for almost 1500 Harvard graduate students and their families.  One of several projects Sert designed for Harvard’s campus, it is a manifestation of his vision for the ideal neighborhood. Many elements such as the negotiation of scale, mixed use program, shared open space and design aesthetic were influenced by but represent a departure from earlier modern housing projects.  

Peabody Terrace is a prototypical example of a twentieth-century project heralded by the architectural community as an exemplar of progressive modern ideals, but lambasted by neighbors and members of the general public for being unattractive, cold and imposing. This project and others like it highlight the disconnect that can occur between the architectural intelligentsia and the communities in which they build.  

Via Wikiarquitectura © Alexandru Culiuc Via Wikiarquitectura via Wikipedia Commons

DDes Conference: Projective Views on Urban Metabolism

In the last two decades, the concept of urban metabolism, aiming to grasp the continuous processes of energy, material and population exchange within and between cities and their extensive hinterlands, has been subject of both extensive empirical research and, increasingly, critical discussion within the social and natural sciences. However, these interdisciplinary challenges have not yet been met with a synthetic response from the design disciplines. 

Herzog & de Meuron to Design AstraZeneca Headquarters in Cambridge

Biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has commissioned Herzog & de Meuron to design their new Global R&D Centre and Corporate Headquarters. Planned for the Cambridge Biomedical Campus on the southern outskirts of the city, the new £330m project will be home to one of the company’s three global strategic research and development centres as well as its corporate headquarters.

Cambridge University Library Landscape Design Competition

The University of Cambridge Library, with the Department of Architecture, recently launched a landscape design competition to transform the space surrounding Cambridge University Library. Open to professionals and non-professionals alike, they are looking for bold submissions that reimagine the open spaces and environment of the iconic Giles Gilbert Scott building. A monumental presence both within the University and the city, entries to the competition will be judged on their innovative interpretation of the site, its context, use and history – as well as their ability to integrate contemporary ecological research. Entries should also promote new visibility for the Library and encourage people to think about the role of the site on the western edge of the city. The registration deadline is September 30, and the deadline for submissions is November 30. For more information, please visit here.