Tozzer Anthropology Building / Kennedy & Violich Architecture

Tozzer Anthropology Building / Kennedy & Violich Architecture

© John Horner © John Horner © John Horner © John Horner + 41

Cambridge, United States
  • Project Architect: Greg Burchard, AIA, LEED AP
  • Project Manager: J. Seth Hoffman, LEED AP
  • Kva Team: Justin Hui, Jungmin Nam, Charles Garcia, Daniel Sullivan, Alda Black, Alex Shelly, Blair Cranston, Ben Widger, Kyle Altman
  • General Contractor: Consigli Construction Company
  • Engineer Structural: Lemessurier Consultants
  • Engineer Mep/Fp: Buro Happold Consulting Engineers, PC
  • Engineer Building Envelope: Buro Happold Consulting Engineers, PC
  • Engineer Civil: Green International Affiliates Inc
  • Landscape Architect: Richard Burck Associates
  • Lighting Design: Tillotson Design Associates
  • Acoustic Consultant: Cavanaugh Tocci Associates
  • Code Consultant: Hughes Associates Inc
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© John Horner
© John Horner

Text description provided by the architects. The new Tozzer Anthropology Building is a 35,000 square foot transformation of an existing library building which houses faculty and graduate student offices, a library, classroom and seminar spaces, and provides accessibility to an adjacent museum complex.  The building is located at the end Divinity Avenue across the Street from Divinity Hall and in the middle of University Museum, a large courtyard building made up of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology and the Harvard Museum of Natural History.  Both buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Plan 5
Plan 5

Section 2 Entry Brick Enlarged Section Plan 1 Site Plan + 41

The university’s Anthropology Department, made up by Archaeology and Social Anthropology, had been housed in two buildings limiting social interaction between the two programs.  With the consolidation of library holdings, Harvard University sought to unify the programs under one roof by moving Social Anthropology’s administration offices and teaching spaces into the new building, connecting it directly to Archaeology, and calling for generous social spaces for collaboration and engagement.

© John Horner
© John Horner

Project Design

Modernist era university buildings are aging across America due to outdated construction that was based on building codes that cannot meet contemporary envelope, seismic, and energy requirements.  At the same time universities cannot dismiss the embodied energy and materials that make up these buildings.   The Tozzer Anthropology Building transforms the public presence and programs of Johnson and Hotveld’s 1971 Tozzer Library by re-using the existing building’s foundation, campus infrastructure connections, and steel and concrete structure. The new massing increases usable SF by 29% with a copper roof volume, which rotates to capture daylight and strengthens a reading of the building as a pavilion in the Peabody Courtyard.

The project’s massing strategy adds two stories of new construction under a large copper roof volume, which rotates to capture daylight for a large internal light well around which the internal programs revolve.   An exterior porch had separated the building from Divinity Avenue, and a dis-used tunnel prohibited access to the courtyard. The design creates a public entry on Divinity Avenue, which establishes a new public connection between the lobby, the exterior courtyard and the Peabody Museum Collections.  The massing strengthens a more independent reading of the Tozzer Anthropology building as a pavilion in the Peabody Courtyard. The new design includes new landscape elements and grading of the Peabody Courtyard as well as the design integration of archeological photographs and artefacts.

© John Horner
© John Horner

The 1971 three-story brick envelope could not be re-used due to mold and vapor barrier problems in the original construction. A wire cut ‘iron burnt brick provides texture for the main building while a precise smoother finish is used for the entry pavilion-- a ‘thick’, digitally sculpted volume of brick, that uses and transforms a contemporary 6” brick veneer cavity wall construction.  At the new entry pavilion, the design invents a digitally stacking and corbelled brick detail. Each brick unit is tied, by design, to the overall global form of the entry pavilion’s massing. Using software created specifically for this project, the digital brick corbelling was tested digitally and empirically in numerous prototypes. The digital ‘corbel’ was 3D modelled course by course then mocked-up by local masons. The 30' brick entry has no control joints or relieving angles, just one custom-designed loose lintel set above the hung brick ceiling.  Each brick course is shifted from the course below following the overall building geometry, creating a unique pattern that is derived form –and could only work with-- this specific massing form. 

© John Horner
© John Horner

The main building is wrapped by ‘thin’ taught brick bands which express the existing slab, off which the new brick envelop is relieved. Vertical expansion joints are staggered between floor levels while horizontal expansion joints occur behind recessed solider courses.  The structurally-glazed projecting windows slide past the ‘thin’ brick envelop and align to provide large views from Library to Courtyard. With a play of “thick” and “thin”, the design creates an authentic brick material expression that reflects contemporary construction and the layered brick of the Landmarked Peabody Museum.

© John Horner
© John Horner

Working with University and Anthropology Faculty, Staff and Librarians, the KVA design team developed smart classrooms, collegial spaces, faculty offices and a renewed Anthropology Library to house the Tozzer anthropology collections. The new program is organized around a torqued central light well clad in an augment new birch wood panel system which reflects light and absorbs sound. Offices, classrooms and informal gathering places ring this “living space”, which brings daylight into the building, and creates visual relationships between floor levels. The light well circulates tempered air as part of an innovative energy-saving ventilation system. The Tozzer Anthropology building was recently completed and has received LEED Gold certification.

© John Horner
© John Horner

Project gallery

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Project location

Address: 21 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138, United States

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Tozzer Anthropology Building / Kennedy & Violich Architecture" 28 Aug 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884
© John Horner

哈佛大学人类学建筑 / Kennedy & Violich Architecture

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