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Cambridge: The Latest Architecture and News

Herzog & de Meuron's AstraZeneca R&D Headquarters Tops Out in Cambridge

The Herzog & de Meuron-designed global corporate headquarters for pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has topped out in Cambridge, UK, as the building pushes forward to a series of opening dates beginning in 2018. Developed alongside AstraZeneca researchers and executive architect/lead consultant BDP, the scheme consists of a ring-shaped volume containing a series of open laboratories and transparent glass walls intended to foster the company’s principle of collaboration across disciplines.

Courtesy of BDP © Herzog & de Meuron. Courtesy of Astrazeneca © Herzog & de Meuron. Courtesy of Astrazeneca + 8

Architecture Cruises

This 90-minute tour, co-sponsored by the BSA Foundation, hosted by Charles Riverboat Company, and led by Boston By Foot guides offers spectacular views of historic and contemporary Boston architecture while providing fascinating information about many renowned architectural landmarks, including the Hancock Tower, Marriott’s Custom House, and Rowes Wharf, as well as cutting-edge contemporary buildings by today’s top architects.

MIT Celebrates Centennial of Cambridge Campus with Two Architecture Installations

In honor of the centenary of MIT's move to the Cambridge Campus, the university has carried out a series of public events this spring, including the installation of two innovative architecture and design projects: Memory Matrix and Biaxial Tower.

Installed in the iconic arch of MIT’s Wiesner Building (designed by Pritzker Prize winner and MIT alumni I.M. Pei), Memory Matrix is a giant screen made of intricate pixel-like Plexiglass elements, arranged to form larger matrix-like screens that reveal an image of the recently destroyed Arch of Triumph in Palmyra. The image is only visible during the day through the movement of wind and light, and at night, through the illumination of the pixels. Spearheaded by Azra Aksamija, Memory Matrix will be on display from April 23 through May 7.

RDH Architects to Convert a Historic Canadian Post Office Into a Digital Library

RDH Architects has unveiled the plans for its Old Post Office Idea Exchange, a restoration project in Cambridge, Canada. The post office project will completely restore the existing historic building and transform it into a new space through the use of new glass additions that will increase usable space and improve accessibility.

Cambridge Science Festival Family Design Day: Imagine Boston with LEGO® Bricks

As part of the Cambridge Science Festival, discover the art and science of architecture and city planning. Find out what Boston might look like in 2030, and imagine new modes of transportation and vibrant places for “live, work, and play”! Explore how architects and urban planners apply notions of sustainability, transportation, housing, parks, and open space in their work, and share your thoughts on how to make the city more beautiful, resilient, and equitable. Lastly, bring your own fantastic ideas to life using LEGO® bricks, and present them to your design buddies.

One Main Office Renovation / dECOi Architects

© Anton Grassl © Anton Grassl Courtesy of dECOi Architects © Anton Grassl + 63

  • Architects: dECOi Architects
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  10000 ft²
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2009

Tozzer Anthropology Building / Kennedy & Violich Architecture

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

Cambridge, United States

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 + 25

Lunder Arts Center / Bruner/Cott & Associates

© Robert Benson               © Robert Benson               © Robert Benson               © Robert Benson               + 18

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 + 20

Cambridge House / Anmahian Winton Architects

© Jane Messinger © Jane Messinger © Jane Messinger © Jane Messinger + 11

Cambridge, United States
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  6300 ft²
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2013
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers: Lutron, SONOS

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 + 18

Harvard Art Museums Renovation and Expansion / Payette + Renzo Piano Building Workshop

© Nic Lehoux © Michel Denancé © Nic Lehoux © Aerial by Lesvants.com + 34

Cambridge, United States

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

© John Horner Photography © David Bragdon © John Horner Photography © John Horner Photography + 30

  • Architects: Merge Architects
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  4875 ft²
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2013

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 + 19

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.

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 + 29