The new CO Architects-designed Kendall Square Research Laboratory is the latest addition to the Kendall Square mixed-use project, a technology enclave near the campuses of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University.
CO Architects won the design competition for the six-story, 280,000-square-foot private-sector research laboratory tower at 650 East Kendall Street.
“Our design revealed the nuanced use of glass and steel to make a strong visual contribution to Kendall Square,” said Paul Zajfen, FAIA, RIBA, design principal at Los Angeles-based CO Architects. “We treated each façade of the Kendall Square Research Laboratory differently, to explore the opportunities to create an energy-efficient structure and to contribute to visual interest.” The building is currently pre-certified for LEED Gold.
CO Architects’ treatment of each exterior façade varies according to geographic orientation to maximize advantages of natural lighting while mitigating interior heat gain. The building skin comprises layers of materials and shading devices appropriate to each façade’s orientation, with the north side nearly unobstructed to seize northern light for laboratory tenants. Horizontal street-level terra-cotta banding—in varied louver configurations—lends warmth and acts as a complement to the building palette of glass and metal.
A broad, wedge-shaped canopy near the roof extends over the front sidewalk of the laboratory building, providing protection from elements, confirming the building’s connection to the urban square, and signaling its primary entrance. The ground-level main entry—indicated by a smaller canopy—is on the transparent west façade, where retail spaces facing the plaza enliven the streetscape. The west façade will have a full-building-height bamboo garden to extend the outdoor square greenery into the building, while shielding the interior from low western sun.
A vertical band of clear glass rises from the east façade, bisecting the otherwise solid array of vertical louvers. The glass band wraps around the top of the building to meet the full transparency of the west façade. Both defining the interior atrium space, and creating the glass roof, the swathe of low-e glass brings a flood of natural light into the interior atrium. A series of staircases weaves in and out of the south side of the atrium, articulating the open space defined by transparency and light. The atrium connects public spaces, such as the winter garden, café, and library, and creates opportunities for scientists to meet.
CO Architects team Paul Zajfen, FAIA, RIBA, design principal; Peter Stazicker, AIA, principal-in-charge (ret.); Frances Moore, AIA, LEED AP, project architect; Fabian Kremkus, AIA, BDA, project designer; Eduardo Martinez, construction administration.
Affiliated firms include associate architect Chris Semmelink, general contractor William A. Berry & Sons; lighting designer Horton Lees Brogden; structural engineer McNamara/Salvia; MEP engineer Bard Rao+Athanas (BR+A); curtainwall consultant R.A. Heintges Architects Consultants; acoustical consultant Anteon/Cambridge Acoustical Associates; solar engineer Architectural Energy Corp.; code consultants Rolf Jensen & Associates and Sullivan Code Group; parking consultant Reed Jones Christoffersen; and cost estimator Davis Langdon.