Greg St. Martin of News@Northeastern spoke with Payette President/CEO and Design Principal Kevin Sullivan and Northeastern VP and Chief Campus Planning Kathy Spiegelman about the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex at Northeastern University, which received the 2018 Harleston Parker Medal, an honor that recognizes the most beautiful building in Boston.
Constructed on an urban brownfield site that consisted of a surface parking lot set between two garages, the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex (ISEC) forms the initial phase of a long-term vision to link the University’s Huntington Avenue Campus with Columbus Avenue, span the MBTA and Amtrak rail lines, and connect the Fenway and Roxbury neighborhoods.
The building is six stories tall and features 234,000 SF of space for research across disciplines in areas such as cybersecurity, robotics, coastal sustainability, community resilience and drug delivery. ISEC’s interior is filled with natural light, and includes a large atrium and a spiral staircase. The atrium is surrounded by laboratories, classrooms and meeting spaces with glass walls that enable visitors to observe the research and academic activities underway throughout the building. The exterior of the building has an unconventional design and shape with two distinct façades: curved bronze-coated aluminum fins on the western side, and gray ribbed metal panels on the eastern side.
The LEED Gold certified building saves 75% more energy than a typical research lab thanks to a combination of highly efficient systems that heat, cool, ventilate, light, and move water throughout the building. The project also includes the pedestrian bridge crossing the rail lines that was lifted into place last fall and will open in 2019, in addition to landscape improvements such as outdoor seating, bike racks and trees for the university community and the public to use and enjoy.