We are thrilled to announce our Harvard Real Estate project at the Harvard Memorial Church received a 2018 IIDA New England Award in the Community and Culture category.
The IIDA New England Design Awards program recognizes design excellence in commercial and residential interior design throughout New England, and celebrates the teamwork required to deliver outstanding design.
Originally constructed in 1932, the Memorial Church is one of Harvard University’s most treasured landmarks. Well maintained, but never modernized, the project provided imperceptible modernization of the sanctuary. Beyond replacing the original systems, this called for adding air conditioning, sprinkler systems and accessibility upgrades. Additionally, the renovation reinvented the lower level into a destination for the whole community while preserving the historic fabric of the Church.
Given the small building footprint, the design of the lower level sought to be simple, quiet and, more than anything, transparent. Because of the tight floor-to-floor dimension and the dense ductwork needed to serve the sanctuary above, it was not possible to deploy an open ceiling concept. Instead, the design negotiates the dense column grid by placing private glass-walled offices around the perimeter and common areas toward the center, bringing natural light into the heart of the lower level though the newly exposed windows.
The focal point of the space is the centrally located Student Oasis, envisioned as a place for students to hang out, decompress and effortlessly interact with each other and the church staff. The design is decisively different from a generic office or a typical basement and creates a comfortable, home-like experience with a variety of furniture types, activities on display through transparent surfaces, warmth of wood as a natural material with a complimentary color palette and the use of lowered lighting levels.
Congratulations to all the great projects that received IIDA New England Awards!