Science as Campus Catalyst
Together new construction and adaptive reuse unify a campus science precinct

TYPICAL RESEARCH FLOOR PLAN

1  Existing Research Lab
2  Core Lab
3  Lab Support
4  Open Lab

5  Open Write-up Area
6  Conference
7  Lounge

HIGH ENERGY / LOW ENERGY FLEXIBLE LAB SUITE

SUSTAINABLE STRATEGIES

SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGIES

112 kBtu / SF / year
annual energy use intensity, which is equivalent to 606 homes

77%
less energy use than an average building

31%
reduction in water usage = 1,165 bathtubs

30%
reduction in lighting power density

CERTIFIED LEED GOLD

Tufts University
Science and Engineering Complex

LOCATION
Medford, MA / United States

TOTAL SQUARE FOOTAGE
177,000 GSF

PROGRAM COMPONENTS
Biology, Environment and Neuroscience Research Laboratories, Computation, Vivarium, Core Labs, Teaching Labs

LEED STATUS
Certified LEED Gold

At Tufts University, the Science and Engineering Complex (SEC) is the product of a strategic infill addition that creates space for interdisciplinary research and connects two historic buildings, creating a dynamic high tech hub for open communication and cross-pollination. The resulting academic precinct addresses the institution’s desire for a critical mass of research and teaching space to support cross-departmental collaborations.

A trademark of Payette’s academic work is the creation of spaces that serve as the academic and social heart of a precinct much larger than the space itself, and the SEC is no exception. In addition to providing much-needed room for cutting-edge interdisciplinary research, the SEC features a light-filled atrium containing study space, a café and informal meeting areas for use by the campus community. The SEC’s unique positioning creates multiple avenues of approach, channeling foot traffic from major pedestrian routes as students and faculty move through campus. The spaces between the existing buildings become as important as their prominent public faces, generating an animated campus system of movement that highlights science with a simple, transparent, elegant architectural expression.

Challenge
Faced with the existing buildings’ limitations (which include low floor-to-floor height and the limited ability to add laboratory infrastructure), Tufts was in need of space to accommodate forward-looking interdisciplinary research. The complex also had to traverse a 40-foot grade change across the site through multiple entries at three levels. Access from a variety of approaches needed to facilitate and reinforce desired pedestrian routes through campus and establish the SEC as a significant campus gateway to other research and learning facilities along Boston Avenue.

Solution
Instead of housing individual departments, the SEC allows faculty from different disciplines to collaborate on research themes in lab space designed to accommodate new themes as they arise. This cross-school use of labs, an exciting innovation for Tufts, is the first campus building in which students and faculty from different disciplines will share lab space—a concept increasingly utilized by peer institutions across the country.

Due to age and configuration, the existing historic buildings could not support interdisciplinary research space. As a strategic infill building, the SEC accommodates these needs while unifying the entire site. The building is comprised of two research lab wings that contain flexible suites on each floor to house a wide array of research and specialized scientific core facilities. In concert with the existing buildings, the two lab wings form an L-shaped atrium that functions as the complex’s social heart. The resulting configuration assimilates the site into a single precinct, strengthening the integration of teaching and research across many scientific disciplines and transforming the culture of science at Tufts.

Photography: © Chuck Choi

KEY TEAM MEMBERS
George E. Marsh, Jr., FAIA
Principal-in-Charge

Kevin B. Sullivan, FAIA
Design Principal

Robert C. Pasersky, AIA
Project Manager / Architect