Brandeis University
Science Center Master Plan

Waltham, MA / United States


500,000 GSF

Physics Teaching, Undergraduate Teaching, Chemistry Research, Behavioral Genomics, Magnet Facility

Brandeis University commissioned a Master Plan to guide the future development of their 500,000 GSF science precinct. The precinct occupied a group of 10 buildings scattered throughout in the center of the campus in buildings largely dedicated to discrete disciplines which therefore discouraged cross-discipline research. While the central campus location is in close proximity to a major campus path, the existing complex was surprisingly difficult to enter due to solid building facades, featuring a fabric of precast panels inherent in this architectural expression.

The resulting plan transformed the heart of the campus by opening up the science precinct while re-establishing critical pedestrian connections across campus. A strategy of selective demolition was paired with the phased construction of new buildings, realizing roughly 150,000 GSF of new research, teaching and instrumentation space. The first phase of implementation, Carl J. Shapiro Science Center, was completed in 2009.

The new Science Center is the catalyst which enabled science at Brandeis to shift from traditional departmental silos into one of interdisciplinary theme-based research. The transformation fosters collaboration and a sharing of core research elements throughout the science complex. The River – the metaphor for the new path of pedestrian movement alongside and through the Science Complex – organizes lobbies, multi-level spaces, bridges interconnecting new and existing buildings and allows cross campus pedestrian movement through the Science Center.

Photography: © Warren Jagger Photography; © Payette, Images by Rachellynn Schoen

George E. Marsh, Jr., FAIA

Kevin B. Sullivan, FAIA
Design Principal

Robert C. Pasersky, AIA
Project Manager

Wesley Schwartz, AIA
Project Architect