Merit - SCUP Excellence in Architecture for a New Building

Northeastern University

Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex
Northeastern University - Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex
Jury Comments
". . . I love the solar veil . . . the sculptural stair on the interior is functional . . . creates a gateway to the neighborhood . . . the context, sustainable features, and landscape are really good. . ."


    • Site – 122,031 sq ft; Building – 236,240 gsf
    • The project’s primary goal was to elevate Northeastern University’s capability to compete as a premier research institution.
    • A layered organization of the research lab creates a vibrant interior culture while minimizing energy usage.
    • Operating at the scale of the city, the landscape bridges the campus and defines one of Boston’s most exciting and dynamic new public spaces.
    • A solar wall along the southern side of the penthouse pre-heats the air in the winter while a high efficiency heat PERSPECTIVES recovery system efficiently captures heat being exhausted from the research spaces.
    • The central daylight-filled atrium and open staircase link all of the functional areas of the building and give visibility to the science activity in the building.
    • Daylight analysis verified the performance of the atrium skylights, maximizing their potential to achieve over 80% daylight autonomy within the atrium.
    • A series of planted bioswales, designed to receive, treat, and recharge stormwater, are a historic reference to the nearby Fens waterway and Emerald Necklace.


The Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex (ISEC) expands the university’s urban campus to the south of a major rail corridor and reconnects the diverse neighborhoods of Fenway and Roxbury with a public landscape and pedestrian bridge. Constructed on an urban brownfield site consisting of an existing surface parking lot set between two garages, the ISEC represents the completion of the first phase of the newly planned 660,000-sq-ft academic precinct. The ISEC provides a home for four interdisciplinary academic research disciplines: engineering, health sciences, basic sciences, and computer science.

The site was selected to invest in the Roxbury neighborhood and enables an additional 440,000 sq ft of research, academic, and student housing development on site. The landscape creates a new open space amenity on Columbus Avenue that reaches up and over the MBTA rail tracks, connecting to the main campus precinct and, for the first time, makes a powerful connection for the Roxbury neighbors.

A collaboration between the architect, engineers, client, and builder, the ISEC used an integrated and iterative approach utilizing performance modeling in order to leverage the value of design and engineering decisions. Early energy modeling targeted the solar heat gain as the primary driver and informed the design direction of the project. Aggressive targets and an integrated approach to sustainability was ingrained from the planning stages throughout the design process, impacting everything from the programmatic organization of the building to the design of the building enclosure.

Project Team