The American Institute of Architects is a renowned organisation for architects in the United States. The Boston Society of Architects, a non-profit organisation and chapter of the American Institute of Architects has given the 2018 Harleston Parker Medal to The Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex at the Northeastern University’s campus.
The award, which is the organisation’s highest honour, recognises “the single most beautiful building or other structure” that was built in the metropolitan Boston area in the past 10 years. The building is six stories tall and features 234,000 square feet of space for research across disciplines in areas such as cybersecurity, robotics, coastal sustainability, community resilience, and drug delivery.
It is brilliantly designed, admitting natural light to the interiors and conveniently includes a large atrium surrounded by laboratories, classrooms, and meeting spaces with glass walls. Research and academic activities underway throughout the building can be observed through the glass walls.
The building is highly energy efficient and saves up to 75% energy. It employs systems that heat, cool, ventilate, light, and move water throughout the building. Hence the building has earned a LEED Gold certificate, a rating for sustainably designed structures. Gold is the second highest level of the rating system, which was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Other user facilities include a pedestrian bridge and landscape improvements such as outdoor seating, bike racks, and trees for the university community and the public to use and enjoy. The building and its landscape’s connectedness to the community, having sustainability built into every aspect of its design, and having interdisciplinary research fully on display are three major features of the project that make it distinctive.