Smith Campus Center, Harvard University

Hopkins Architects


The new Smith Campus Center is a radical re-appraisal of the existing ten storey building, ‘the Holyoke Center’, designed by Josep Lluis Sert in the 1950’s. The project reconfigures the first, second and tenth floors, reinterpreting the history and logic of Sert’s architecture in a series of additions to and removals from the existing fabric to create a family of new internal and external spaces interspersed ‘with captured’ landscape. The new Welcome Pavilion at the front of the building creates a front door for the University and re-establishes a stronger connection between Sert’s Arcade and Harvard Yard. In the Arcade, by the careful removal of existing concrete fabric, light view and landscape have been introduced into the heart of the building. A series of internal and external landscape “thresholds” mediate between the Arcade and the new Harvard Commons space – the central room of the Campus Center, around which are gathered a series of social and meeting spaces of a variety of scale and character. The 10th floor has been completely re-organised to provide a flexible suite of formal and informal gathering spaces that openly engage Sert’s building with the University Campus and the City beyond. The project encompasses a detailed and forensic restoration of the existing concrete fabric, contrasted with new construction of structural steel, glazing and timber, allowing old and new to be seen in clear dialogue. Bruner/Cott were the Executive Architect on this project.

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