Future site of the Northwest Science Building

Monday, February 28, 2005

Cambridge, Massachusetts —The planning board of Cambridge, Massachusetts voted in unanimous approval of Harvard University’s plan to build a 410,000 ft² (38 090 m²) science center at 24 Oxford Street, according to the local newspapers, The Harvard Crimson and the Cambridge Chronicle. More than half of the space in the building will be constructed underground.

Hammond Street– a sound barrier erected to protect local residents from construction noise can be seen at right.

The Northwest Science Building, as it will be called, will house the laboratories of roughly 30 Harvard science faculty members, as well as a chilled water plant and an electrical substation. The building was designed by Craig Hartman, an architect in the San Francisco office of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, who also completed Harvard University Master Plan in 2002, according to the firm’s website. Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill also designed such notable buildings as Chicago’s Sears Tower and the recently completed international terminal at the San Francisco airport.

The vote to approve the plan occurred at the February 15, 2005, meeting of the Cambridge Planning Board at the City Hall Annex, 344 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge. In what the Harvard Crimson called a “departure from the norm,” there were no comments from residents at the hearing. The Crimson reported that the Harvard officials at the meeting took this as “a signal that the community was well-informed about the project prior to the presentation.” The sign advertising the hearing can be seen at right.

Notice of public hearing at the construction site. While the sign appears blank, there was handwritten text on the sign. The sign had been put where the sun does shine.

In related news, the Director of Urban Design for Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill’s New York office, Vishaan Chakrabarti, will be speaking at the Harvard Graduate School of Design on March 1, 2005.

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