Boston University – Center for Computing and Data Sciences

Boston University’s new Center for Computing & Data Sciences, designed by KPMB Architects, boasts a sustainable 19-storey building featuring human-centered design and collaborative interior spaces.

  • area / size 345,000 sqft
  • Completed 2023
  • Today Boston University celebrates the opening of its new Center for Computing & Data Sciences with architecture and interiors by KPMB Architects. The largest sustainable, fossil fuel free building in Boston, this stunning 345,000 square foot 19-storey vertical campus rises boldly over the banks of the Charles River dramatically re-shaping the skyline of Boston.

    Located on Commonwealth Avenue, the new building will immerse itself within the campus embracing all students while simultaneously offering a hub for 3,000 students and faculty from mathematics, statistics, and computer science departments. It will also be home to the Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences, a new interdisciplinary, degree-granting academic unit at the University. The Center reflects Boston University’s commitment to being a leader in computing & data sciences. The official opening establishes Boston University’s vitality in the city and the world while providing a superb facility for teaching and research in a 21st century university.

    The design maximizes opportunities for collaboration, interconnectivity, and innovation while bringing sustainability to the forefront. A center designed around the digital world requires a strong emphasis on human-centered design.

    The exterior is characterized by a 19-storey cantilever volumed silhouette that rises 305 feet into the sky with eight green terraces to connect the Center to the natural environment. The façade—composed of a series of angled and diagonal louvers—takes direction from the site’s unique sun patterns. While contributing to the building’s distinctive linear aesthetic, these design elements also contribute to comfort and sustainability efforts, keeping the building warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

    The podium is extended to occupy most of the Commonwealth Avenue frontage to complete the streetscape and generate maximum ground floor animation on the Avenue. Highly transparent and porous, it functions as an urban porch for arrival, study, and gathering. The Center is conceptualized to function as ascending academic neighborhoods with bottom floors devoted to math and statistics, middle floors for computer science and the top floors for interdisciplinary work and public space. A central atrium unites faculty and students in a collaborative spirit and an interconnected staircase emerges from the area weaving upwards 8 floors to connect various disciplines, nurture cross-pollination of ideas and spark serendipitous encounters.

    Open interior spaces take advantage of the Center’s unique position in the heart of Boston, with expansive river views afforded from three sides of the building. Classrooms and collaboration spaces are illuminated with an abundance of light with floor to ceiling windows to remind students enveloped in the digital realm to remain inspired by the natural world and remember the link between technology and humanity. What’s more, whiteboard walls throughout the core stimulate collaborative ideation while putting processes on display.

    The state-of-the-art building includes 12 classrooms, 2 computer labs, a cafe on the ground floor, numerous collaboration spaces and a plaza with a covered bike shelter. Natural light is optimized throughout all spaces in the building. The stacked campus culminates in a spectacular event space and pavilion at the top level that fosters collaborative engagement and offers expansive views of the city.

    Design: KPMB Architects
    Photography: Tom Arban