Located in the heart of a burgeoning biotech community, 675 West Kendall Street is comprised of research laboratories, offices, support spaces, and ground-level retail.
A design paradigm was developed to reflect the technologies of the biotech world and relate to the existing architectural fabric of Cambridge. Contemporary materials from Europe—terra cotta panels and channel glass—form a lively composition of overlapping planes and cubic mass. Chosen to harmonize with the traditional brick architecture of the city yet achieve a lighter quality, the terra cotta’s warm earthiness contrasts with the translucence of the channel glass, forming a Modrianesque syncopation between weight and weightlessness.
The surface patterning of the terra cotta rain screen alludes to the nature of the activity taking place inside the building. Four separate textures of terra cotta, which appear to change in the light at different times of day, represent the four sequencing gels of DNA molecules: Adenine, Thymine, Guanine, and Cytosine.
The building’s research labs are organized around a six-story, 120-foot-high atrium, which draws light and animation into the core as well as the workplaces. The design of the open walkways and veiled platforms within the atrium encourages creativity, while floating lounges or “living rooms in the sky” facilitate synergistic social interactions on each floor.
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Architect: Ehrlich Architects
Associate architect: Symmes Maini & McKee Associates
Photographers: Christopher Lovi | Chuck Choi | Peter Vanderwarker | Ed Wonsek | Paul Warchol