Designed by KPMB Architects, the Center for Computing & Data Sciences is one of a few major new buildings on Boston University’s Charles River Campus in half a century. Its program consolidates the departments of mathematics, statistics, and computer science into a 19-story vertical campus that will be BU’s tallest building. Its transparent podium base aligns with the height of other buildings along Commonwealth Avenue; the setback, irregularly stacked boxes comprising its tower read as masses scaled to the context rather than one looming, outsized volume.
Boston University’s Climate Action Plan aims to reduce the institution’s carbon emissions to zero by 2040, and the Center for Computing & Data Sciences will be the first building on any BU campus to be 100 percent fossil-free. Geothermal wells provide the majority of its heating and cooling. In the envelope, transparent triple glazing is integrated with spandrel panel glass and insulated metal panels. Two exterior shade systems control solar heat gain and reduce the glare that can make viewing computer screens and whiteboards particularly challenging. On deeper floor plate zones, diagonal metal louvers in front of 60 percent glazing mitigate solar gain while driving daylight into the interior. In shallower single-bay floor plate zones, where daylight does not need to reach as deeply, prefinished metal sawtooth elements are vertically installed in tandem with 50 percent glazing.