Building H/College of Computer and Information Sciences and Residence Hall, Northeastern University

College of Computer Science and Residence Hall, Northeastern Univ.

William Rawn Associates, 2004

Harleston Parker Medal, 2005

Rawn has pulled together a series of disparate programmatic elements to create a fine piece of urban architecture that both defers to its context and creates a striking statement on the skyline.

A four story building for the College of Computer and Information Sciences lines Parker Street on one side, and defines a pedestrian walkway on the other. A double height interior street looks out at the campus through a wall that is almost entirely glass. An 18 story residential tower rises up at the corner of Huntington Ave., countering the complex’s sweeping horizontality with an emphatic vertical statement.

The tower has a one-room deep glass frontispiece enclosing communal spaces on each floor, with a metal paneled shaft studded with windows enclosing student dorm rooms behind. In a defining flourish, the shaft arcs back at the top and slides back behind the frontispiece on the sides, giving the glazed volume an additional sense of luminosity. The interiors combine bright colors, warm wood, cozy nooks and a controlled monumentality to bring students together, and still provide quiet places for study and conversation.

Overall, Rawn’s architectural language is a thoughtful response to neighborhood, institutional, and individual needs. It is perhaps least welcoming along Parker Street, where the buildings meet the ground with a bit of a thud.

Source: HPM jury comments