Sert Campus, Boston University

Sert Campus

Josep Lluis Sert, 1961-1966

Preservation Achievement Award, 2016 (Law School tower renovation)

Following the completion of Cram's initial campus plan and construction of Storrow Drive along the river in the 1905s, BU managed the special problems of its long, narrow urban campus by acquiring most of Bay State Road and expanding vertically. Sert’s new plan reoriented the campus reoriented toward the river, and, with its tower, raised a flag on the campus that could be seen up and down the river. The dialog with Sert's Peabody Terrace at Harvard would have been quite evident when they were among the only high-rise buildings along the Charles.

Sert's 1960s buildings illustrate many of his techniques for enriching huge concrete structures: sunscreens, decorative window divisions, scoop clerestories, asymmetrical massing, expressed structure, projecting bays, and balconies. The terracing of the library reduces its apparent bulk and, together with the central quadrangle, provides a broad, low setting for the Law and Education Tower. Spaces between buildings were carefully designed for student circulation and enjoyment, and clever earthwork helped create a quiet campus enclave on the river side of the old campus.