American Academy of Arts and Sciences

American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Kallmann, McKinnell, and Wood, 1979–1981

Landscape: Carol R. Johnson and Associates

Program: Lawrence B. Anderson

Harleston Parker Medal, 1982

The Academy is one of America’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies and a leading center for policy research. Its membership now includes more than 250 Nobel Laureates, 60 Pulitzer Prize winners, architects like Frank Gehry and Toshiko Mori, and actors, musicians, and artists. Hilary Rodham Clinton was elected in 2012, and Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen in 2013. Dædalus, the Academy's quarterly journal, is widely regarded as one of the world's leading intellectual journals.

Set in a five acre wooded setting on the edge of Cambridge, the building conveys an elemental sense of shelter. Upper hip roofs are supported by rustic brackets and shade second floor office windows; lower roofs rest on red brick walls and extend out over wood and masonry arcades. The interior consists of a series of meeting rooms, offices, lounges and dining areas, arranged around a central stair hall and connected by massive piers not unlike those on the outside.

The building and site offer a broad range of opportunities for discussions among groups large and small, in a comfortable home like setting. Fireplaces, bookcases, and seating nooks abound, with French doors leading out to the garden. The labyrinthine quality suggests just the kind of inquiries that led to the election of many of the members.
The architects also designed Boston City Hall. The mahogany interiors and traditional massing of the Academy are a far cry from the abstract concrete at Government Center, although the muscular structure and contemplative spaces suggest an underlying kinship.

Source: HPM Jury report