Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute

Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute, a joint venture between MIT and Harvard University, applies the understanding of the Human Genome Project to help cure disease. Located in Kendall Square, it integrates laboratory, office, exhibition, and retail space, and an auditorium into a single building, thereby providing the Broad Institute Scholars with an ideal environment in which to conduct research. 

Eric Lander, founder and director of the Broad Institute, provided the inspiration for the project in his vision for an “open” and transparent scientific process. The building’s design speaks to this vision through a layered use of glass, both on the exterior skin and within the building. Light suffuses through the interior glass walls which enclose offices, conference rooms, and laboratories and travels to interior corridors and common spaces. The glass volume on the exterior of the building identifies the laboratory spaces, and encourages public awareness and support of the processes within.  

The floor plan promotes interdisciplinary interaction. Crossroads between laboratories are occupied by interactive program pieces, such as open kitchen spaces, in order to create an environment where scientists from diverse disciplines will “bump into each other,” promoting discourse and the cross-fertilization of ideas. In the lobby, the sinuous curves of the mezzanine, the open riser stair, and an egg-shaped, transparent seminar room enliven the open space, while large central pivot doors open the lobby to the city of Cambridge. The openness of the lobby seeks to reveal the interactive exhibitions demystifying science to the passer-by on the street. 

Maryann Thompson Architects served as the Design Architect for this 50,000 sf project and took the project through programming, layout, schematic design, color and finishes selection.