Beacon of
Education

Suffolk University commissioned NBBJ to expand its flexible teaching space with a new 110,000-square-foot academic building at 20 Somerset Street, situated prominently on Boston's Beacon Hill.

The building houses laboratories and general classrooms for the College of Arts and Sciences and specialized classroom spaces for the Sawyer Business School. In addition to standard flat-floor classrooms and lab spaces, it includes case-study rooms, seminar rooms and studio classrooms with robust technology to support evolving teaching and learning styles.

The site negotiates the complex physical relationships between historic Beacon Hill, the McCormack Building on Ashburton Place, and the Garden of Peace and Saltonstall Building. The project also includes renovations to the state-owned Roemer Plaza, which has now become the de facto heart of campus, as well as public space for the McCormack state office complex.

Designed to achieve LEED Silver certification, the building features a precast concrete façade — animated by a relief that casts shadows as the sun moves throughout the day — designed for energy efficiency in conjunction with the building engineering systems. The outdoor garden, with native plants and comfortable seating, additionally provides opportunities for sustainable approaches to onsite water retention.

Precast Concrete
Precast Concrete
Precast Concrete
Precast Concrete
Precast Concrete

Publications

Boston Globe, “Suffolk University breaks ground on new academic building on 20 Somerset St.,” November 15, 2013
Tradeline, “20 Somerset Street,” December 2, 2015