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Massachusetts College of Art and Design Design and Media Center

Ennead Architects

Shared By

Sara Johnson


Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Project Status


Year Completed



40,000 sq. feet

Construction Cost

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The Design and Media Center opened on Jan. 19, 2016.

Project Description


The design for MassArt’s new Design and Media Center establishes a new identity and welcoming threshold for the College along Boston’s “Avenue of the Arts.” The architecture reveals the vitality of the art and design community within. The new building translates the aspirations for the College’s evolving interdisciplinary curriculum into a flexible system of studios, galleries and shared technical spaces.

Located at a critical intersection of campus and city, within a dense urban block comprised of a wide range of buildings from different eras, the new Center rests on the historical foundations of an early 20th century structure. The design weaves together old and new with the transformation of a former brick gymnasium. The renewed monumental volume of the gym has become a crossroads at the heart of campus and a dynamic collaborative environment. Its transparent new face to the City is a dramatic shift from the opacity of the original building and establishes a new front door to the campus. Now a distinct and visible presence on Huntington Avenue, this triple-height exterior glass envelope, supported by a series of four king-post trusses and punctuated by an entry vestibule along the eastern edge, extends into a new public plaza that blurs the distinction between interior and exterior space.

Marking the entry to the building, a double-height lobby creates a memorable focal point upon entering the building. A choreographed sequence of stairs and accessible ramps serves to orient visitors to major public spaces, as well as improve internal circulation and accessibility between buildings for the entire campus. A new studio volume directly above the lobby is clad in a diaphanous screen of perforated metal that filters the southern light. Surrounding the central exhibition volume are multiple levels of walkways linking the program spaces throughout the Center. A concentration of mixed-use studio volumes, galleries, critique spaces and a lecture hall form the backdrop for the main exhibition hall. The Center also includes new technical spaces for sound and light and a new wood shop on the lower level that will serve the entire campus. A crenelated ceiling completes the space with a rhythmic series of skylights that animate the interior with daylight throughout the day.

This newly daylit environment, along with energy efficient systems, local and recycled materials, and enhanced envelope performance will also contribute to making the overall campus increasingly sustainable. The building is designed to receive LEED silver certification and is in compliance with Massachusetts Executive Order 484.

Designed to not only enhance the quality of collaborative teaching spaces for the College but also to celebrate the spirit of design innovation at MassArt, the four-story network of spaces form a state-of-the-art facility for cross-disciplinary creative exploration and collaboration and an environment that to reinforce connections to the local creative economy and surrounding Arts district.
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