Kennedy & Violich Architecture wrapped the aging Tozzer library at Harvard University campus in a in digital brick envelope derived from the overall mass of the building. The architects transformed the old library into a modern educational facility by reusing the existing campus infrastructure and foundation.
The recently completed building, which now houses Harvard’s Anthropology Department, is a 35,000-square-foot LEED Gold-certified facility which won the 2016 Hobson Award given by the AIA for best new architecture project. It is located at the end of Divinity Avenue across the Street from Divinity Hall and in the middle of University Museum, and unifies the programs under one roof – together with the administration offices and teaching spaces.
The architects added two stories to the existing building, which is topped with a large copper roof. An exterior porch had separated the building from Divinity Avenue, and a disused tunnel prohibited access to the courtyard. It includes new landscape elements and houses various archeological photographs and artifacts.
One of the most interesting parts of the project is the digitally sculpted volume of brick, with each brick unit tied to the overall global form of the entry pavilion’s massing. The digital brick corbelling was tested digitally and practically and mocked up by local masons. Different detailing references the existing structure and the style of the neighboring buildings. Creating an interplay between “thick” and “thin”, the new design acts as a great modern response to its historic surroundings.
Photos by John Horner