An Interdisciplinary Vision

"Brandeis has long had a profound commitment to scholarship and learning in the humanities, but until now has not had the means to integrate the diverse fields of humanistic inquiry.

"The Mandel gift to build a designated Humanities Center represents an extraordinary opportunity to bring together those different disciplines, thereby generating new curricular and research activities that will transform the intellectual climate at the University.

"The Mandel Center for the Humanities will significantly enrich the learning experience of students and will make important contributions to scholarship, stimulating the faculty to rethink research questions, methods, and connections to other core and affiliate disciplines in the humanities."

—"The Mandel Humanities Center: An Interdisciplinary Vision"

Mandel Center for the Humanities

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The Mandel Center for the Humanities constitutes Phase 1 of the Mandel Humanities Quad Master Plan developed in 2007 with the assistance of Kallmann, McKinnell & Wood, building on the University's 2001 Chan Krieger Campus Master Plan.

Programming for the Mandel Center for the Humanities was completed in February 2008, and Schematic Design, the first phase of the overall design process, was completed in June 2008.  The architects, Kallmann, McKinnell & Wood, completed the next phase of design work, Design Development in early October 2008, and completed construction documents at the end of February 2009. 

The ceremonial groundbreaking took place on September 23, 2008. Work on utilities to serve the Mandel Center for the Humanities began in February 2009, and excavation for footings and foundations for the Center began in mid-June 2009.  Throughout the project, input has been provided by an advisory group of faculty, students and staff.

The Mandel Center for the Humanities is located to the south of Olin-Sang, to which it connects. It will be possible to enter the new building directly from the lobby of Olin-Sang as well as through the Center's main entrance, which faces the loop road to the south. The Mandel Center for the Humanities will provide greatly improved ADA access to the Quad. The Mandel Quad (formerly the North Academic Quad) is also being renovated and landscaped.

All floor slabs and the roof were poured at the end of October 2009. Site landscaping and installation of interior finishes, including stone flooring and carpet, began at the end of April 2010.  In July 2010, the University received approval of occupancy from the city of Waltham and move-in is planned for the middle of August.

The Mandel Center for the Humanities features a large, multipurpose space for talks, gatherings and other events, adjacent to an outdoor, planted terrace. The uppermost level of the four-story building includes a reading room and a roof garden. The building also includes a 90-seat theater/lecture hall, a 49-seat, tiered classroom, and two new 24-seat seminar rooms, as well as offices and open-office workstations.

The project was completed on schedule and the Center was occupied, as planned, in time for the start of the fall 2010 semester.  The Dedication ceremony for the Mandel Center for the Humanities was held on October 26, 2010.

Elements of sustainable design and construction incorporated in the Mandel Center for the Humanities are highlighted on the sustainability sign displayed adjacent to the Forum within the Center.  The project meets a LEED gold equivalent standard.

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