|Press release by CBT/Childs Bertman Tseckares, Inc.
CBT/Childs Bertman Tseckares, Inc., an award-wining architecture firm from Boston, announces the October 10 groundbreaking ceremony for the Lemberg Academic Center at Brandeis University's Graduate School of International Economics and Finance (GSIEF), one of the top schools in its class.
The Lemberg Center will add 24,000 square feet of sophisticated administrative and learning spaces for the 250 graduate of the GSIEF and 500 undergraduate students from the Department of Economics who currently share quarters in the 1970s-era Sachar International Center. Program components include three new state-of-the-art classrooms, faculty offices, conference rooms and meeting areas, and a cafC). Residential space for approximately 110 students will be provided in a second phase.
The groundbreaking for The Lemberg Center represents the success of an international program whose popularity has skyrocketed since it was started in 1994. The new facility will greatly expand the educational capacities of the graduate school which has occupied the Sachar Center for nearly a decade. By giving the GSIEF more space and classrooms, the University hopes to double its population over the next few years.
CBT's design will connect the Sachar and Lemberg Centers in a seamless way. Partner Christopher Hill describes CBT's concept as "a series of continuous spaces that enhance the flow of ideas inside and outside of the classroom. Common spaces will provide the connective tissue between the two buildings on the ground floor, and faculty offices will be grouped on the second floor. By clustering the same functions on either side of the bridges that link the buildings, we found a way to transform a physical gap into a place where students and faculty will converge." Social hubs, such as a cafC) in Lemberg and a spacious lounge in Sachar, are placed at opposite ends of the ground floor to encourage circulation from one building to the next. Similar details, colors, and materials on the exterior of Lemberg Center also reflect the sense of continuity between the existing building and the new.
Fostering a spirit of collaboration is especially important to Dean Peter Petri who believes that "the school's diversity is one of our strongest assets." Design motifs such as flags and globes are appropriate for an environment where Americans are the largest minority group among students from 50 different countries. Petri wants to "bring people together from different backgrounds and perspectives and put them in a comfortable but challenging place. Our global vision reflects changes in the international economy, making us uniquely qualified to train the next generation of leaders."
The interior spaces were designed to promote interaction and collaboration among students and faculty. This educational goal is reflected in details such as glass-fronted offices, generous common spaces, and informal seating for casual discussions before or after class. A new cyber cafC) will give students a place to mingle or work in teams. An adjacent conference room will be able to accommodate small presentations and conferences for 14 to 20 people.
The project also provided the opportunity to create greater visibility for the GSIEF while protecting its special relationship with the existing landscape. A tower element will give the isolated building more physical presence as it is viewed from afar, and access will be improved by a landscaped promenade carved out of the rocky terrain. By contrast, the rear faC'ade of the building will have large expanses of glass that maximize sweeping views of the surrounding wetlands from the cafC) and other common spaces. These two different facades might be taken as a metaphor for the dual nature of educational experience: The front of the building represents the school's sophisticated and international prominence while the back of the building symbolizes the quiet contemplation of the academic world.
Founded in 1968, CBT has received over 150 awards for design excellence and has forged a reputation for consensus-building on projects that span from cultural institutions to large-scale redevelopments. The firm's portfolio includes architecture, urban planning, and interior design for academic and cultural buildings, commercial and office space, libraries, preservation and restoration of historic structures, private residences, residential communities, recreational facilities, retail space, parks and transportation facilities. Recent and current projects of note include the Bryant College School of Communications, Eastview Terrace at Pennsylvania State University, and a performing arts facility at the Winsor School in Boston, Massachusetts.
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