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Genzyme Center

The Genzyme Center is located in the midst of other dynamic research institutions on a former brownfield site close to the Charles River.

Courtesy of Behnisch Architekten – photography: Anton Grassl

The design brief required a progressive building which would represent a point of identification for the Genzyme Corporation, its employees, guests, and visitors. The building accommodates about 920 individual workplaces over 12 floors. Commencing with the initial architectural competition and throughout a highly integrated design process, the primary design objective was to develop a building from the inside out.

Courtesy of Behnisch Architekten – photography: Anton Grassl

Organized as ‘a vertical city’ with individual ‘dwellings‘, public areas and gardens extend up to the full height of the central atrium. The open staircase forms part of a ‘vertical boulevard’, starting at the ground floor lobby before proceeding upwards through various neighborhoods with open workstations and separate offices.

Courtesy of Behnisch Architekten – photography: Anton Grassl

The interior is flooded with daylight, all workstations are naturally illuminated through a combination of re-directional blinds at the building’s perimeter and the top-lit central atrium. Above the atrium roof, a sunlight redirection system with heliostats and fixed mirrors serves to further enhance lighting levels.

Courtesy of Behnisch Architekten – photography: Anton Grassl

A prismatic ceiling beneath the skylights carefully filters the light, then disperses it into the interior of the building through reflective objects such as the sparkling ‘chandeliers’ and the ‘light-wall’. The atrium’s role as a return air duct ensures that the chandeliers are, under the influence of thermal effects, constantly in motion, further enlivening the space.

Courtesy of Behnisch Architekten – photography: Anton Grassl

The building has been awarded the USGBC Leed Platinum Rating and is a prime example of what can be achieved through the application of sustainable strategies in the workplace.

Courtesy of Behnisch Architekten – photography: Anton Grassl

Project Info
Architects: Behnisch Architekten
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Client: Lyme Properties, LLC, Cambridge, MA (Base Building), Genzyme Corporation, Cambridge, MA (Tenant Improvement)
Gross: 32.500 qm / 350,000 sq.ft
Volume: 100.000 cbm / 3,531,470 cu.ft.
Design Year: 2000-2004
Competition: 2000, 1st prize
Year: 2004
Type: Office Building
Photographs: Anton Grassl

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