DivcoWest Cambridge Crossing 441 Morgan Avenue
441 Morgan Avenue is a LEED Gold commercial life science facility on a key site in the major new life science cluster bounding the northern end of Kendall Square, Cambridge.
The building sits at a major entry to the Cambridge Crossing neighborhood. It welcomes visitors arriving from the east, via or under the Gilmore Bridge, forms a vital framing element to the Common at CX—and integrates the Crossing into the Cambridge skyline.
The 12-story building includes ten tenant floors, topped by two floors of mechanical penthouse, and three and a half levels of underground parking. The building’s primary entry is through a lobby facing North Point Park across Morgan Avenue. A fully enclosed loading dock, along the northwest façade, leads directly to the core elevators. Long-term bicycle parking is in an interior bicycle room on the ground floor providing showers and bicycle repair stations that connect to the main lobby.
We took sustainability and context sensitivity as the two main drivers of the massing articulation and façade design.
These principles produced a building with distinct faces to address two different conditions, linked by a design language of subtle precision and a palette of warm, natural materials.
A glass curtain wall opens the north sides to the street and park. This skin is sheared like a fabric to create terraces and smaller façade zones, whose dynamic, shifting relationship lightens the building and articulates the elevations.
Terra cotta fins block morning and afternoon summer sun, and orient alternately towards street and park to articulate the façade at the intimate pedestrian scale.
The south façades use smaller windows with cutting-edge dynamic glass to minimize solar gain. The more regular rhythm of these windows, and the large-scale volumetric shifts, engage the more distant, civic views from the highway and Boston.
The warm tones of the terra cotta fins wrap to these faces as vertical pilasters, variably angled to achieve subtle rippling shadows.
Pedestrian experience drives the circulation and massing. As part of the façade shear, the east corner pulls out to shield views of the Gilmore Bridge underside, while providing the first direct connection from CX Common to the bridge via accessible public elevator and cantilevered walkway.
Rather than make the loading dock a secondary element, we took its street frontage as an opportunity to index normally hidden aspects of the building. Translucent door slats draw the eye to the striated ceiling inside the garage and loading dock, and patinated metal matches the building’s warm palette to this zone’s industrial character.
- Cambridge, MA
- 491,437 GSF
- Commercial labs, support spaces, bicycle transit hub
- Pursuing LEED Gold | WELL Core Certification | dEUI: 140
- Ennead Design Team
- Kevin McClurkan, Judy Glina, Geoffrey Hughes, Annie Yan Bailey, Winslow Kosior, Ryan Carlisle, Ochuko Edema, Ayelet Gezow, Sam Johnson, Laura Leung, Fangzhou Liu, Kyung Il Min, Maanasa Nathan, Nikita Payusov, Suzanne Troiano