The purpose-built WGBH headquarters consolidates functions, facilitates collaboration and provides a singular architectural identity for Boston’s pre-eminent public media resource.
WGBH imagines itself as an ‘idea factory,’ and indeed it is a place with a creative nature that is nonetheless straightforward, clear and without pretention. Its building is expressive of the intense and diverse creative efforts that are an everyday occurrence and foster such creativity every way it can.
The bridge-inspired design strategy consolidates WGBH’s operations for the first time, ameliorating WGBH’s former dispersal across thirteen buildings. A dynamic connector beam which hovers above the street, unifies two sites that are bisected by a public roadway.
The transparent beam houses WGBH’s content providers, bringing television, radio and digital together for the first time and fostering interaction and the cross-pollination of ideas. The beam is the conduit between technical spaces, housed in a new building and administrative spaces in a pre-existing office building.
On a prominent site directly adjacent the Turnpike, the building raises the institution’s visibility and underscores its public mission. Befitting its public identity, the project employs modest materials in unexpected ways.
The west side of the building is a communication device; its glass surface incorporates a digital skin of programmable LED panels facing the Turnpike. The digital imagery is drawn from WGBH’s programming and is updated daily to inspire and engage the more than half a million people who drive past each week.
Technical Operations Center, TV Production Studios, Radio Station Performance Studio, Full Editing Suites, On Air Facilities for BBC The World, Screening Rooms, Auditorium, Offices
Ennead Design Team
Richard Olcott, Timothy Hartung, Tomas Rossant, Molly McGowan, Pat Golden, Katharine Huber, Kate Mann, Charmian Place, Elizabeth Arnaiz, James Bennett, Peter Broughton, Tanya Chan, Louisa Clayton, Jennifer Dubas, Darla Elsbernd, Carlyle Fraser, Adam Hayes, Christen Johansen, Kwansoo Kim, Tara Leibenhaut-Tyre, Si-Yeon Min, Michael O'Meara, German Ortiz, Michael Regan, Melissa Sarko, Annie Shu
Society of American Registered Architects, National Design Award of Recognition, 2010
Honor Award for Design Excellence, AIA/Massachusetts and the Boston Society of Architects, 2008
McHugh, Sharon. "Mass communications on the Mass Pike" (worldarchitecturenews.com, 5/18/2008)
Weeks, Katie. "Must-See TV" (Contract, 2/2008)
Campbell, Robert. "A bridge to the future in Brighton, WGBH settles into a picture-perfect digital age home" (The Boston Globe, 9/16/2007)
Campbell, Robert. "Experiencing Architecture With Seven Senses, Not One" (Architectural Record, 11/2007)
Delgado, Lisa. "Polshek's LED Wall in Boston Gives Drivers an Eyeful" (The Architect's Newspaper, 10/31/2007)
McKnight, Jenna M. "Polshek Fuses Media and Architecture" (Architectural Record, 9/17/2007)
Pogrebin, Robin. "Three New Buildings About Communications Are Also Designed to Communicate" (The New York Times, 9/19/2007)
Bowen, Ted Smalley. "Polshek building near Boston" (Architectural Record, 4/2005)
Edgers, Geoff. "WGBH marks groundbreaking" (The Boston Globe, 1/26/2005)
Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc.
Haley & Aldrich, Inc.
Brandston Partnership, Inc.
Poulin + Morris, Inc., 2x4, Inc.
Janson Design Group
Ducibella Venter & Santore
Construction Specifications, Inc.
Hughes Associates, Inc.
Steven Winter Associates, Inc., Viridian Energy & Environmental, LLC
Next Step Design, Inc.
Iros Elevator Design Services, Inc.
GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc.
Boston Anchor, LLC
The Systems Group
George B.H. Macomber Company
Turner Construction Company
Jeff Goldberg/Esto, Alex S. MacLean/Landslides Photography