Suffolk University, Somerset Street Residence Hall

Boston, Massachusetts

  • FIRM



    Suffolk University

  • AREA

    121,000 sq.ft.





Housing 345 students, Suffolk University Somerset Street Residence Hall complements the character of its historical Beacon Hill neighborhood. The architecture expresses the hierarchy of the building’s three primary relationships: outward to its architectural context, inward to the school community, and upward to the outside world and the future that ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY345COST PER SQ FT$309.00CITATIONPost-Secondary CitationFEATURED IN2005 Architectural Portfolio students.

The design has both a strong connection to the city and an illuminated internal life. Influenced in part by the restricted site, the parti creates a 19-story, light-harvesting atrium. The atrium is enclosed by transparent south-facing glass walls, skylights and interior reflective surfaces, including interior glazing and aluminum wall panels. These devices reflect and diffuse light to the ground floor and into adjacent bedrooms, lounges and common spaces.

The solar design strategy achieves two objectives: the harvesting of natural light and the reduction of heat loss. The daylighting, ventilation and mechanical systems are parts of this strategy. The atrium, the principal design tool in maximizing these objectives, ventilates itself and functions to control noise and ensure security. When the temperature reaches 85ºF, vents automatically open so the building can cool itself. Working in concert with energy-efficient air-handling systems, chillers and a heat-recovery system—right down to the recycled fiber carpeting—the building is one of the greenest in Boston.

"Innovative while recognizing its context. Layers of connectedness. Strong, clear concept."--2005 jury