Brandeis University, Abraham Shapiro Academic Complex

Waltham, Massachusetts

  • FIRM

    Miller Dyer Spears


    Brandeis University

  • AREA

    17,500 sq.ft.





The former American Jewish Historical Society Headquarters and Archive has been transformed into a dynamic academic complex. The design added skylights to the two-story atrium of the 1966 structure to make a dramatic student, faculty and staff commons with casual seating and work areas. Surrounding clusters house programs in education, Jewish education, sustainable ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$205.00FEATURED IN2006 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYInterior Renovation development, Middle-Eastern studies, ethics, justice and public life, plus classrooms and seminar-conference rooms.

A glazed entrance addition reorients the facility and presents a welcoming face to the heart of the campus. To open the closed exterior and let in natural light, the architect cut the cast-in-place concrete walls to add and expand windows, and replaced concrete monitors with skylights. The glazed addition hides the blank facade and provides access to all levels. Rooftop HVAC units and chases embedded in office walls minimize structural penetration and accommodate the low ceiling clearances. New interior treatments in warm, understated tones complement the original building design.

The $3.6 million project was completed on a tight schedule in September 2004.