In Boston’s Allston neighborhood, work is underway on the Enterprise Research Campus, a major undertaking by Tishman Speyer and Harvard University to transform an industrial site into a green, walkable neighborhood. A master plan designed by Studio Gang and Henning Larsen will transform 14 acres of the 36-acre site over the course of two phases.
The first phase, which broke ground last week, will result in a mixed-use development with residential, office and labs, a hotel, and conference center, as well as public greenspace. The forthcoming second phase will add more workspaces, residential buildings, and outdoor space.
As part of the phase one MVRDV is designing a 343-unit residential complex. Located next to the Harvard Business School on Western Avenue across the Charles River from Harvard’s main campus, 25 percent of the units in the new tower will be affordable. It will feature retail spaces for local businesses, a green rooftop terrace, and resident-focused amenities. SCAPE and Boston-based design firm Utile are also collaborating on the Enterprise Research Campus.
The residential complex by MVRDV consists of two residential blocks. One is an 8-story mid-rise tower; the other a 17-story high-rise. The podium level will feature co-working space, a gym, a game room, and meeting rooms. In total, MVRDV’s tower will have a mixture of studios, one-bedrooms, and two-bedroom apartments. Each of the apartment types will come in three different sizes.
This variety of unit types is expressed in the facade’s small indentations and protrusions. The facade composition doubly allows for more units to have corner windows, maximizing views for each resident. Aesthetically, the buildings feature a “recognizably Bostonian color palette” MVRDV said. The facades are clad in glossy green panels, an homage to the green copper-clad bay windows common throughout Boston.
“Designing so close to a place like the Harvard Campus is an exciting challenge—there’s an unusual mix of tradition, quality, and future-focused thinking that takes place here,” said Nathalie de Vries, an MVRDV founding partner. “With these residences we hope to fit in with that identity. Using fine materials and detailing, our design references the local architecture while also taking on its own sleek character – an ideal place for the students and young professionals that will play a role in shaping the future here,” de Vries said.
MVRDV’s contribution, planned to complete in late-2025 or early-2026, lies in the middle of the Greenway and is sited next to a 240-key hotel that will be designed by Marlon Blackwell Architects. The hotel will rise 16 stories. Porches and covered walkways integrated within its design create opportunity for the public to engage with the building. The ground floor will be dotted with restaurants and retail.
Studio Gang is designing two buildings for the first phase of the project, the David Rubenstein Treehouse. Slated to become the university’s first conference center, the building will constructed with a timber structure. Studio Gang is also working on One Milestone West, a building housing laboratories and research facilities. Henning Larsen is designing One Milestone East.
Upon completion, the Enterprise Research Campus will plug into the SCAPE-designed Greenway designed to connect Allston and the Charles River.