160 Mass Ave Tower Receives Fourth National Design Award

By 
Allen Bush
August 10, 2015
Press release
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The 400-seat dining hall of the 160 Massachusetts Avenue tower doubles as a performance venue.
William Rawn Associates, Architect; Copyright Bruce Martin

Berklee's multipurpose tower at 160 Massachusetts Avenue, designed by William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc. of Boston, has received the 2015 National Education Facility Design Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). A jury of five professionals selected the project as one of only four buildings nationally to receive this design excellence award. In its comments, the AIA Education Facility Design jury described the project as, “an electrifying space cleverly conceived and beautifully executed. This project succeeds on every level. From its innovative two-story dining hall/concert venue and its state-of-the-art and technologically inter-connected subterranean recording studios, to its inclusive housing venues and its invitational posture in the community, the Berklee Tower is, as promised, a center of gravity for the school.”

The jury also drew a parallel to a New York City musical landmark, “The exterior pictures of the tower as well as the interior pictures of the two-story, acoustically-tuned anchor space, are reminiscent of the Jazz at Lincoln Center venue. A multi-use space—replete with varied seating, a stage and somewhat circular three-sided balcony, the dining hall— the 400-seat performance venue is as inviting as they come. Flooded with light by day and enlivened by performance at night, it invites users to stay and enjoy. This is a great urban typology for a creative mix of programs, and it activates the street where no campus spaces exist.”

“Everything from the planning process, which involved students, the community and the city, to the tasteful use of lighting and color, to the taller-versus-wider approach, to the inclusion of exercise space, to the light-filled social spaces make this a winner,” concluded the comments.

In addition to this award, the Berklee tower has received a 2015 national American Institute of Architects (AIA) Housing Design Award, a joint 2015 national AIA/Society for College and University Planning award and a 2014 Housing Design Award from the Boston Society of Architects.