Mass Art Front

Designer: Ennead Architects, LLP
Construction Manager: Walsh Brothers, Inc.
Project Type: CM at Risk
Estimated Total Project Cost: $48.4 million
Gross Square Feet: approx. 60,176
Phase I Completion Date: January 2016
Phase II anticipated completion date: Summer 2016

The Center for Design + Media (CD+M) is a significant first step towards a larger scale transformation of the MassArt-Design campus. This effort focused upon translating the college's priorities into a building program that enhances the academic and collaborative environment of the Design and Media programs, while creating a sustainable new signature building on campus. The project called for transforming underutilized space within the Gym building into flexible and collaborative program spaces where a new interdisciplinary Design and Media curriculum can evolve.

The CD+M project creates a new front door for the College and provides a transparent and luminous new identity for the institution on the Avenue of the Arts. A clear and memorable entry sequence for students, faculty and visitors orients users to major campus spaces like the Pozen Center and Bakalar and Paine Galleries. The CD+M project reinforces campus-wide internal connections as well as external connections with outside professional collaborators, adjacent institutions such as the colleges of the Fenway, the Isabella Gardner Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts.

The project was procured using CM-at-risk with a twelve-month design period. Construction was completed in January 2016 on the primary scope, with phased implementation involving the re-use of the gymnasium shell, improvements in the Tower Building base and connections to the South and North Buildings and conversion of the space used for during construction for the Wood Shop to Studio Space. Phase II achieved substantial completion on May 31, 2016 and this space was utilized by the college for the Fall 2016 semester.

Project Features:

  • Net Occupiable Building Area: 38,934 assignable square feet
  • Total Gross Building Area: 60,176 gross square feet
  • First major capital project involving an academic building on the campus since 1977
  • Project program to infill vacant volume of gymnasium
  • Program spaces to maximize flexibility for accommodating instructional needs
  • Building to provide fully accessible entrances and connections to adjacent buildings
  • Sustainable project targeted for LEED Silver certification

In February 2017, this project received the Higher Ed award by The Boston Society of Architects.  The jury commented: “There are fantastic urban design moments. In a dramatic shift from the opacity of the original building, the center presents a transparent face to the city that invites a beautiful spilling of daylight. A choreographed sequence of ramps and stairs, while arguable from an aesthetic perspective, celebrate universal access and usher visitors into a memorable triple-height atrium.”

Ribbon cutting ceremony, January 2016
Ribbon cutting ceremony, January 2016

Photos credit ©Richard Barnes

Interior Atrium
Interior Atrium


Interior of the Center for Design and Media entry on Huntington Ave
Interior of the Center for Design and Media entry on Huntington Ave.
Exterior Main Entry for the Center for Design and Media
Exterior Main Entry for the Center for Design and Media
Center for Design and Media’s new Exhibit Hall
Center for Design and Media’s new Exhibit Hall