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Two buildings located on either side of Cambridge Street at Prescott Street, east of Gund Hall on the Harvard University campus

Index to Projects in Massachusetts

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Gross Floor Area
226,800 s/f including 94,300 s/f below grade

Harvard University

Time Frame
Planning: 6/98–
Construction: 2/03–
Dedication: 11/4/05

Center for Government and International Studies, Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts
Completed 2005


Lead Designer: Henry N. Cobb


Landscaped university complex

Click on image to enlarge

The Center for Government and International Studies houses the Department of Government and various research centers affiliated with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. The Center includes new and existing structures in an integrated complex accommodating a range of academic and administrative uses, including faculty offices, classrooms, library and computer facilities, the Harvard-MIT Data Center, and a café.

The new complex unites members of the Government Department in a single location alongside the thriving research centers. It promotes interdisciplinary exchange among faculty, students and visiting scholars from other universities in the United States and abroad. In addition, it provides space for graduate students to be in close proximity to their faculty advisers and to students in related fields, thus deepening the mentoring relationship so essential to graduate education and opening opportunities for first- and second-year graduate students to learn from and interact with their more advanced colleagues.

The two five-story mirror-image buildings are located on either side of Cambridge Street. The exteriors, clad in terra cotta, integrate sweeping expanses of glass. The dramatic interiors abet formal and informal interaction through dramatic curved staircases connecting airy atrium spaces linking the upper floors of the building. A large percentage of the building's square footage is located below-grade, with skylights that draw in natural light.


Major Components

Knafel Building: 5-story atrium, Library, Data Center, interior Wintergarden, Café, faculty and graduate student offices, seminar rooms, interconnection to the Graduate School of Design (Gund Hall), exterior Garden

South Building: 5-story atrium, 149-seat Lecture Hall, 60-seat Case Study room, seminar rooms, faculty and graduate student offices, exterior sunken garden


Pei Cobb Freed & Partners services

Site analysis, programming, community interface, public approvals, full Architectural Services, Interior Design



Olin Partnership, Philadelphia, PA



LeMessurier Consultants, Cambridge, MA


Mechanical / Electrical / Plumbing

Cosentini Associates, Inc., Cambridge, MA



Cosentini Lighting Design, New York, NY



Acentech, Cambridge, MA



Photo credits

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