Project

The Front Door is Open

Perpendicular extension opens up historic Building 16 to fuse heritage site with modern, integrated learning environment

Tufts University Agnes Varis Student Center

Tufts University
North Grafton, Massachusetts

Originally a male nurse’s residence hall for a state hospital, historic Building 16 was purchased by Tufts to become the front doors to the university’s North Grafton Campus and the home of the School of Veterinary Medicine. FA worked closely with the administration, faculty and students to preserve the exterior of the historic building, while also transforming it into a new student hub for classes, socialization, study, recreation, and meals. The addition’s generous use of glass and strategic lighting make it a beacon at night, marking the arrival point to a place that values socialization, relaxation and wellness.

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Size
21,700 SF
Scope
New Construction, Renovation
Program
Social and Study Space, Faculty Offices, 90-Seat Cafe, Fitness Center, 175-Seat Lecture Hall
Sustainability
Awards
2009 Worcester Chamber of Commerce, Silver Hammer Award
2009 ABC, EICA Award
In the news
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“We used to have a bookstore on one corner of a campus, a cafeteria in a trailer on another corner, and no place for students to study or blow off steam… To have one cohesive heartbeat of our campus is a dream come true.”
Tom Keppeler, Former Associate Director of Public Relations, Tufts University
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A ‘fast tracked’ project, renovation of the historic building commenced while the design of the lecture hall was still in process. This provided presentation materials for the University’s fundraising timeline and kept construction on schedule.

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Blending contemporary materials with brick and stone accents, the addition complements the existing building, while the whole defines a new campus hub.