Harvard’s new Science and Engineering Complex is wrapped in a shimmering second skin

Revision and tweaking are central to the architectural process, but it is not often that a practitioner gets the chance to design the same project twice. When the Stuttgart, Germany–based firm Behnisch Architekten first won the commission for a new biomedical research facility at Harvard University, George W. Bush had just started his second presidential term and the university’s expansion into Allston, a Boston neighborhood just across the Charles River from Cambridge, had yet to concretize. The new research building would be its centerpiece.

With an already wide-ranging portfolio of institutional research facilities, which included Cambridge’s own Genzyme Center, the first building of its size to earn LEED Platinum certification,

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