Suffolk University’s new 110,000-sf, 10-story academic building, 20 Somerset Street, contains four floors of general classroom space topped by four floors of lab space—1,100 classroom seats in all—in addition to a first-floor, 200-seat cafeteria that doubles as a function room. In the middle is a floor dedicated to student support services, including computer labs and a learning center. The building houses the university’s physics, chemistry, and biology departments, as well as the journalism and communications department and faculty offices.
The labs are open and filled with natural light. Adjustable-height tables can convert to benches, the cabinets are moveable, and whiteboards line the walls; moveable center tables and flush floor-mounted utilities allow for flexible configuration. Chemistry classrooms include perimeter fume hoods with central gathering and AV-equipped teaching stations.
The exterior of the building features precast concrete panels and a glass curtainwall revealing the colorful interiors. A transparent stairwell on a prominent corner of the site offers students moving between classes the opportunity to “see and be seen” on campus. The building opens out onto Roemer Plaza, which was redesigned to create the University’s first quad.
Lounges and informal gathering spaces are located throughout the building, providing many opportunities for spontaneous conversation and collaboration among students and faculty.
The building is tracking LEED Silver certification.