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  Kanbar Hall, Bowdoin College, Page 22Kanbar Hall, Bowdoin College

1050 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138

Brunswick, Maine
Total Square Feet: 26,000
Construction Period: June 2003 to Sep 2004 

GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Payton Maine Corp. - 56 Industrial Park Road, Saco, ME 04072 
MECHANICAL & ELECTRICAL ENGINEER: Vanderweil Engineers, LLP - 274 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02210 
CIVIL ENGINEER: SYTDesign - P.O. Box 86A, Cumberland, ME 04021 
COST ESTIMATOR: Faithful + Gould - 55 Summer Street, 3rd Floor, Boston, MA 02110

Affectionately dubbed the “Brain Building”, Kanbar Hall at Bowdoin College is a three-story, 26,000-square-foot academic building that reinforces, enhances, and celebrates connectivity and different aspects and styles of learning.

Kanbar Hall is a contemporary building, comfortably set within Bowdoin’s campus and national historic district in Brunswick, Maine. The design of Kanbar Hall establishes strong indoor and outdoor relationships through its siting, its preservation of a landscaped parklike setting and mature “Bowdoin” pines, warm spaces flooded with natural light, and its brick and glass massing that expresses the activities of the varied academic programs it houses.

Providing much-needed new teaching and research space for Bowdoin’s Department of Psychology, Kanbar Hall accommodates Bowdoin’s growing teaching and research program in neuroscience, cognition, development processes and social interaction. In addition to classroom, neuroscience and observation laboratories, and faculty research rooms, the building forms new synergies with other programs on campus that also had space needs: the Baldwin Center for Learning and Teaching, the Writing Project, and the Quantitative Skills Center; a home-base cluster for the Education Department; a computer lab; and additional classroom space. The various programs in the building share classroom and seminar spaces as well as library, lounge, and meeting areas to foster flexibility, connectivity and interaction among programs.

Barry Mills, President of Bowdoin College, states, “Cambridge Seven’s design for Kanbar Hall, with its large windows, daily activity, and welcoming facades, is truly a beacon on a very public corner of our historic campus …. More importantly, the instruction, research, and scholarship going on inside represent the sophistication and attention to learning and teaching in intimate settings that are the hallmarks of this college. Cambridge Seven Associates has created exceptional space for this work; the laboratories, classrooms, faculty offices, and public spaces of Kanbar Hall create ample opportunity for student-faculty interaction, while its technologically advanced classrooms represent a new model for classroom design. “Peter Kuttner, FAIA, president of Cambridge Seven Associates, emphasizes the experience created by the project, “Kanbar Hall takes the opportunity to make learning positive for students by making new connections, elevating learning functions, and creating shared social spaces that are visible on campus.” Expressing a sense that it “has always been there,” the new building takes advantage of existing active student circulation paths, completing the corner of the quad, and facing a landscaped park.

The siting, massing and design juxtaposes brick and glass, stability and transparency, indoor and outdoor spaces to physically embody the varied programs and establish strong visual connections with the campus. The main mass is based upon the rectilinear brick vocabulary of campus. Breaking the axis of the “brick grid,” the design adds transparency, richness, and texture through a creative undercutting of the first floor, framing the open space of the quad and presenting activities of learning, skills, and computer lab as an active transparency facing the park. The undercut first floor is enclosed by a prominent use of glass with a custom-patina metal complement, giving it the sense of fluid transparency.

DIV 07:
Manufactured Metal Panels: Alply; Membrane Roof: Carisle SynTec.
DIV 08: Windows: Hopes.
DIV 09: Epoxy Flooring: Dur-A-Flex.
DIV 10: Louvers, Entrance Mats: Construction Specialties.
DIV 14: Elevators: Otis.

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