Brandeis University
Waltham, MA

Abraham Shapiro Academic Building Adapting a former archival library into modern office space has its challenges. The building being renovated for this project is the former home of the American Jewish Historical Society. It is located on the University’s campus, but was not an official part of the University until they purchased it in the summer of 2002. The building is an 18,000 sf, 3-story concrete building dating from 1967 with minimal glazing and prominent structural components. The new program added a new vertical circulation addition (stair tower, elevator, entrance(s)) and some new fenestration. During its use as an archival library the building had minimal ventilation, air conditioning and electrical loads. Syska worked closely with the architect to integrate the new air conditioning ductwork required into the building without taking up valuable program space. Syska also brought new engineering services into the building to better integrate it into the campus’ infrastructure.

Usdan Student Center Syska Hennessy Group is currently preparing an infrastructure upgrade plan for this 1970 vintage, 125,000 sf Student Center. Syska is working closely with the University, the Architect and the local Building Officials to plan out the upgrades required by both code updates and the building’s new program requirements. Compromises have been made by all parties to get the first renovations within available budget. Work is currently underway for Phase 1 of the renovations, which will create a new “One-Stop” Center for student services.