Genzyme Center

Headquarter Building

Genzyme Center

Headquarter Building

The Genzyme Center is located in the midst of other dynamic research institutions on a former brownfield site close to the Charles River.

The design brief required a progressive building which would represent a point of identification for the Genzyme Corporation, its employees, guests and visitors. The building accommodates about 920 individual workplaces over 12 floors. Commencing with the initial architectural competition and throughout a highly integrated design process the primary design objective was to develop a building from the inside out.

Organised as 'a vertical city' with individual ‘dwellings‘, public areas and gardens extend up to the full height of the central atrium. The open staircase forms part of a 'vertical boulevard', starting at the ground floor lobby before proceeding upwards through various neighbourhoods with open workstations and separate offices.

The interior is flooded with daylight, all workstations are naturally illuminated through a combination of re-directional blinds at the building’s perimeter and the top-lit central atrium. Above the atrium roof a sunlight redirection system with heliostats and fixed mirrors serves to further enhance lighting levels.

A prismatic ceiling beneath the skylights carefully filters the light, then disperses it into the interior of the building through reflective objects such as the sparkling 'chandeliers' and the 'light-wall'. The atrium’s role as a return air duct ensures that the chandeliers are, under the influence of thermal effects, constantly in motion, further enlivening the space.

The building has been awarded the USGBC Leed Platinum Rating and is a prime example of what can be achieved through the application of sustainable strategies in the workplace.

  • Location

    Cambridge, MA, USA

  • Client

    Lyme Properties, LLC, Cambridge, MA (Base Building), Genzyme Corporation, Cambridge, MA (Tenant Improvement)

  • Architect

    Behnisch, Behnisch & Partner, Los Angeles

  • Address

  • Photography

    Anton Grassl (1-6, 9)
    Roland Halbe (7-8)

  • Design


  • Completion


  • Gross

    32.500 qm / 350,000 sq.ft.

  • Volume

    100.000 cbm / 3,531,470 cu.ft.

  • Competition

    2000, 1st prize

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