Campus Center Plans Include Remodeled Front

Smith Campus Center Front
A preliminary rendering of the renovated Smith Campus Center shows a remodeled front facade, where restaurant Au Bon Pain is currently located.

Upcoming renovations to the Smith Campus Center include a redesigned and glass-paneled exterior, a rooftop terrace, and more entertainment venues, including a bar for Harvard affiliates on the building's 10th floor.

New details on the planned construction of the campus center, which is set to be completed in 2018, emerged last Friday as University planners hosted the first widespread unveiling of the building’s floor plans and initial artistic renderings. For the most part, the exhibition confirmed preliminary designs for the campus center’s first, second, and 10th floors that The Crimson first detailed last month.

Tanya Iatridis, the senior director of University planning who oversees the campus center project, reiterated the central focus areas of the Smith Center in a tour of the designs, deconstructing the plans into six areas: the welcome area, common and meeting spaces, food retail, and arts and wellness venues.

Iatridis said the building’s front facade, where the Au Bon Pain restaurant currently resides, will undergo a significant transformation.

“We are pretty much demolishing all the interior walls and…we’re moving the building outwards,” Iatridis said. The end product, depicted in artistic renderings, will feature an expanded front area with large, two-storied glass panels. The space that currently houses Clover Food Lab on Holyoke Street is also part of the to-be redesigned exterior.

Brigid O'Rourke, a Harvard spokesperson, said the fate of restaurants in the campus center has yet to be decided.

Landscapers will bring seasonal greenery into a variety of spaces across the building’s floors and walls, Iatridis said. Architects intend to transform the rooftop, which currently houses machinery, into a terrace, according to Iatridis. Elsewhere, a vitrine will encase trees in glass, and green walls will showcase various seasonal plants.

Campus Center Interior
A preliminary rendering of the interior of the renovated Smith Campus Center includes greenery and common space.

“Light and landscape have been the two big things,” Iatridis said of the renovations.

The exhibition also provided more detail on the intended uses for the space. The 10th floor will be accessible only to University affiliates and feature a bar, kitchen, pool and ping pong tables, and smaller seminar rooms, she added.

Lockers on the second floor, meanwhile, will be introduced for undergraduate and graduate students to temporarily store their belongings. That area, like other portions of the second floor, will be restricted from public access, Iatridis said.

A second, smaller set of cosmetic renovations to the entire building is also underway, as planners are identifying portions of the outer concrete that will be cleaned and windows that will need repair, according to the campus center exhibition.

The Cambridge Historical Commission and Cambridge Board of Zoning Appeal, as well as the Harvard Square Advisory Committee, will have to approve the renovation designs, meaning that they are subject to change.

—Staff writer Noah J. Delwiche can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @ndelwiche.


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