Commonwealth Avenue links many academic buildings with iconic architecture to other facilities with urban roots. To address the comfort and energy efficiency in these buildings the University has embarked on a phased window replacement program, which will incorporate over 300 buildings on campus.
The University did its first window replacement project in 1988, and has since ramped up these efforts completing approximately 6,000 windows to date.
The window replacement program incorporates thermally broken aluminum frames with 1” insulated glass panels. More recently low emittance (Low-E) insulated glass panels have been used at the 575 Commonwealth Avenue Dormitory to allow in the maximum amount of light, while keeping unwanted heat out in the summer.
Window replacements have been completed in the following locations:
- 610 Beacon Street
- 140 Bay State Road
- 575 Commonwealth Avenue
- 855 Commonwealth Avenue
- 273, 275, and 277 Babcock Street (West Campus dorms)
Many of the smaller dorms and brownstones on Bay State Road and South Campus have also been included:
264-270, 226, 232 Bay State Road.
The energy savings is being evaluated on the West Campus project. Before the project was implemented, the water temperature circulated to heat the buildings was set at 180 degrees in the winter months and struggled to keep up with demand. Now, water temperature settings have been reduced between 110 to 140 degrees, and are able keep up with demand.
Over the next four years the University will phase in a window replacement program, which will include the University’s historic Cram and Ferguson College of Arts and Sciences buildings and Warren Towers.
Window projects in progress and planned for the over the next four years include:
- 675 Commonwealth Avenue
- 685 Commonwealth Avenue (north elevation from center to Tsai addition)
- 725 Commonwealth Avenue
- 745-55 Commonwealth Avenue
- 700 Commonwealth Avenue
Two teams of architects designed the original buildings surrounding Marsh Chapel; Cram and Ferguson developed the campus master plan and the original buildings that form Marsh Plaza. Cooley, Shepley, Bulfinch and Abbott, the successor firm to the great 19th century architect, H.H. Richardson, designed those extending along the avenue. These buildings were constructed between 1938 and 1948.
In the 1960s the famous Spanish architect Josep Lluís Sert, designed the George Sherman Union, Mugar Memorial Library, and the Law Tower to provide a much needed student center within the growing urban campus. From Kenmore Square to Packard’s Corner, Commonwealth Avenue featured automobile showrooms and services, attracting residents from the Back Bay and Cambridge to buy, service, and garage their cars. The avenue featured Packard, Fuller Cadillac, Peerless Motor Company, Noyes Buick, the Shell Oil Co. Headquarters, and many more. Many of these refurbished automobile showrooms are now the homes of the Colleges of Fine Arts, Communications, Admissions, and BU Academy. In 1949, the fashionable Miles Standish Hotel became the Miles Standish Hall student residences.