Window Replacement Program

The Charles River Campus has a rich architectural history. Commonwealth Avenue links the academic buildings with iconic architecture to other facilities with urban roots. To address the comfort and energy efficiency in these buildings and others, the University has embarked on a phased window replacement program to address over 300 buildings on campus.

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.

To address the comfort and energy efficiency in these buildings and others, the University has embarked on a phased window replacement program to address over 300 buildings on campus. The University did its first window replacement project in 1988, and has ramped up these efforts since, completing over 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 to allow the maximum amount of light in while keeping unwanted heat out in the summer.

Window replacements have been completed in the following locations:

  • 610 Beacon Street
  • 575 Commonwealth Avenue
  • 855 Commonwealth Avenue
  • 264-270 Bay State Road

Several smaller dorms and brownstones on Bay State Road have also been included:
273, 275, and 277 Babcock Street (West Campus dorms)

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
  • 725 Commonwealth Avenue
  • 700 Commonwealth Avenue

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