WPI Smart World Research Center | Boynton Street | Worcester

cubalibre

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For reference, initial post in Worcester Development thread.

WPI is breaking ground on a $80 million “Smart World” research collaboration building.

View attachment 515

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WPI twitter feed

Construction Update 1

Construction Update 2

Construction Update 3
 
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In addition to the above project, demo work for construction of a new 384 person dorm at the former Salisbury Garden Estates on Park Ave next to Institute Park was started in the last year. The school has longed owned the old garden style apartment complex using it in recent years for grad student housing. WPI has been adding a building nearly every two years for the last few decades. So many new buildings that were not there than when I attended in the 1980's
 

Scalziand

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I wonder when the next building in Gateway Park will be done.
 

cubalibre

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I wonder when the next building in Gateway Park will be done.
I haven’t heard about a schedule, but according to the master plan there could be three more buildings planned (the massive one at the center and the two with the pyramid shape roof tops).

6F18F35F-412F-4719-983F-C7FAB35B5FA2.jpeg

 

393b40

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Ugh WPI loves its suburban office park architecture / campusification bullshit. I don't really have a problem with the two pyramid buildings but put shift the building on Grove St so its also touching Salisbury.
 

cubalibre

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shift the building on Grove St so its also touching Salisbury.
Agreed. Something of a streetwall would be nice. Put the park behind the building as a buffer to the hotel. Though I have no idea when/if those additional buildings go up.
 

Arenacale

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In addition to the above project, demo work for construction of a new 384 person dorm at the former Salisbury Garden Estates on Park Ave next to Institute Park was started in the last year. The school has longed owned the old garden style apartment complex using it in recent years for grad student housing. WPI has been adding a building nearly every two years for the last few decades. So many new buildings that were not there than when I attended in the 1980's
I graduated in 2007 and they've basically doubled the size of the campus since then. It's great for the school, but as undergrads we were all kind of miffed that the expansion was going to kill the "small school" vibe that we ended up loving.

I'll give them a pass on them designing a college campus like a college campus, but then again, I'm biased.
 
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I graduated in 2007 and they've basically doubled the size of the campus since then. It's great for the school, but as undergrads we were all kind of miffed that the expansion was going to kill the "small school" vibe that we ended up loving.

I'll give them a pass on them designing a college campus like a college campus, but then again, I'm biased.
There were about 2,400 undergrad students at WPI when I graduated in 1985. The number is today near 4,200. A close to doubling enrollment size has necessitated a bigger campus which has resulted in all the new construction of academic buildings and dorms.
 

SlothofDespond

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I'm not sure about adding a street wall on Salisbury. The Salisbury/Grove intersection is already a dead zone of brick and stone. It's a low foot traffic area in general and none of the existing buildings seem like candidates to ever have any sort of meaningful street interaction. Putting some greenery on Salisbury might be better than just adding more pure stone walls for cars to zip through. The Grove St. side might benefit more from street interaction. That end of the street has the entire Northworks complex, another WPI dorm, a hotel, and Veterans Inc.

I also wonder about the impact of the modification to the Salisbury/Lincoln intersection (the purpose of which seems only to allow WPI more lawn space). I haven't exactly been impressed by most of the recent changes to Worcester streets and intersections.
 

Stlin

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I'm not sure about adding a street wall on Salisbury. The Salisbury/Grove intersection is already a dead zone of brick and stone. It's a low foot traffic area in general and none of the existing buildings seem like candidates to ever have any sort of meaningful street interaction. Putting some greenery on Salisbury might be better than just adding more pure stone walls for cars to zip through. The Grove St. side might benefit more from street interaction. That end of the street has the entire Northworks complex, another WPI dorm, a hotel, and Veterans Inc.

I also wonder about the impact of the modification to the Salisbury/Lincoln intersection (the purpose of which seems only to allow WPI more lawn space). I haven't exactly been impressed by most of the recent changes to Worcester streets and intersections.
I'm of the opinion that the streets in the entire swath needs rationalizing. Why does the church need a straight through ramp to 290? Why does Fountain exist? Why does Goldsberry get an underpass under Belmont as a railway roof? (It's intersection by 290 ramps isn't great either) Why is there a barely marked tunnel shortcut from Salisbury to Main when Grove exists? Beyond the Mill building and maybe the "Bliss building", I wouldn't be too opposed to some ED and wholesale redevelopment.

As far as street walls go... I agree that I don't begrudge WPI the campus feel for a college campus, and that the site doesn't need it. Worcester has far too many surface parking lots downtown, and I think those sites are far more important to the general urban fabric than here.
 

stefal

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That came out really nice. It's good they didn't use grey brick as originally rendered.
 
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The hillside thankfully hides much of its mass (as is also the case with Gordon Library and Fuller Labs) on the main campus side. Its siting however broke a longstanding policy of WPI not developing this area. It is directly in front of the Washburn Shops, the second oldest structure at WPI. Washburn is behind the school's first building Boynton Hall. The two oldest buildings both have distinctive towers and long had a commanding presence at the top of the hill. The Two Towers as they are often referred to came to represent the German motto of WPI, Lehr und Kunst, which means theory and practice. Boynton Hall was the academic building where theory was taught in the classroom. Washburn housed the shops where students put theory to practice crafting items. Not surprisingly given WPI's long and continued entrepreneurial business tradition, the school actually initially sold what the students produced and kept the funds for itself.

The building on this once hallowed ground follows another similar move the school made a decade ago. There had long been resistance to building anything on the grounds of the Higgins Estate which has an entrance on Salisbury Street. The 1921 Tudor style mansion and its extensive grounds/gardens were built by Aldus Higgins. He was the son of Milton P. Higgins, the first superintendent of the Washburn Shops and a founder of Norton Company (now St Gobain). His brother was John Woodman Higgins who founded Worcester Pressed Steel and collected armor and later created the Higgins Armory Museum to exhibit it. The family donated the estate to the adjacent WPI in 1971. Some of the grounds were taken about ten years ago for surface lot parking and an entrance road to the new parking garage (with athletic field above it) that runs along Park Ave.
 
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