Rafael Viñoly to Design Edward Kennedy Institute at UMass Boston

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By Stephanie Murg Comment

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TEDSPACE. Renderings of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate (Courtesy Rafael Viñoly Architects)

I.M. Pei‘s John F. Kennedy Presidential Library is getting a new neighbor: the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The new facility, situated on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Boston beside the JFK Library, will be designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects. It will house interactive, educational programs about American government with a focus on how cool the Senate is. The institute has confirmed that the attractions will incude a mock-up of the Senate chamber (photo-op alert!), but we’re crossing our fingers for an exhibit devoted to the saucy colloquialisms and favorite desserts of LBJ or an animated look at a day in the life of the majority whip (Cue Devo soundtrack).

Renderings unveiled yesterday (pictured) offer a preview of the 40,000-square-foot space, designed by Viñoly to work in harmony with its Pei-designed neighbor. The ground level of white precast concrete will have punched window openings, while a seamless, two-story cladding will house the model Senate chamber. According to Viñoly, the cladding will be visually separated from the single-story volume by a ribbon skylight, expanding the lobby and greeting visitors with a naturally illuminated reception area. The site will be surrounded by oodles of outdoor public space, including a lawn bordered by triangular volumes that will both define the building’s entrance and geometrically connect the institute to the JFK Library. Groundbreaking on the project is slated for this fall.

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