Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Owner: Boston University Contractor: Suffolk Construction Architect: KPMB Architects Engineer: LeMessurier
Concrete: S & F Concrete Slag Cement: Holcim
Rising above the Central Campus of Boston University, Boston, MA, USA, the 19-story structure (17 occupied floors above grade topped by two levels of mechanical equipment, as well as two levels below grade) will house the Mathematics & Statistics Department and computer science programs. A “vertical campus” theme—designed by KPMB Architects of Toronto, ON, Canada—plans for the center start with a five-story base, or “podium,” topped by 12 floors occupied by departments and centers, and two floors for mechanical systems. Blocks of two to three floors are slightly off-center from the block below so that the building resembles a stack of books.
With sustainability being a high priority for the university, the Data Center project offered an ideal opportunity for using ECOPact green concrete developed by the Holcim-Northeast Region Concrete Division. Incorporating a high level of supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs) with slag cement to lower clinker content, custom-designed ECOPact mixtures significantly reduced the carbon footprint of the project while providing equal or better performance than conventional concrete. These mixtures were designed to reduce the global-warming potential (GWP) by at least 30% compared to standard concrete.
The innovative design of the dramatic learning center is essential to meet the Boston University climate action plan of net-zero emissions by 2040. The 100% fossil fuel-free and net-zero energy facility will rely on geothermal wells for heating and cooling, and solar and wind renewable energy for electricity. Encompassing 350,000 ft2 (32,500 m2), it will be the largest carbon-neutral building constructed in Boston since the city’s climate action plan update in 2019.
% Slag Cement Replacement
% Portland Cement
% Portland Limestone Cement
% Other SCM (if applicable)
Class F ash (20%)
3000 psi - 10000 psi