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Cambridge Center

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1984–1987, Moshe Safdie and Associates.

A convenient approach to the Cambridge Center development is the remodeled T-stop head house at Kendall Square (1986–1987, Moshe Safdie and Associates). The exit on Main Street is located adjacent to the MIT Bookstore in the Kendall Square Building (1917, William Mowl; 1925, Frank E. Leland, 292 Main Street), a five-story brick loft building with a central clock tower, which provides an area landmark. Directly opposite rises the prominent twenty-five-story Marriott Hotel (1985, Moshie Safdie and Associates, 2 Cambridge Center). Set back at an angle, the foreground plaza is replete with cafés, a fountain, and a tower masking an emergency staircase. A sloping facade reveals the glass-enclosed atrium overlooking the plaza; upper stories contain such amenities as health club, pool, meeting rooms, and terrace gardens. The L-shaped red brick hotel dominates the immediate surroundings, framed by 1 and 3 Cambridge Center (1987, Moshe Safdie and Associates) on either side. Nearby buildings include 4 Cambridge Center (1983–1984, Moshe Safdie and Associates), a mixed-use office and retail twelve-story building of reinforced concrete with brick veneer. Symbolics is clearly written on the facade of 11 Cambridge Center (1984, Moshe Safdie and Associates), the four-story brick structure whose entrance is marked by a setback glass atrium; a wooden trellis joins a row of piers to the building proper.

Vehicular traffic may enter the area from the west along Broadway, beneath the skywalk that connects Draper Labs and one of many parking garages in this complex. Continuing along Broadway to its junction with Main Street, one arrives at Point Park (1988), designed by architects, artists, and engineers according to the plan of Otto Piene. The centerpiece of this minipark is a stainless steel sculpture (1988) featuring a spherical kinetic fountain, its theme the earth, the stars, and light.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Cambridge Center", [Cambridge, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 283-284.

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