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Vertex, Cambridge Research Park

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2004, Steven Ehrlich Architects. 675 W. Kendall St.

Located at a right angle to Genzyme, the building is distinguished by an interplay of overlapping planes, which supposedly are arranged according to DNA patterns to reflect innovations in the biotech field (the latter hardly apparent to the nonscientific observer). A variety of textures—terra-cotta and metal wall panels, channel glass, cast stone, and brick—catches changes in natural light and atmospheric conditions. Two huge asymmetrical trusses project on the north side; they form an overhanging mast that acts as a counterpoint to the flat facade.

In contrast to Genzyme's light-filled festive interior, Vertex is decidedly hard edged. Its soaring seven-story atrium crowned by a skylight is surrounded by diagonal stairways and ramps of woven wire and latticework. In its unfinished state, the space seems dark, brutal, foreboding, and machinelike, yet withal bearing the potential for excitement and drama, if not the social interaction stated in the architects' program.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Vertex, Cambridge Research Park", [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, 284-284.

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