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Hoffman Laboratory

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1962, The Architects Collaborative. 20 Oxford St.

The University Museum, constructed in stages to support the teaching of comparative zoology, botany, mineralogy, and anthropology, remains the oldest standing Harvard building on Oxford Street. The museum was the brainchild of Louis Agassiz, a prominent naturalist and member of the Harvard faculty. The massive six-story building is surprisingly consistent, despite the fact that seven architectural firms designed sections over a sixty-year period. A pedimented central pavilion and end wings that project to Oxford Street and to the rear organize the red brick behemoth. Connected to it, the Hoffman Laboratory of Experimental Geology's red brick and concrete walls, horizontal massing, and height correspond with that of the museum, making it a sympathetic presence on the street.

Writing Credits

Maureen Meister


What's Nearby


Maureen Meister, "Hoffman Laboratory", [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, 326-327.

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