Pierce Hall

Harvard Engineering traces its Cambridge roots to the establishment of the Lawrence Scientific School in 1847, a stone’s throw from the present-day nucleus of SEAS buildings along Oxford Street.

Gordon McKay Laboratory of Applied Science
9 Oxford Street

One of SEAS’ most critical research facilities, the Gordon McKay Laboratory of Applied Science (named after donor and inventor Gordon McKay), contains laboratories, faculty offices, and graduate student spaces primarily for Applied Physics, Mechanical Engineering, and Material Sciences. The five story building has entirely glass facades facing Oxford Street to the east and the Music Building to the west. McKay is densely occupied, with labs and offices served by a double-loaded corridor running the length of each floor. Containing two LEED-certified (i.e., eco-friendly) research labs, the structure is also now joined with the newer Laboratory for Integrated Science and Engineering (LISE).

  • Built: 1953
  • Architect: Shepley, Bullfinch, Richardson, and Abbott
  • Program: LabsGraduate Student Space
  • Areas/Offices:AdministrationApplied PhysicsElectrical EngineeringMechanical Engineering; Materials Science
  • Gross SF: 83,914 GSF

Cruft Laboratory
19A Oxford Street

Cruft Laboratory, originally called the Cruft High Tension Laboratory, was designed in 1915 to support research on antennas and storage batteries, and later, during WWII, was dedicated to work on radar. Considered the location of the first government research grant given to an institution of higher learning, Cruft, like Pierce, was eventually (and still is) used both by engineering and physics.

The building connects to Pierce Hall through the Van Vleck Bridge (containing 10 offices on each floor) at Cruft's second and third levels, though the floor elevations in Pierce and Cruft are not the same. Cruft also connects to the Laboratory for Integrated Science and Engineering (LISE) via a bridge at the third level, and it shares its west wall with Lyman Laboratory. Cruft is a three story building with an occupied basement and attic level. Red brick with a slate roof this modest building defers to the more monumental Pierce Hall and Jefferson Laboratory.

  • Built: 1915
  • Architects: E. J. A. Duquesne and H. L. Warren 
  • Program: Classroom; Teaching Labs; Faculty Offices; Administration and Staff; Graduate Student Space
  • Areas/Offices: Administration; Applied Computational Science; Applied Physics; Environmental Science and Engineering; Mechanical Engineering Material Science
  • Gross SF: 20,376 GSF

Pierce Hall
29 Oxford Street

Built in 1901 and one of the oldest buildings on Oxford Street, Pierce Hall is at the center of the SEAS campus and activities. The structure was created to support the expansion of engineering in the early 20th century, with an emphasis on drafting (hence the skylights on the 3rd floor, where the new flexible-use classroom—the Stephanie F. Connaughton Room—now resides).

SEAS Administration and faculty offices are housed in this building, along with the SEAS Library, innovative classrooms, and labs. Pierce is connected to Cruft Laboratory and Maxwell Dworkin by bridges.

The stately building is set back from Oxford Street and faces Holmes Field,establishing two primary elevations of the building: the formal front facing Oxford Street, and a campus front facing Holmes Field and the neighboring Law School. Classically composed and with elaborate masonry details and ornamentation on both primary facades, Pierce Hall contributes to the historic core of Oxford Street.

  • Built: 1901
  • Architects: Shaw and Hunnewell
  • Program: Classrooms; Teaching Labs; Research Labs; SEAS Library; Faculty Offices; Administration and Staff; Student Offices for AM/ME/Materials; Research Staff; Applied Math Undergraduate Lounge
  • Areas/Offices:Dean’s Office; Administration; Applied Mathematics; Environmental Sciences and Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Materials Science
  • Gross SF: 98,926 GSF

Maxwell Dworkin
33 Oxford Street

Maxwell Dworkin Laboratory, named after the mothers of the building’s donors (Microsoft Chairman William H. Gates III and Microsoft President Steven A. Ballmer, both members of the Class of 1977) is a contemporary structure, fully owned and operated by SEAS. Designed to house computer science and electrical engineering, the structure was completed in 1999. Often mistakenly called the Maxwell Dworkin Building, the word “Laboratory” is in recognition of the former Aiken Lab.

Maxwell Dworkin Laboratory has the largest classrooms and public spaces available at SEAS and contains a new undergraduate design lab, student lounges, and a teaching lab for electrical engineering. The structure has also become iconic due to its ties to Microsoft and more recently, Facebook (a facsimile of the building was featured in the movie The Social Network).

  • Built: 1999
  • Architect: Payette
  • Program: Classrooms; Teaching Labs; Faculty Offices; Administration and Staff; Graduate Student Space; Design Lab
  • Areas/Offices: Administration; Applied Mathematics; Computer Science; Electrical Engineering; Mechanical Engineering
  • Gross SF: 99,616 GSF

Engineering Sciences Lab
58 Oxford Street

The Engineering Sciences Lab (ESL) located at 58 Oxford Street was designed by internationally-known architect Minoru Yamasaki (famous for his design of the World Trade Center in New York City) specifically as a high temperature gas lab.

ESL was flexible for the purposes of experimentation on gases—“the walls and ceilings are lined with channels of space, approximately two feet by three feet, through which piping of all sorts can be easily run” (Harvard Crimson)—and the precast concrete system was important in the design.

The building was recently renovated to provide facilities for laboratory-intensive bioengineering work and graduate student kitchens and lounges. On the northern end of the SEAS campus, the four-story building has its own entrance off Oxford Street.

  • Built: 1964
  • Architect: Minoru Yamasaki
  • Program: Laboratories, Graduate Student Space
  • Areas/Offices: Bioengineering; Environmental Science and Engineering; Microbiology; Wyss Institute
  • Gross SF: 38,760 GSF

The Laboratory for Integrated Science and Engineering (LISE)
(FAS Shared Facility)
15 Oxford Street

This facility houses collaborations in the areas of nanoscale science research. Laboratories are housed in the one-third of LISE that is aboveground and in the three-level basement is a shared cleanroom, facilities for materials synthesis, and a microscopy suite. Links to Cruft, McKay Laboratory, the Harvard Science Center.

  • Architect: Rafael Moneo
  • Program: Laboratories; Faculty Offices; Administration and Staff; Research
  • Areas/Offices: Center for Nanoscale Systems; Cafe
  • Gross SF: 139,680 GSF

Northwest Building
(FAS Shared Facility)
52 Oxford Street

Located just north of the Harvard Museum of Natural History the structure houses interdisciplinary laboratories, classrooms, and offices. SEAS-dedicated space includes administrative offices (finance and budget; procurement; and research administration) and the scientific machine shop. Among the tenants are researchers in neuroscience, systems biology, and genomics.

  • Built: 2008
  • Architect: Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill
  • Program: Laboratories; Classrooms; Offices; Scientific Machine Shop; Cafe/Dining
  • Areas/Offices: Administration; Bioengineering; Environmental Engineering; Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
  • Gross SF for SEAS: 28,154 SF
  • Gross SF: 510,000 GSF