Day 1, and beyond

Harvard University,
Harvard Innovation Lab
Allston, MA

It’s in our nature as architects to focus on delivering the final product. Yet we’re always mindful that the day of completion sparks a new beginning. For the Harvard Innovation Lab, or i-lab, we worked towards the concept of “Day 1”—the idea that the project truly launched the day students, faculty, and the community began using and shaping the space.
A toolkit of furniture components invites thinkers to shape their space. The two-person tables can be clustered together for larger groups. Seating is durable yet lightweight and stackable. Maneuverable whiteboards encourage impromptu brainstorms.
Dubbed as the “Grand Central Station for entrepreneurial thinking” by Cherry Murray, dean, Harvard’s School of Engineering, the i-lab promotes team-based activities among Harvard students, faculty, entrepreneurs, and members of the Allston and Greater Boston community. The modular ‘garage-chic’ environment conveys a sense of the possible, and can be shaped to accommodate evolving technologies.
The iconic “Hi” visual ID, designed by Shepley Bulfinch, communicates a welcome, configurable space that invites students, faculty, and the Boston community to collaborate and innovate together.
The i-lab is LEED Gold certified. Steps away, you’ll find Zipcars and bikes encouraging sustainable transportation to get you to and fro.
The i-Lab borrows its footprint from the former studios of WGBH, Boston’s local public television station. The new design preserved 75% of the original building, and introduces natural light deep into the space.