The new Admissions Center at Brandeis University serves as a gateway to campus and establishes and frames important views. Its post-war buildings, founded in 1948, were simple modernist pavilions of brick and exposed concrete. In the 1960’s the Rose Art Museum was the first limestone-clad building on campus. From that point, limestone was reserved for cultural and community structures at the campus. The administration wished to continue this tradition and requested that the new Admissions Center materially complement a recently completed limestone Campus Center.
Brandeis desired an inviting and contemporary “yet warm” building. Limestone presented a perfect medium with which to achieve these goals. The building was detailed with minimalist restraint to emphasize geometric and sculptural qualities, as well as to embody the University’s core values of excellence and openness. Special care was given to the detailing of the exterior envelope in an effort to create a virtually maintenance-free building. Exterior wall mockups of alternate construction assemblies were erected, water tested, and reviewed by the team’s envelope consultant. As such, the building envelope is true to the dual character of the project, where modernist functionality meets minimalist sculptural form.
The site design for the building transformed a large parking area into a new landscaped quadrangle, enhancing the environment while providing key circulation paths. The Admissions Center defines the edge of this new collegiate space. The interior materials chosen to complement the limestone cladding include American sycamore paneling, artisan plaster, and acoustical fabric ceilings. Large expanses of glass punctuate the monolithic limestone cladding to give the building its open and transparent character. With the construction of the Admissions Center, the University has fulfilled its goal of enhancing the visitor experience through the use of natural light, sculptural form, and venerable materials.