Northeastern University has filed plans with the BPDA for a new eight-story science building next to the new science building it opened on Columbus Avenue in 2017.
The building, dubbed EXP, would house "research and office space for faculty, interdisciplinary research clusters/collaborative space, specialized teaching labs, classrooms, and student space" as an extension of the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex that opened in 2017. But also, the building:
[W]ill expand and compliment the ISEC program by providing additional classrooms, laboratories, and a dynamic new makerspace hub supporting the entire campus community. Ground-level program space will serve makerspace, active learning classrooms, and high bay robotics research, supporting Northeastern’s innovative work in autonomous vehicles, drones, and humanoid robots. This will place these exciting programs on display while providing them with the direct street level access needed for periodic vehicular equipment transport.
Makerspaces are places where students and faculty from multiple departments can used 3D printers, laser cutters and other devices to, well, make things.
The filing says the building will help improve the surrounding neighborhood both because it would "animate and enhance the quality of the Columbus Avenue streetscape and neighborhood through the extended plaza paving, landscaping, lighting, and a visually open building design" and because it would make it a safer area by bringing people in 24/7. Also:
The Project will complete the dramatic new urban path that overcomes the divide of the rail lines by unifying the Northeastern campus and two Boston Neighborhoods: Roxbury and the Fenway. The Project will provide an integrated landscape design with consistent details, and a durable palette of materials.
The path includes a new pedestrian bridge over the Orange Line and Northeast Corridor tracks, which was built as part of the ISEC project.
Northeastern hopes to begin three years of construction in early 2020.
EXP project-notification form (28M PDF).