Currently, Northeastern University’s Architecture studio is located under Ruggles train station. The premise for this project is to bring the studio out from under ground into a bright, green space. Instead of hearing trains rattle by overhead, the studio is in the trees, bridging over the lot behind Northeastern’s Ryder Hall, the home of the College of Arts Media and Design and the School of Architecture. The form unfolds to create an interactive outside space, linking the existing Ryder Hall to the studios and the rest of the Roxbury community.

Trees surrounding the structure create a barrier, providing privacy year round as well as southern shade during the summer months. On the ground level, wood panels are added for an additional level of privacy for the outdoor learning spaces.

The current studio under Ruggles is one long, continuous space. Although unconventional, the layout of the space fosters a cohabitative experience–students are able view every studio’s work and interact among different years. The program is relatively small, thus the studio only requires to approximately 350 desks and few critique spaces.

The ground level of the studio contains critique space, as well as a laser cutter and printer room. Combined seating and steps form a large space for lectures and link the ground level to the main floor. All the studio spaces exist on the second floor in the arm that wraps into Ryder Hall. Direct access to Ryder Hall benefits professors, whose offices are in the building, and students, as other classes and critique spaces are located in Ryder.

The primary structure is a CLT truss system. This allows for a longer span between the points of support. The CLT truss and beams remain exposed, utilizing pine for floor and ceiling finishes. The lecture steps are CLT members, supported by exposed beams and cross-beams. This system creates the lecture space linking the two levels of the studio. Additional solar panel arrays and a green roof (on the sloped portion of the volume) help in offsetting energy usage.

With the small size of the Architecture program and limits depriving tower construction on the Northeastern Campus, a multi-story building is not demanded. The unfolded form and elevated form brings the studio out from underground, providing a light, inviting environment, surrounding students with nature, and transforming ground space into an urban oasis, perfect for a short break from studio work.