A joint venture between Computer Sciences and Statistics, the new CS Statistics Data Science Lab is a suite of labs and open workspace created within the original 1973 Harvard Science Center designed by Josep Luis Sert.
This space will be the first in the computational laboratory environment to bring together researchers from disparate fields (statistics, computer science, medical areas) to work on common problems despite speaking different “languages” associated with their fields. The constraints of the existing building for renovation were considerable including an exposed concrete structural frame and mechanical systems, an idiosyncratic rhythm of windows, and an inability to access the access the floor slab. Despite the challenges, an inviting and highly functional layout enables researchers to both collaborate and work individually without interruption.
The heart of the space is a reconfigurable open work table area, used daily by up to 15 undergrads but also by the whole research staff for conferences, gatherings, and presentations. The acoustics of the central space are controlled by a series of colorful felt baffles suspended from the ceiling aligning with the bottom of beams. The central space is surrounded by private work areas for another 25 researchers. Glazed walls between private areas and the central space flood the entire suite with daylight. Graphic patterns on translucent film drawn from the research are introduced on the glass walls at the entry and between labs and central space. At the entry end of the central space there is an open kitchen and high top work counter, and at the far end is a conference room. Both spaces can be enclosed with a movable glass wall for flexible use. Power and data access are a high priority at each workstation and common space. A grid of outlets in the central space provides flexibility for different table configurations and study groups.