Boston University, Center for Computing & Data Sciences Building

Boston, MA
Key Elements
  • LEED Platinum certification
  • Serves as a model for future sustainable development projects
  • ACEC National Honor Award and ACEC/MA Gold Award winner

Boston University (BU) has a long history as a progressive institution that pushes for innovation and improvement. The development of its Center for Computing & Data Sciences (CCDS) follows that tradition. The CCDS is 305 feet tall, with 345,000 square feet of floor space. It boasts a daringly unique profile, innovative technology, and a public café in the lobby. Most importantly, the CCDS is the greenest building in the City of Boston, with zero reliance on fossil fuel, promotion of renewable energy, and the achievement of a LEED Platinum certification. The building will reach carbon neutrality by 2040.

Nitsch worked with the Project Team and the City of Boston to convert a BU-owned parking lot into this ambitious building, providing civil engineering, permitting, and land surveying services. In collaboration with team partners, Nitsch designed creative and efficient solutions to build critical infrastructure with three main focuses:

  1. Design the stormwater management for protection and an intense standard of sustainability,
  2. Coordinate the many site utilities, and
  3. Prepare site permitting that supported the project team’s design for an innovative and community-forward building.

Nitsch designed a series of stormwater retention systems to manage stormwater from the new building, as well as a non-traditional flat conveyance system, and utilized surface improvements to manage stormwater including porous paver systems and planter areas to increase stormwater retention on the site. We collaborated with the geotechnical engineers to locate the stormwater systems between the existing groundwater table and surface, and add stormwater injection wells throughout the alley.

In addition to solving the stormwater management design for the building, Nitsch’s design helped manage stormwater for 28 adjacent properties to the building site. The resulting sustainable and holistic solution to stormwater management balanced construction constraints, many different external factors, and the overall cohesiveness of the project team’s goals and BU’s needs. The project was awarded all ten sustainable site credits possible in the LEED rating system, including the Rainwater Management credit – which also earned a Regional Priority Point due to the importance of water management in this area.

Nitsch coordinated with the City of Boston and the design team to convert Granby Street from a one-way street with no accommodations for bicycle traffic into a two-way street with an elevated cycle track for bicycle traffic. We also coordinated challenging site permitting requirements, as well as the permitting for wider crosswalks across Commonwealth Avenue, to support the goal of designing a truly human friendly space.

As the City of Boston moves towards a greener, more sustainable future, the CCDS is a cutting-edge achievement that serves as an exemplary model for future sustainable development projects.

“Nitsch Engineering exceeded our expectations for performance and creativity on the CCDS project.”

Sonia A. Richards, Associate Vice President, Boston University

Key Collaborators

Owner: Boston University
Architect: KPMB
Landscape Architect: Richard Burck Associates, Inc.
MEP/IT Consultant: BR+A Consulting Engineers
Geotechnical and Geothermal Well Engineer: Haley & Aldrich
Structural Engineer: Entuitive + LeMessurier
Climate Engineer: Transsolar
Environmental Engineer: RWDI, Inc.