Harvard Science Center

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The Harvard University Science Center is Harvard's main classroom and laboratory building for undergraduate science and mathematics, in addition to housing numerous other facilities and services. Located just north of Harvard Yard, the Science Center was built in 1972 and opened in 1973 after a design by Josep Lluís Sert (then dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design).HistoryPlanningHarvard had been interested in building an undergraduate science center in the 1950s and 1960s. However, in the midst of an economic decline, funding could not be found. No concrete plans were made until in 1968, Edwin Land, inventor of the Polaroid "Land" camera, made a $12.5 million donation to construct a science center specifically for undergraduates.Opponents of the plan feared that insufficient monies would be found to complete the project, and that the building's maintenance costs would be unreasonably high. The Biology Department also protested the move of its undergraduate-instruction facilities far from the department's main quarters. Professor George Wald argued that this would degrade the quality of instruction. There was also dissatisfaction with cancellation of plans at that time for a new biochemistry building.The plan called for demolition of Lawrence Hall, a laboratory and a living space built in 1848. By the time of the scheduled demolition it had been occupied as the site of "Free University". The controversy was rendered moot when fire gutted the building in 1970.

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1 Oxford St
Cambridge, MA
02138

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