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Boston University’s stack-of-books building proposal wins key green light

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School hopes to start construction in the spring on 19-story, 305-foot spire in Kenmore Square

Rendering courtesy of Boston University

The board of the Boston Planning and Development Agency on Thursday approved one of the more interesting development proposals architecture-wise in the city: The 19-story Boston University Data Sciences Center that is due to look like a stack of books.

The university proposed the 305,000-square-foot building at 645-665 Commonwealth Avenue in Kenmore Square in the fall of 2018. It’s set to host BU’s data sciences center, including the school’s mathematics, computer science, and statistics departments.

The building—which Toronto-based KPMB Architects is designing—will also be the tallest on BU’s campus at 305 feet and will replace a surface parking lot. A basement, a four-story podium, 13 floors on top of that, and then a top floor (like the basement) for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing apparatuses will comprise the tower.

“They asked us for something—they used the word ‘iconic,’” Marianne McKenna, a KPMB Architects founding partner, said through the school back in October.

It certainly has the potential. Construction is likely to start in the spring. Stay tuned.