The Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston, MA, is situated on the UMass Boston campus.  Bellwether’s challenge was to create a vestibule consisting of two, back to back, 11′-6″ structural glass walls.  The glass had to be sized to be unsupported at the vertical edges, while resisting 120 mph wind speeds from the ocean.  Full height all-glass doors needed to be custom designed to complement the wall.  Finally, a long single slope skylight was designed to handle large differential movements while spanning two parts of the building.


Bellwether sized the glass in the vestibule walls to handle requirements from their respective structural loads and windloads.  The exterior wall consists of 2-5/8″ low iron, insulated panels, while the interior wall consists of 13/16″ low-iron laminated panels.  The design of the 11′-6″ doors was completely custom, from the full height door handles, to project-specific pivots and spindles.  The vestibule wall head design required accommodation of up to 1-3/4″ of movement.  A triple-glazed skylight was designed to be energy efficient, while bringing daylight further into the lobby.


The Edward M. Kennedy Institute is most striking in its aesthetic simplicity and clean lines.  Bellwether’s vestibule walls and custom skylight allow natural sunlight to illuminate the entrance lobby, while blending transparently within the overall building design.


Boston, MA


Rafael Viñoly Architects, New York, NY

Products Used

Structural Glass Entry Walls and Vestibule, All Glass Doors, and Skylight