Sunday, June 23, 2024

Harvard opened some of its Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center this week. (Photo: Tom Meek)

Though Harvard’s Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center doesn’t open formally until Sept. 20, doors opened Tuesday to the common spaces and four of the expected seven expected eateries: Blackbird Doughnuts, Bon Me, Pavement Coffeehouse and Swissbäkers, joining the Oggi Gourmet. Construction began in 2016 on the 10-story center, designed by London’s Hopkins Architects with Cambridge’s Bruner/Cott as executive architect and Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates designing the landscaping. The university hasn’t revealed its cost.

The main floor is called Harvard Commons, referred to a “large community living room” by the Harvard Gazette and described as holding lunchtime concerts and evening talks, lectures and performances by Harvard students, faculty and staff. The Moise Y. Safra Welcome Pavilion and Plaza will hold a box office for university events and campus tours. In addition to these public uses – and Harvard guest Wi-Fi access – there’s a roof garden open to the public until dusk.

There will also be meeting spaces for Harvard community members, and the top floor is the Harvard- and guests-only Riverview Commons and Conference Suite, which will include a lounge and game rooms, as well as dining space.

A classic use for Holyoke Plaza is also returning: Chess tables are moving back to the space from the nearby Pit, and in greater numbers – some of them indoors for when the weather gets nasty.

Here’s a look at some of the new spaces: