MIT SITE 4
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The Site 4 project is part of a multi-building, mixed-use planned urban development for MIT that is reinventing the dynamic Kendall Square district in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As a complex urban development, it entails many stakeholders, bringing together the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, constituencies from the City, business owners, and research companies.
The diverse buildings and programs that converge at Kendall Square provided the generative frame for the site’s massing and public space planning. The project catalyzes this frame by rotating the tower on the north-south axis, the massing brings the maximum light onto Main Street and enables a public view from Cambridge towards the Charles River. A large green space is established south of the building’s extended threshold as a major urban destination for the district.
The south façade of the new podium provides a proscenium for this urban stage; its striated picket façade gives way at the ground floor to niches that form entrances into the building. Large sliding panels connect the outdoor gateway and green space to the MIT Welcome Center within.
The Welcome Center serves as a forum to bring people together in dialogue, conversation, and orientation.
BUILDING E38: The concrete warehouse was stripped to its structure and has been re-purposed as the MIT Innovation HQ space hosting six levels of innovative workspaces including offices, conference rooms, break-out spaces, and a rapid-prototype lab.
BUILDING E39: The historic brick warehouse was stripped down just to its brick shell and now hosts part of the MIT admissions center, MIT sustainability groups, as well as ground-level retail.
THE TOWER: The tower slab cantilevers over a raised public zone that includes terraces and children’s play spaces that connect the building’s inhabitants to the MIT community and the City of Cambridge.
GRADUATE HOUSING COMMONS: Residents of the tower have access to indoor and outdoor communal spaces including a community kitchen, study areas, and specialized study spaces.
A mid-level roof terrace supported by amenity spaces provides a “public” level where residents access laundry, play areas, a media room, and community dining, while also sharing a powerful prospect of Kendall Square.
The daycare center and rooftop playground adds to the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of the children and parents in the building.
The 300’ tower contains 454 new residential units for graduate students, all with generous views of Cambridge, Boston, and the Charles River.
The layout of the façade’s panel system draws from the infamous “Café Wall” illusion system, whose standardized pattern produces a disorienting optic condition. Nine different panel colors form the graduated palette of the building exterior, providing the illusion of a taller building as well as specular variation.
A well-insulated rain screen façade forms a high-performance envelope that is responsive to solar exposure and daylighting.
Principals in Charge: Nader Tehrani and Katherine Faulkner, AIA
Project Manager: Harry Lowd, RA
Project Team: Tom Beresford, RA (Project Architect); Nick Safley; Peter Osborne; Matthew Waxman; Ali Sherif; Ilia Yazdanpanah; Todd Fix, RA; Amin Tadj, AIA; Arthur Chang, AIA
Architect of Record: Perkins&Will
Principal in Charge: David Damon, AIA
Project Manager: Andrew Grote, AIA
Project Team: Grace Nugroho, AIA (Project Architect); Athena Patira, AIA; Daniel Szczebak; Ruoxi Cui; Heather Miller; Jennifer Miller; Kate Hriczo; Peter Graffunder; Philippe Genereux, AIA; Carolina Otero; Stephen Messinger; Brad Pineau; Tuan Trieu; Wendy Morita