MIT has identified the West Garage parking facility (W45) as the preferred site for a proposed new undergraduate residence hall. The project requires permitting and approvals from the City of Cambridge but is tentatively slated to welcome students in fall 2020.
“This decision has the potential to place more students closer to the heart of our campus,” Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart SM ’85, PhD ’88 said in a February announcement. “It also presents us with two key revitalization opportunities: to enhance the quality of our housing stock for all students and to further unlock the potential of the Vassar corridor of West Campus.”
The Division of Student Life and Office of Campus Planning has convened a New Residences Working Group to help develop conceptual design options for the dormitory. Its efforts are guided by the Architectural Principles Document (APD) completed by another team of students, faculty, and staff in fall 2016 as a roadmap for the design, construction, and programming of new and renovated undergraduate residence halls. The APD’s key recommendations include designing dorms around a “cluster” of about 30 students and one graduate resident tutor in a mix of single rooms, double rooms, and shared community space. The APD also urges consideration of how the path each resident takes to his or her room intersects with community-building spaces.
In addition to enhancing student experience, new housing will provide MIT the capacity and flexibility necessary to continue to address renovation needs in other dormitories. One such project kicks off this summer, when New House (W70) begins a phased renovation.