MIT’s campus underwent a major reinvention during the Campaign for a Better World. Historic buildings were ushered into the modern age. New residence halls opened, and libraries were revamped. A new facility was dedicated to groundbreaking work in nanotechnology. A portal between academia and industry—and a new gateway to MIT—was established in Kendall Square, while homes for music, design, computing, and Earth and environmental sciences took shape.
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1. Theater Arts Building (Building W97)
MIT Theater Arts has undergone exponential growth in stature, scope, and student engagement. The rejuvenation of a former warehouse on Vassar Street created a new space for MIT’s Theater Arts community to collaborate, experiment, and perform. The design of the new W97 respects the utilitarian ethos of the original structure while bringing together various dimensions of MIT’s Theater Arts program under one roof and infusing the building with a new creative energy.
“Blank slate” space that can be shaped and reshaped to accommodate changing uses and performance styles expands the capacity for student creativity. This flexibility has enabled the Theater Arts program to continue to push the boundaries of imagination through avant-garde productions that often incorporate innovative sets and technology.
2. New House Residence (Building W70)
Since 1975, MIT students living in New House have built friendships, completed their PSets, and worked toward creating their futures within the communities of this cluster-style dormitory. These communities—Chocolate City, iHouse, French House, Spanish House, German House, Desmond, and Houses 2, 3, and 4—all have distinct and rich traditions that allow residents to live and socialize with others who share a common bond.
New House’s extensive revitalization, which includes a new layout and features such as a game room, makerspace, and landscaped courtyards, creates the conditions to spark collaborative innovation and lifelong friendships, ensuring that the dormitory’s strong legacy will continue for future generations of MIT students.
3. David H. Koch Childcare Center (Building W64)
Construction of the 14,000-square-foot David H. Koch Childcare Center, which includes a variety of playgrounds, sand pits, climbing features, and gardens, nearly doubled the number of childcare slots available on campus for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. The center meets a critical need for MIT community members who pursue demanding careers while raising families. It also helps the Institute to attract and retain new talent.
The center was created through the generous support of David H. Koch ’62, SM ’63, Charles W. Johnson ’55, and Jennifer C. Johnson.
5. Richard J. Resch Boathouse (Building W8)
MIT’s Richard J. Resch Boathouse has undergone a substantial renovation to enhance the experience of student-athletes in its Division 1 crew program, and of club rowers and community groups.
A naming gift from MIT crew alumnus Richard Resch ’61, along with other gifts made by fellow crew alumni, supported the renovation of the former Harold W. Pierce Boathouse, originally dedicated in 1966.
The multiyear project modernized the 22,000-gross-square-foot facility and has improved the practice and competition experience for all four MIT Crew varsity teams as well as students using the rowing machines for recreation. The renovation brought new windows and general upgrades, a dock with improved accessibility, a deck extension to add a second means of egress, larger men’s and women’s locker rooms, expanded boat storage, new offices, increased training spaces, and a meeting area.
6. New Vassar Residence (Building W46)
The New Vassar residence, the first undergraduate living community built at MIT since Simmons Hall in 2002, features dynamic spaces that are equal to its residents’ big ideas. The design focuses on the “critical pathways” students take to navigate the halls, aiming to increase opportunities for serendipitous meetings, collaborations, and cross-disciplinary interactions.
Features like indoor and outdoor makerspaces, music practice rooms, and fitness rooms facilitate learning outside the classroom and student well-being, while the dining hall includes an open kitchen that provides students with the opportunity to cook for themselves. These features were inspired by input from students, faculty, and staff, and reflect a fluidity between the academic and living experiences that are formative elements of a student’s journey at MIT.
8. Kresge Auditorium (Building W16)
Kresge Auditorium was designed in tandem with the MIT Chapel by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen and built at the center of campus, where since 1955, its 1,200-seat auditorium has hosted student performances, symposia, and many community activities. The mid-century Modernist building, named for Sebastian S. Kresge and the Kresge Foundation, was restored and revitalized in recent years, a major capital project that included structural upgrades as well as improvements to energy efficiency and accessibility.
As part of the renovation, Kresge’s large theater was named the Lord Swraj Paul PC ’52 and Angad Paul ’92 Theater—or, more colloquially, the Swraj Paul Theater—in honor of a gift from MIT alumnus Lord Swraj Paul and in memory of Angad.
The restoration team included architects, engineers, and fabricators who carefully preserved Kresge’s key architectural elements while equipping the structure for the demands of modern campus life.
11. MIT Chapel (Building W15)
Designed in tandem with the Kresge Auditorium building by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen, the MIT Chapel represented a modernist departure from the classical style of older campus buildings when it was dedicated in 1955.
For decades the Chapel has served as a nondenominational gathering place for worship, meditation, and private ceremonies. The round, windowless structure features a domed central skylight that illuminates a cascading metal sculpture of rods and crosspieces. A renewal project in recent years restored the beauty of the building’s moat, which allows a soft light to fill the Chapel through openings at the base of the walls.
12. Samuel Tak Lee Building (Building 9)
The renovation of Building 9 brought together everything to do with urban development and real estate under one roof.
A gift from alumnus and global real estate developer Samuel Tak Lee ’62, SM ’64 in 2015 presented MIT with an opportunity to refurbish the 1967 building’s outdated infrastructure and configuration. In addition to major overhauls to the HVAC system, windows, and accessibility, improvements included replacing dark classrooms with learning spaces filled with natural light, and adding common spaces. A multimedia-enhanced open space called the City Arena facilitates interaction with participants in cities across the globe.
Lee’s gift also established within the building a lab bearing his name dedicated to socially responsible real estate entrepreneurship, with a particular focus on China.
13. Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel (Building 17)
Few structures better embody the intermingling of aviation history and innovation than the Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel. Since 1938, the facility has been at the heart of MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AeroAstro), providing thousands of students with unparalleled opportunities to learn aeronautical engineering concepts and apply them to coursework and research.
In 2019, the vintage wind tunnel was demolished to make way for a new facility, funded in part by a gift from The Boeing Company and from Becky Samberg and the late Arthur (Art) Samberg ’62.
With a test area volume of 1,600 cubic feet and the ability to test speeds up to 200 mph, the new tunnel is the largest and most advanced academic wind tunnel in the nation, and more than doubles the volume of the test section where models are put through their paces. Building 17, the tunnel’s home, also has been overhauled, introducing new space for faculty and the MIT Rocket Team.
14. Building 31
Building 31—officially known as the Sloan Laboratories—home to the departments of aeronautics and astronautics and mechanical engineering, has been transformed into a gleaming collaborative space for research in autonomous vehicles, turbomachinery, energy storage, and transportation. With nearly 7,000 square feet of new space, the building doubled its capacity for faculty, students, and researchers.
At the heart of the building is the Kresa Center for Autonomous Systems, a 80-foot-long by 40-foot-wide space boasting 25-foot ceilings, dedicated for work in all types of autonomous vehicles including rotor and fixed-wing aircraft and enabled by a gift from Kent Kresa ’59, SM ’61, EAA ’66, ENG ’66. The building also features test spaces for unpiloted aerial vehicles, a roof deck for flying robotics, and upgraded supersonic and subsonic tunnels.
15. Great Dome (Building 10)
The Great Dome overlooking Killian Court is perhaps the most famous image on MIT’s campus, appearing in countless photographs and on letterhead, class rings, and souvenirs. Constructed in 1916, it has been the site of many student “hacks,” such as an MIT police cruiser, R2-D2 from Star Wars, and Captain America’s shield.
Although its skylight was blacked out during World War II to prevent detection by enemy bombers, today the sun once again shines through the oculus in MIT’s Great Dome, flooding the reading room of the Barker Engineering Library with natural light. A team of restoration specialists worked to protect the Dome’s structural integrity while retaining the historical design created by MIT alumnus William Welles Bosworth (Class of 1889).
16. Lisa T. Su Building—MIT.nano (Building 12)
Steps from the Infinite Corridor, the Lisa T. Su Building, home to MIT.nano, is designed to support the activities of more than 2,000 faculty and researchers as they design and manipulate materials, organisms, and devices at the nanoscale: one billionth of a meter. The building is named in honor of Lisa T. Su ’90, SM ’91, PhD ’94, chief executive officer and chair of the Board of Directors of AMD. Su is the first MIT alumna to make a gift for a building that will bear her own name.
The building is the largest, most sophisticated, and most accessible university research facility of its kind in the United States.
Constructed with soaring glass facades and powerful air-exchange systems, the facility houses two levels of connected clean rooms, an instrumentation floor, chemistry labs, prototyping labs, and the virtual-reality and visualization Immersion Lab.
18. The Simons Building (Building 2)
MIT’s historic Building 2 is part of the iconic Main Group that comprised the MIT campus when it first moved to Cambridge from Boston in 1916. The Main Group was designed by architect William Welles Bosworth in 1889 and had remained largely unchanged for a century.
In 2016, the building was named The Simons Building in honor of James H. ’58 and Marilyn Simons, whose generosity enabled its restoration and renovation. The building is home to the Institute’s renowned Department of Mathematics.
The renovation project featured a detailed restoration of the original limestone façade; reconfiguration and modernization of classrooms, offices, and collaborative spaces; and the addition of a fourth floor.
19. Hayden Library and Courtyard (Building 14)
For generations of MIT students and alumni, Hayden Library has been more than just a quiet study space. It’s a place where visitors search for one thing, look down the row of books, and often find something else: inspiration.
The renovated library and adjoining Building 14 Courtyard are designed to invite such serendipitous connections. The first floor of the library is open 24 hours, with group-study rooms plus an event space. A library cafe offers coffee and snacks. Signature bay windows overlooking the Charles River are fitted with energy-conserving insulated glass. The courtyard’s serpentine walkway is lined with katsura trees. A porch blends inside and outside, with accordion windows opening fully to the courtyard. The striking renovations were made possible with the support of MIT’s alumni and friends.
21. Ralph Landau Building (Building 66)
One of four buildings on campus designed by the late I.M. Pei ’40, Building 66, built in 1976, is the main research building for the Department of Chemical Engineering (ChemE), which was instrumental in the development of the modern petrochemical industry and has played a pioneering role in biomedical engineering.
ChemE sets the standard for research and education in the field, and its students are a force in MIT’s culture of creativity. Building 66 is where they dig in. The renewal and modernization of the building saw upgrades to the undergraduate teaching laboratory, to spaces for professional mentoring, and to office and meeting space for graduate and undergraduate students, aimed at promoting the teaching and collaboration at the heart of a strong learning community.
22. MIT Museum (Building E28)
The new MIT Museum that opens in fall 2022 will welcome visitors to the world of science and technology while offering a window on cutting-edge research underway at the Institute. Located in Kendall Square, gateway to MIT, the museum’s 67,000 square feet will encompass galleries, classrooms, a dynamic public makerspace, and a soaring two-story atrium for meeting and discussing ideas.
A new gallery, MIT Collects, will highlight many pieces never before exhibited, in installations such as Modeling Everything and Totally Useless Things, spotlighting toys, puzzles, play, and the role of creativity in scientific research. Another exhibition, Essential MIT, will highlight the process of inquiry and discovery as demonstrated in ongoing research projects. The museum has been made possible by the generosity of MIT’s donors.
23. Moghadam Welcome Center, MIT Admissions, MIT InnovationHQ (Building E38)
The newest gateway to MIT is just steps from the Kendall/MIT MBTA subway station. Home to MIT Admissions, the Moghadam Welcome Center, a gift of Hamid ’77, SM ’78 and Tina Moghadam, and the new MIT InnovationHQ (iHQ), E38 provides a bright, open, welcoming entrance into the Institute for thousands of prospective students, visitors, and Cambridge community members every year. Visitors can stop by the center for wayfinding and other information about campus and the local area, and can attend in-person information sessions in the center’s 200-seat auditorium.
E38 also adds more than 50,000 square feet to MIT’s Innovation ecosystem. Five floors house iHQ, which serves as a hub for students at every stage of their entrepreneurial journeys and includes space for alumni, faculty members, and staff. Each floor features open, flexible layouts, and six departments, labs, and centers that formerly supported student entrepreneurship from different parts of campus now call it home.
24. Kendall Open Space
Kendall Square’s new open space is where MIT and the Cambridge community can come together to socialize, unwind, connect, and discover. Programmed by MIT but open to all, this colorful cluster of activity enhances the streetscape and brings a new energy to the Kendall innovation district.
The sweeping space, spread over two acres, is now the backdrop to a lively, welcoming swarm of activity in what was once a commuter-centric cityscape. Visitors might come upon an interactive art installation, a participative science experiment, or an invention being tested by students. The hum in the air evokes the innovative spirit of MIT and Kendall Square.
25. Graduate Residence and Childcare (Building E37)
Built in the heart of Kendall Square taking the lived experience of MIT students into account, the 28-story graduate residence is a new kind of experience for graduate students and their families.
Its 454 housing units provide one- and two-bedroom apartments prioritized for families with children, as well as efficiencies for single graduate students. To serve its population mix of families and singles, the building houses a childcare facility that is open to the wider MIT community and includes an array of common areas, ranging from quiet study spaces, a family lounge, indoor playroom, outdoor playground, and access to abundant green space.
26. Morris and Sophie Chang Building (Building E52)
An Art Deco landmark built in 1938 on the Charles River, the Morris and Sophie Chang Building is headquarters for the Department of Economics and home to the MIT Sloan School of Management’s student and administrative services. It also houses the busy Samberg Conference Center, a treasured resource for the entire MIT community.
The building was restored and renovated through a generous gift from Morris Chang ’52, SM ’53, ME ’55 and his wife, Sophie Chang. The conference center is named for the late Arthur (Art) Samberg ’62 and his wife, Rebecca Samberg, longtime supporters of the Institute.
4. Burton Conner Residence (Building W51)
A renewal project is underway to update Burton Conner House, a beloved residence hall constructed in the 1920s and last renovated in the early 1970s. Working with the architectural and preservation firm Goody Clancy, the Institute is equipping Burton Conner for the needs of students today and tomorrow, taking care to retain the building’s best features. Goody Clancy’s project manager is a former resident of Conner 3.
The project includes new windows, renovated plumbing and heating systems, refreshed kitchens, renovated suite bathrooms, and accessibility upgrades. New corridors will connect the Burton and Conner sides of the residence on floors 2–5 and the residence will have a new makerspace and an accessible elevator.
The updated Burton Conner will continue to be a warm and inviting place where students learn together, enjoy socializing, and develop lifelong friendships.
7. Music Building (Building W18)
MIT’s conservatory-level music program enrolls more than 1,500 students each year, and the campus is home to a variety of ensembles and chamber groups.
Currently under construction, a new Music Building adjacent to Kresge Auditorium will be designed to meet the current and future needs of the music program. With space for performance, practice, and instruction, the building will further the Institute’s commitment to music education, consolidate many of the music program’s activities into one location, and incorporate critical aspects of acoustical design.
The building’s centerpiece, a purpose-built performance lab will provide a uniquely flexible, large-scale space for experimenting with various formats. A cornerstone gift from Joyce Linde, a longtime supporter of MIT and the arts, made the building’s construction possible.
17. MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing (Building 45)
A centralized headquarters for the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing is critical to the college’s mission of engaging faculty, students, and collaborators across a broad array of disciplines in computing and artificial intelligence education, research, and innovation.
Located in the center of the Vassar Street block at the heart of campus, the building—designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill—will sit at a busy intersection of MIT’s intellectual traffic that brings together the college, disciplines across the Institute, and the Kendall Square innovation community.
The building will be a hub for disciplinary and interdisciplinary work in computing, with spaces that encourage collaboration. It will also support activities such as the MIT Quest for Intelligence, and will include space for visiting scholars, administration, and events, plus an outdoor terrace with sweeping views.
20. Earth and Environment Building (Building 55), Green Building (Building 54)
Rising nearly 300 feet from the ground, the Cecil and Ida Green Building has towered over MIT’s campus for more than 50 years. Yet it’s not obvious from the outside what actually goes on within this imposing structure designed by the late I.M. Pei ’40.
This is the headquarters of MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS), and home to such groundbreaking work as seismic tomography, numerical weather prediction, climate modeling, the development of chaos theory, and far-reaching NASA missions.
Now, a new building adjacent to the Green Building—made possible thanks to a cornerstone gift from Hamid ’77, SM ’78 and Tina Moghadam plus support from numerous other EAPS donors—will add a major new collaborative hub for environmental and climate research to campus. The building brings together EAPS, MIT’s Environmental Solutions Initiative, and the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Science and Engineering.
Meanwhile, infrastructure improvements will modernize the iconic Green Building, keeping MIT at the vanguard of Earth systems and climate science research.
9. Metropolitan Storage Warehouse Building (Building W41)
The Metropolitan Storage Warehouse on the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Vassar Street has long been a familiar presence to the MIT and Cambridge communities. Now, an innovative renovation project is converting this iconic building into a modern hub for interdisciplinary design research and education; a new home for the MIT School of Architecture and Planning; and a location for the recently established MIT Morningside Academy for Design as well as the largest community-wide makerspace on campus, managed by Project Manus.
As our faculty and students demonstrate time and again, design is the bridge between invention and innovation, sparking bold approaches and solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges, from climate change to transportation to public health. The renovation will usher in a new era for design, architecture, urban planning, entrepreneurship, and making at MIT while adapting a remarkable historic structure for contemporary use.
10. Stratton Student Center (Building W20)
The Stratton Student Center is the hub for student life at MIT, the prime spot on campus where students can grab a bite to eat between classes, collaborate on a group project, attend a club meeting, mail a package, and get a haircut—all in the same place.
The renewal of the center will improve design coherence, update infrastructure, and enhance flexible-use space to accommodate a range of uses and provide a more welcoming environment. A highly visible, student-friendly Wellbeing Lab, coordinated by the Office of Student Wellbeing, will serve as the anchor and heart of campus-wide wellbeing initiatives.
With a warm and inviting atmosphere, the revitalized Stratton Student Center will help MIT’s students thrive, encouraging them to care for their physical and emotional wellbeing, build relationships with others, and explore their purpose.