Map of MIT's major projects

In Construction

View of Site 3 Construction

Construction Mitigation

MIT recognizes that construction projects can be disruptive and strives to minimize the inconvenience construction creates. The Institute works closely with city staff to develop construction mitigation plans for all projects to ensure that truck routes, location of access gates, and hours of construction operation have the least possible impact on neighbors. MIT provides periodic online updates on construction activities using the coUrbanize platform, conducts frequent meetings with abutters, and provides detailed responses to all questions received via email. In addition, the Institute works closely with individual retailers that may be affected by the construction activities to ensure that their patrons know they are open for business. This includes helping tenants with additional signage and sending notices to tenant lists.

Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel

Since it first opened in September 1938, MIT’s Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel has been an instrumental tool in the development of aero­space, architectural, vehicular, sports, and other engineering systems. Testing at the facility has ranged from aircraft and ground structure aero­elasticity to the aerodynamics of subway sta­tion entrances, space suits, racing bicycles, and Olympic ski suits. After 80 years of service, the landmark facility is now undergoing a renova­tion and modernization project.

The new tunnel will incorporate state-of-the-art technologies and equipment that will expand its capacity while lowering its fan motor power consumption. With a planned test area volume of 1700 cubic feet and the ability to test speeds up to 200 mph, it is expected to be the largest and most advanced academic wind tunnel in the nation. Located at Building 17 on the site of the original tunnel (which has been dismantled), the new facility will retain the Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel name.

Renovation plans include updated control fa­cilities, a full rehabilitation of Building 17, and infrastructure updates in Building 37 and in the Building 33 Hangar. The project will also cre­ate direct connections between the tunnel and AeroAstro workshops. The Imai Keller Moore Ar­chitects firm is the designer of the renovation, and Turner Construction is the construction manager.

Drawing of Wind Tunnel
Building 4 Construction

Building 4 Laboratory Renovation

MIT is renovating 12,000 square feet of space for the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS). EAPS plans to establish world-class wet lab facilities in support of the department’s research in the fields of climate science and at­mospheric chemistry. The project team, including Payette Associates (design) and Columbia Construc­tion, is targeting LEED Gold in the Commercial Interiors program with completion planned for 2021.

Exterior photo of the current conditions at 281 Albany Street

281 Albany Street

The renovation of this 32,000 square foot research & development building includes the reconfiguration of the interior layout to better accommodate life science companies and the installation of new mechanical systems to improve energy efficiency. Construction started in 2020 and is expected to be completed in 2021.

Rendering of the future Vassar Street Residence

New Vassar

This new undergraduate residence hall located on Vassar Street between W59 (Heinz Building) and the Metropolitan Warehouse will provide approximately 450 new beds for undergraduate students.  There are also 12 graduate resident advisor units as well as head of house and associate head of house apartments to support the community.

The design of the residence includes rooms arranged in “clusters” of 35-38 students in a mix of singles and doubles with shared community spaces such as lounges and study rooms. Throughout the building, stairways have been located and de­signed to encourage communication and travel between the clusters. Residents will also enjoy larger shared community spaces such as study lounges, music rooms, a private courtyard, and other flexible spaces. A dining facility on the first floor, open to the MIT community, will include a kitchen area where students will have the opportunity to cook for themselves.

Outside the building, inviting benches will be located along the edge of Vas­sar Street, and a tree-filled entry courtyard and a plaza area will provide green space and gather­ing opportunities. The project is on track to meet LEED v4 Platinum certifica­tion under the Homes and Multifamily Mid­rise program and is designed to be solar-ready and Net Zero Ready. 

The design architect is Michael Maltzan Ar­chitecture and the executive architect is Di­Mella Shaffer. Construction, managed by Walsh Brothers, was originally scheduled to be completed for fall semester and (delayed by the pandemic) will be substantially complete in December 2020.

Central Utility Plant Upgrade

Exterior of the Central Utilities Plant

Work continues to upgrade MIT’s Central Util­ities Plant (CUP), a distributed energy resource that powers the campus microgrid with thermal and electric energy. The CUP upgrade is essential to the Institute’s sustainability goals and will improve campus resiliency by creating an enhanced, more efficient, more flexible power system. The CUP’s efficiency and environmen­tal gains will result from the installation of new and upgraded equipment as well as the switch to natural gas and the elimination of No.6 oil use. Regulated pollutants will be reduced 25% from 2014 levels. Greenhouse gas emissions are expected to be 10% lower than 2014 levels, offsetting a projected 10% increase in greenhouse gas emissions due to energy de­mands created by new buildings and program growth.

Two new gas turbines will provide up to 44 MW of power to the campus. The turbines will allow MIT buildings that are served by the CUP to be self-sufficient should there be an extended utility outage. In most situations when outside power is lost, the new turbines will maintain or restore heat and electricity, safeguarding residences and protecting vital research. Construction of the new cogeneration plant housing the turbines commenced in the summer of 2017. Both new turbines are anticipated to be in operation in 2021.

The engineer for the project is Vanderweil Engineers’ Power Group. The architect for the building is Ellenz­weig, the firm that has led the architectural de­sign for MIT’s CUP for the past 20+ years.

The Kendall Square Initiative site plan

In Construction: Kendall Square Initiative

Construction on Site 3, the commercial research & development building at 238 Main Street, started in 2019. Work on the new structure and exterior envelope is complete, and interior core work is ongoing, as is the renovation and restoration of the existing historically significant building. The base building is scheduled to be completed in fall 2021, together with the interior fit-out for the first tenant. Interior work for remaining tenants will continue into 2022.

Construction on Site 1, the 300-unit apartment building at 165 Main Street, started earlier in 2020. The project, which includes 54 affordable units, 9 middle-income units, and 36 innovation units, is expected to be completed in 2022.

Note: Many of the Kendall Square Initiative projects listed in this section have been completed as of the publication date of this report. For consistency, they are kept in the “In Construction” section as they were not completed by the end of the Town Gown reporting period. 

SoMa Garage

Construction of the below-grade garage and loading facilities south of Main Street started in early 2017 and was completed in 2020. The garage serves both academic users and commercial tenants at 238 Main Street and 314 Main Street. 

One Broadway - Site 1

Construction around the existing One Broadway building on Site 1 is now complete. The initial phase, completed in 2019, included the relocation of the One Broadway lobby, the addition of new retail space on Third Street and Broadway (including Shy Bird and a relocated Dunkin’ Donuts), and the addition of Brothers Marketplace, the long-awaited and much-needed grocery store.

The second phase, completed in 2020, included the retail addition on the north side of One Broadway on Broad Canal Way. The first tenant, K-OOP Hair Styling, opened for business earlier this year, and the second tenant has completed interior construction. MIT is actively leasing the third and remaining space to complete this much-anticipated double-loaded retail corridor.

290 Main Street - Site 4

Construction on Site 4 (290 Main Street) is now complete. More than 450 beds of graduate student housing are currently available at the Graduate Tower at Site 4. The remainder of the building will be completed in 2021, including a lively innovation center, retail space on Main Street, a new home for MIT Admissions (the MIT Welcome Center), and program space for three sustainability groups: the Office of Sustainability (MITOS), the Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI), and the Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab (J-WAFS).

314 Main Street - Site 5

Construction on Site 5 (314 Main Street) broke ground in October 2018. The contractor completed the base building and interior fit-out for the first tenant, Cambridge Mobile Telematics, in 2020. Interior work for the MIT Museum is ongoing and will be followed by the installation of exhibits. Interior work for the remaining tenants will continue into 2021.

Construction of open spaces

MIT's new welcome center
Construction photo of 730-750 Main

730-750 Main

Last summer, MIT announced the expansion of The Engine (the entity launched by MIT that invests in early-stage tough tech companies) to 750 Main Street, a property MIT previously identified as an optimal size for a research and development building. The renovation of this building and the expansion and renovation of the adjacent 730 Main Street building will further support the innovation ecosystem extending from Kendall Square. Construction started in early 2020, and the project is expected to be completed in 2022.

Rendering of a Building 54 Expansion

Building 54 Priority Infrastructure Renewal

Last summer, MIT announced the expansion of The Engine (the entity launched by MIT that invests in early-stage tough tech companies) to 750 Main Street, a property MIT previously identified as an optimal size for a research and development building. The renovation of this building and the expansion and renovation of the adjacent 730 Main Street building will further support the innovation ecosystem extending from Kendall Square. Construction started in early 2020, and the project is expected to be completed in 2022.

Pierce Boathouse

Originally designed by Anderson, Beckwith & Haible and dedicated in 1966, MIT’s Harold W. Pierce Boathouse began as the home of a single crew team. The Institute’s rowing program has grown considerably since then and now consists of four Division 1 varsity squads (80 men and 90 women). MIT club rowers also use the boat­house’s storage and launch space, as do several public and community groups.

The Boathouse project includes new windows, updates to docks and launching areas, and a deck extension to add a second means of egress. Inside, the renovation will include multi­ple building updates, including larger men’s and women’s locker rooms, expanded boat storage, new offices, and increased training spaces as well as a meeting area and other building upgrades. Construction was delayed by the Covid pandemic but is expected to be completed in early 2021. 

Peterson Architects and Bruner/Cott Architects are the designers of the Pierce Boathouse reno­vation, and Shawmut Design and Construction is the construction manager.

Pierce Boathouse
Rendering of future Hayden Library

Hayden Library

Originally designed by Voorhees, Walker, Foley & Smith, Hayden Library (Building 14) first opened in 1951 and has served for nearly 70 years as a central element of the campus. MIT has undertaken a project to renew and restore the Library’s first two floors and mezzanine levels and to update the main reading rooms and of­fice spaces to reflect the changing nature of the research library for today’s students and faculty. Kennedy & Violich Architecture is the designer for the Hayden Library renovation, and Elaine Construction is the construction manager.

The program includes new interactive spaces such as a café and a multipurpose event and teaching space, improved office spaces, and a va­riety of quiet and collaborative work­ spaces for both individuals and groups.

Building 14 will also receive a range of infra­structure upgrades including systems improve­ments to support the new program, required code and accessibility upgrades, enlarged and renovated restrooms, and updates to improve energy performance. Exterior work will include restoration of the north and south windows, repairs to sections of the limestone walls, and refurbishment of the northeast entrance. The project is targeting LEED Gold v4 certification. Delayed by Covid-imposed work interruptions, the project will be completed in early 2021.

Vassar Street

Vassar Street (East of Massachusetts Avenue)

A 2016 conditions assessment and a 2017 in­frastructure study suggested that Vassar Street would benefit from a rehabilitation project between Massachusetts Avenue and Main Street. The project will result in a revitalized streetscape and would involve the aeration, irrigation, and replanting of street trees.

The landscape architect CRJA-IBI is the de­signer for this project. Work was planned for spring 2020, but was delayed and completed in the fall. The rehabilitation involves plantings around the site of the Schwarzman College of Computing, and this effort will be deferred to provide a successful integration with that project.

In Planning & Design

Rendering of proposed exterior to Schwarzman college building

MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing

The MIT Schwar­zman College of Computing is a new and unique interdisciplinary organization at MIT. The mission of the College is to address the opportunities and challenges of the computing age — from hardware and software to algorithms and artificial intelligence — by transforming the capabilities of academia in three key areas:

  • Computing fields: Support the rapid growth and evolution of computer science and computational areas of allied fields such as electrical engineering, as reflected notably in the rise of artificial intelligence;
  • Computing across disciplines: Facilitate productive research and teaching collaborations between computing and other fields, rather than placing one field in service of another;
  • Social and ethical aspects of computing: Lead the development of and changes in academic research and education, and effectively inform practice and policy in industry and government.

The College’s unique structure is at once both broad, cutting across all of MIT, and focused as a home for computer science and artificial intelligence education and research. As a result, it will strengthen the computing fields and more effectively and creatively connect AI and computing to every discipline.

MIT has cleared the site at the location of the former Building 44 and has begun enabling work for the new building for the College. Applications for permitting will be filed before the end of 2020, and the building is scheduled for completion in 2023. The designer is Skidmore, Ow­ings and Merrill LLP, and Suffolk Construction is the construction manager.

Map of MIT LEED projects
Metropolitan Storage Warehouse

Metropolitan Storage Warehouse

Designed by Peabody & Stearns and built in 1895, the Metropolitan Storage Warehouse is one of the oldest buildings on the MIT campus. It is listed on the State Register of Historic Places and has been determined eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. With its square brick tower and crenellated corbelled cornice, it resembles a medieval castle on a city street corner.

MIT’s adaptive reuse of the Metropolitan Warehouse building will redevelop it as a center of interdisciplinary design research and education andas a new home for the School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P). The building will also house a flagship makerspace, an independent and collaborative creative space envisioned by Project Manus as a substantial addition to the MIT Makersystem. Elements being designed include new classrooms, design studio space that will significantly increase MIT’s capacity for arts and design programming, new faculty offices, and areas for meetings and collaborative activities. 

The adaptive reuse of the structure will endeavor to preserve the building’s historic character while leveraging and valorizing its existing spaces and infrastructure to serve the needs of current and future programming. The strategic integration of old and new will enhance the interdisciplinary interactions between SA+P and other schools at MIT. 

Diller Scofidio + Renfro is the designer, and Shawmut Design and Construction is the construction manager for the Metropolitan Warehouse project.

Rendering of the Volpe Project Open Space

Volpe Redevelopment

After completing utility-enabling work on the Volpe parcel in 2019, MIT  commenced work on behalf of the federal government to begin the new facility for the Volpe Transportation Center. The contractor completed work on the below-grade parking garage and foundations and has started steel erection. The government project is expected to be completed in late 2023.

The Institute completed early preparatory planning work for the remaining 10 acres of the Volpe site and commenced the master plan special permit process in 2020. Consistent with the zoning that the City Council passed in 2017, the proposed development includes four commercial buildings, four residential buildings, over 25% open space, and a community center.

Front of Burton-Connor House

Burton Conner Residence Hall Renewal

Burton Conner is a 168,000 gsf residence hall at 410 Memorial Drive overlooking the Charles River. The five-story building contains 67 suites, comprising approximately 240 rooms, nine graduate resident advisor apartments, and one head of house suite, housing a total of approximately 375 undergraduates. Originally built as the Riverside Apartment Hotel in 1927, MIT acquired the building in 1948, and a dining hall was added in 1960. The last major renovation occurred nearly 50 years ago. Many of the building’s systems are beyond their useful life. 

As part of the Institute’s ongoing efforts to renew existing residence halls and provide additional housing options to its community, Burton Conner will undergo a major renovation. Led by the architectural firm of Goody Clancy and to be constructed by Consigli Construction, the project will address priority areas in the building envelope and infrastructure systems; include programmatic improvements to student common spaces, bathrooms, kitchens, and the Porter Room; and provide updated furniture for bedrooms, suite common rooms, floor lounges, and community spaces. These building-wide improvements ensure compliance with all state and local building and accessibility requirements, provide for sustainability and climate resiliency, and seek to enhance the student experience. The building will be taken offline in January 2021 with a scheduled reopening in August 2022.


Kresge Auditorium


MIT’s conservatory-level music program, offer­ing performance, composition, music technol­ogy, and scholarship, is a popular choice; more than 1,500 students enroll in music courses each year, and a variety of ensembles and cham­ber groups thrive on campus. With the current and future needs of the music program in mind, the Institute is building a new state-of-the-art Music Building that will support the program’s curricular requirements.

Sited adjacent to Kresge Auditorium, the build­ing will include spaces for performance, rehears­al, professional-level recording, research, and in­struction, as well as a large-scale, purpose-built performance lab that will enable experimenta­tion with various formats. The building will incorporate acoustical design ele­ments for optimal listening, playing, and re­cording. The Music Building project is moving forward thanks to a cornerstone gift from Joyce Linde, a longtime supporter of MIT and the arts. Design is underway, with construction set to begin in 2021 with a target completion date of 2023. Sejima and Nishizawa and Associates (SA­NAA) and Perry Dean Rogers Partners Archi­tects are the designers for the Music Building, and Lee Kennedy Company is the construction manager.

Aerial shot of proposed West Campus Graduate Student Dormatory

West Campus Graduate Student Dormitory

As part of MIT’s Volpe zoning commitment to expand the stock of graduate student housing, MIT is planning to build up to 690 new graduate student beds at the site of the MIT Police Station and the West Parking Lot, both on the western end of Vassar Street. The MIT Police headquarters will be relocated to W91, on Audrey Street facing Memorial Drive. 

Kieran Timberlake is the designer for the project, and John Moriarty & Associates is the construction manager. Consistent with MIT’s Volpe zoning commitment, this project will file for permits by the end of 2020. Construction is planned to start in late 2021.

Kendall Site 2

The proposed building at Site 2 is the last of the major commercial research and development projects in the Kendall Square Initiative. MIT received a special permit for this building in 2016 (together with the other Kendall Square projects) and is now advancing the design in anticipation of final design review by the Planning Board in 2021. Abatement and demolition of the existing building on the site (Eastgate, a graduate student dormitory) was originally anticipated to occur immediately following the completion of the new graduate dormitory at Site 4. This work has been rescheduled until after the end of the current academic year to allow for continued student occupancy during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Map of MIT cellular installations