MIT News - Campus buildings and architecture http://news.mit.edu/topic/mitcampus-buildings-rss.xml MIT News is dedicated to communicating to the media and the public the news and achievements of the students, faculty, staff and the greater MIT community. en Thu, 27 Feb 2020 10:30:01 -0500 3 Questions: David Friedrich on graduate student housing and financial support http://news.mit.edu/2020/3-questions-david-friedrich-graduate-student-housing-and-financial-support-measures-0227 Senior associate dean for housing discusses efforts to support Eastgate residents, vision for interconnected housing, and financial support strategy. Thu, 27 Feb 2020 10:30:01 -0500 Division of Student Life http://news.mit.edu/2020/3-questions-david-friedrich-graduate-student-housing-and-financial-support-measures-0227 <p><em>At the start of the of 2019-20 academic year, Housing and Residential Services (HRS) began to </em><a href="http://studentlife.mit.edu/housing/graduate-family-housing/renovation-renewal-new-construction-projects-g/eastgate-apartments"><em>work with the Eastgate Apartments community</em></a><em> to prepare for the building’s closure and residents’ transition to new housing. After the Office of the Vice Chancellor announced a series of </em><a href="https://ovc.mit.edu/2020/02/04/vice-chancellors-update-advancing-our-support-for-graduate-students/"><em>new graduate student support measures</em></a><em>, HRS released 2020-21 rental rates for the new Graduate Tower at Site 4 and all other graduate student residences on Feb. 5. The Institute established the rates in keeping with recommendations from the </em><a href="https://orgchart.mit.edu/sites/default/files/reports/20180808-Chancellor-MIT-VC-Housing-Report.pdf"><em>2018 Graduate Student Housing Working Group Report</em></a><em>, and announced a number of measures designed to make the transition to new housing more affordable for current Eastgate graduate student residents. In a conversation with the Division of Student Life (DSL), Senior Associate Dean for HRS David Friedrich reiterated </em><em>MIT’s commitment to ensuring graduate students are financially secure and have access to quality, affordable housing during their time at MIT.</em><br /> <br /> <strong>Q: </strong>Housing and Residential Services (HRS) is actively working with other campus partners on housing affordability and financial support matters for current and future graduate students. Can you say more about that ongoing effort?</p> <p><strong>A:</strong>&nbsp;MIT is committed to making sure that current and future graduate students can thrive at MIT. Senior leaders know we need to make it financially viable for graduate students to complete their programs. And we know that housing costs make up a big portion of students’ budgets and can also be a source of stress. We are working closely with partners across campus to put holistic financial support measures in place to alleviate that stress.</p> <p>The Office of the Vice Chancellor, in partnership with the school deans and the provost, is helping graduate students in acute financial distress (in particular those who have children living with them)&nbsp;and&nbsp;those on partial appointments, and is supporting graduate students who are experiencing short-term financial challenges. They have <a href="https://ovc.mit.edu/2020/02/04/vice-chancellors-update-advancing-our-support-for-graduate-students/">launched new grant programs</a> to assist members of our community who find themselves in these situations.</p> <p>Ultimately, though, MIT needs a more comprehensive approach to graduate student support&nbsp;— measures that go beyond these grant programs and the cost-of-living adjustments addressed by the annual stipend rate-setting process. This is a complex issue that involves HRS, DSL, the chancellor, the vice chancellor, the provost, and the school deans. We are engaging graduate student leaders and partnering with these different stakeholders right now to develop solutions for current and future graduate students.</p> <p><strong>Q: </strong>The recently announced rates for the new Graduate Tower at Site 4 have sparked concerns about housing affordability and financial support, particularly among current Eastgate residents who will need to move when that building closes in August 2020. Can you talk about the ways you've been supporting Eastgate residents during this transition period?</p> <p><strong>A:</strong> I want to be clear that we value the Eastgate community; we understand that these changes have created some uncertainty and stress, and we want to help.<br /> <br /> Since the announcement of the rates, we've taken several steps to <a href="https://studentlife.mit.edu/sites/default/files/Eastgate%20Transition%20FAQ%202-25-20%20FINAL.pdf">respond to the concerns we've heard</a>. We held drop-in sessions at Eastgate and listened to what students were saying about the new rates, and we reassured them that we’re committed to making sure they have affordable housing options for next year and throughout their time at MIT.</p> <p>Our immediate response for providing relief and support to the Eastgate community consisted of extending the 15 percent discount on Site 4 rates for the entire time that Eastgate graduate students who move to Site 4 are in their current program. We also quickly established a personalized transition subsidy program to meet need in partnership with Student Financial Services (SFS).</p> <p>The program featured a short, low-barrier application and opportunities to talk in person with SFS financial counselors. The majority of applicants received significant transition subsidies so that moving to Site 4 will be more affordable to residents who found themselves in what we’ve described as an exceptional circumstance — they did not make their current housing choice with the benefit of knowing what Site 4 rates would be, and many want to remain in the same community until they finish their MIT program.</p> <p>To calculate award levels, SFS worked between two bounds. The lower bound of assistance was the Site 4 rate with a 15 percent discount. The upper bound of assistance, for those with the highest need, was based on the current Eastgate rates for an equivalent room type increased by 5.5 percent. This recognizes Site 4’s condition and location as well as the fact that, had Eastgate remained open, a rental increase would have gone into effect. We also note that, as in prior years, there will be an annual increase in student stipends, which is ultimately decided by the provost and the Deans’ Group after seeking input from a team of students, staff, and faculty led by the Graduate Student Council.</p> <p>There’s been some misunderstanding about the amount of time Eastgate graduate student residents have been given to make decisions about their housing for next year. They have a full three months, between now and the end of April, to evaluate their different on- and off-campus options, and <a href="https://studentlife.mit.edu/sites/default/files/2020-2021%20Eastgate%20Graduate%20Housing%20Timeline%20%26%20Processes.pdf">HRS has let them know we can help every step of the way</a>. No matter when an Eastgate graduate student decides to complete the selection process between now and the end of April, they will be given priority based on available space if they elect to move to Site 4 or to another on-campus residence.</p> <p><strong>Q: </strong>This situation has focused attention on MIT’s graduate student housing system. Can you describe the challenges you are facing, as well as the ongoing work to improve the quality of our housing and graduate students’ residential experience?</p> <p><strong>A: </strong>I think it's important to note that MIT is in a significant time of change and transition in housing, and there's been a lot of conversation about how to best respond to the needs of our graduate students and our overall housing system. The students, faculty, and staff who contributed to the recommendations in the 2018 Graduate Student Housing Working Group Report provided us with a very strong roadmap to navigate this period.</p> <p>The report highlighted the fact that we have about 38 percent of our graduate students living on campus. This means that they are paying rents that are subsidized by MIT to varying degrees. And it means the majority of our students aren’t fortunate enough to live on-campus and must pay market rates for their housing.</p> <p>The report recommended developing new approaches to delivering housing so that more can be added efficiently in the future. It also showed that we have a lot of challenges facing our existing on-campus system, stating clearly that “Currently our revenue falls short of what is required for comprehensive stewardship. This leads to lower-quality housing and creates an impediment to adding more housing.” The report called for us to move to a <a href="https://studentlife.mit.edu/sites/default/files/MIT%20Graduate%20Housing%20Rates%20FAQ%202-25-20%20FINAL.pdf">comprehensive stewardship model</a> in order to better serve our students and our housing system. By pursuing a phased transition so that all of our units are below market rates, but in a consistent way based on their relative size and quality, we are responding to this recommendation.<br /> <br /> The report also identified operational changes that will help us improve more quickly. With the help of the <a href="https://studentlife.mit.edu/about/goals-mission-and-organization/meet-suzy-nelson/key-matters/graduate-housing-working-group-implementation-team">Graduate Student Housing Implementation Team</a>, we’ve been making headway on those operational changes. Old policies limited where students could live depending on whether they were single or couples. They also limited the amount of time students were able to remain in housing. To address these shortcomings, we’ve increased capacity for couples by launching successful pilots offering more places where couples can live. And we now offer all new graduate student residents two consecutive years of housing in all of our graduate student residences (previously, single students were only offered one year of housing).<br /> <br /> And I think we're making progress on one of the biggest recommendations from the report — to expand graduate student housing. MIT has already made 70 Amherst Street a new graduate student housing community and, last December, the Institute <a href="https://news.mit.edu/2019/new-project-advances-commitment-expanding-graduate-housing-1219">announced plans to build a 550-unit graduate residence</a> on Vassar Street that will enable us to accommodate more of our graduate students and families. These two steps, along with the net new beds in Site 4, have enabled us to make good on MIT’s commitment to add a total of 950-beds to our graduate student housing stock.</p> Image: AboveSummit with Christopher HartingDivision of Student Life, Housing, Vice Chancellor, Chancellor, Provost, Campus buildings and architecture, Campus development, Cambridge, Boston and region, Kendall Square MIT continues to advance toward greenhouse gas reduction goals http://news.mit.edu/2020/mit-continues-advance-toward-greenhouse-gas-reduction-goals-0221 Investments in energy efficiency projects, sustainable design elements essential as campus transforms. Fri, 21 Feb 2020 14:20:01 -0500 Nicole Morell | Office of Sustainability http://news.mit.edu/2020/mit-continues-advance-toward-greenhouse-gas-reduction-goals-0221 <p>At MIT, making a better world often starts on campus. That’s why, as the Institute works to find solutions to complex global problems, MIT has taken important steps to grow and transform its physical campus: adding new capacity, capabilities, and facilities to better support student life, education, and research. But growing and transforming the campus relies on resource and energy use — use that can exacerbate the complex global problem of climate change. This raises the question: How can an institution like MIT grow, and simultaneously work to lessen its greenhouse gas emissions and contributions to climate change?</p> <p>It’s a question — and a challenge — that MIT is committed to tackling.</p> <p><strong>Tracking toward 2030 goals</strong></p> <p>Guided by the <a href="http://web.mit.edu/climateaction/ClimateChangeStatement-2015Oct21.pdf" target="_blank">2015 Plan for Action on Climate Change</a>, MIT continues to work toward a goal of a minimum of 32 percent reduction in campus greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. As reported in the MIT Office of Sustainability’s (MITOS) <a href="https://sustainability.mit.edu/ghginventory#!2019%20ghg%20emissions" target="_blank">climate action plan update</a>, campus greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions rose by 2 percent in 2019, in part due to a longer cooling season as well as the new MIT.nano facility coming fully online. Despite this, overall net emissions are 18 percent below the 2014 baseline, and MIT continues to track toward its 2030 goal.</p> <p>Joe Higgins, vice president for campus services and stewardship, is optimistic about MIT’s ability to not only meet, but exceed this current goal. “With this growth [to campus], we are discovering unparalleled opportunities to work toward carbon neutrality by collaborating with key stakeholders across the Institute, tapping into the creativity of our faculty, students, and researchers, and partnering with industry experts. We are committed to making steady progress toward achieving our GHG reduction goal,” he says.</p> <p><strong>New growth to campus </strong></p> <p>This past year marked the first full year of operation for the new MIT.nano facility. This facility includes many energy-intensive labs that necessitate high ventilation rates to meet the requirements of a nano technology clean room fabrication laboratory. As a result, the facility’s energy demands and GHG emissions can be much higher than a traditional science building. In addition, this facility — among others — uses specialty research gases that can act as potent greenhouse gases. Still, the 214,000-square-foot building has a number of sustainable, high-energy-efficiency design features, including an innovative air filtering process to support clean room standards while minimizing energy use. For these sustainable design elements, the facility was recognized with an International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) 2019 <a href="https://www.i2sl.org/conference/2019/awards.html" target="_blank">Go Beyond Award</a>.</p> <p>In 2020, MIT.nano will be joined by new residential and multi-use buildings in both West Campus and Kendall Square, with the Vassar Street Residence and Kendall Square Sites 4 and 5 set to be completed. In keeping with MIT’s target for LEED v4 Gold Certification for new projects, these buildings were designed for high energy efficiency to minimize emissions and include a number of other sustainability measures, from green roofs to high-performance building envelopes. With new construction on campus, integrated design processes allow for sustainability and energy efficiency strategies to be adopted at the outset.</p> <p><strong>Energy efficiency on an established campus</strong></p> <p>For years, MIT has been keenly focused on increasing the energy efficiency and reducing emissions of its existing buildings, but as the campus grows, reducing emissions of current buildings through deep energy enhancements is an increasingly important part of offsetting emissions from new growth.</p> <p>To best accomplish this, the Department of Facilities — in close collaboration with the Office of Sustainability — has developed and rolled out a governance structure that relies on cross-functional teams to create new standards and policies, identify opportunities, develop projects, and assess progress relevant to building efficiency and emissions reduction. “Engaging across campus and across departments is essential to building out MIT’s full capacity to advance emissions reductions,” explains Director of Sustainability Julie Newman.</p> <p>These cross-functional teams — which include Campus Construction; Campus Services and Maintenance; Environment, Health, and Safety; Facilities Engineering; the Office of Sustainability; and Utilities — have focused on a number of strategies in the past year, including both building-wide and targeted energy strategies that have revealed priority candidates for energy retrofits to drive efficiency and minimize emissions.</p> <p>Carlo Fanone, director of facilities engineering, explains that “the cross-functional teams play an especially critical role at MIT, since we are a district energy campus. We supply most of our own energy, we distribute it, and we are the end users, so the teams represent a holistic approach that looks at all three of these elements equally — supply, distribution, and end-use — and considers energy solutions that address any or all of these elements.” Fanone notes that MIT has also identified 25 facilities on campus that have a high energy-use intensity and a high greenhouse gas emissions footprint. These 25 buildings account for up to 50 percent of energy consumption on the MIT campus. “Going forward,” Fanone says, “we are focusing our energy work on these buildings and on other energy enhancements that could have a measurable impact on the progress toward MIT’s 2030 goal.”</p> <p>Armed with these data, the Department of Facilities last year led retrofits for smart lighting and mechanical systems upgrades, as well as smart building management systems, in a number of buildings across campus. These building audits will continue to guide future projects focused on improving and optimizing energy elements such as heat recovery, lighting, and building systems controls.</p> <p>In addition to building-level efficiency improvements, MIT’s <a href="http://news.mit.edu/2018/mit-greenhouse-gas-reductions-progress-1128">Central Utilities Plant</a> upgrade is expected to contribute significantly to the reduction of on-campus emissions in upcoming years. The upgraded plant — set to be completed this year — will incorporate more efficient equipment and state-of-the-art controls. Between this upgrade, a fuel switch improvement made in 2015, and the building-level energy improvements, regulated pollutant emissions on campus are expected to reduce by more than 25 percent and campus greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent from 2014 levels, helping to offset a projected 10 percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions due to energy demands created by new growth.</p> <p><strong>Climate research and action on campus</strong></p> <p>As MIT explores energy efficiency opportunities, the campus itself plays an important role as an incubator for new ideas.</p> <p>In 2019, MITOS director Julie Newman and professor of mechanical engineering Timothy Gutowski are once again teaching 11.S938 / 2.S999 (Solving for Carbon Neutrality at MIT) this semester. <strong>“</strong>The course, along with others that have emerged across campus, provides students the opportunity to devise ideas and solutions for real-world challenges while connecting them back to campus. It also gives the students a sense of ownership on this campus, sharing ideas to chart the course for carbon-neutral MIT,” Newman says.</p> <p>Also on campus, a new energy storage project is being developed to test the feasibility and scalability of using different battery storage technologies to redistribute electricity provided by variable renewable energy. Funded by a Campus Sustainability Incubator Fund grant and led by Jessika Trancik, associate professor in the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, the project aims to test software approaches to synchronizing energy demand and supply and evaluate the performance of different energy-storage technologies against these use cases. It has the benefit of connecting on-campus climate research with climate action. “Building this storage testbed, and testing technologies under real-world conditions, can inform new algorithms and battery technologies and act as a multiplier, so that the lessons we learn at MIT can be applied far beyond campus,” says Trancik of the project.</p> <p><strong>Supporting on-campus efforts</strong></p> <p>MIT’s work toward emissions reductions already extends beyond campus as the Institute continues to benefit from the Institute’s 25-year commitment to purchase electricity generated through its <a href="http://news.mit.edu/2017/solar-plant-delivering-promises-carbon-emissions-0323" target="_self">Summit Farms Power Purchase Agreement</a> (PPA), which enabled the construction of a 650-acre, 60-megawatt solar farm in North Carolina. Through the purchase of 87,300 megawatt-hours of solar power, MIT was able to offset over 30,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from our on-campus operations in 2019.</p> <p>The Summit Farms PPA model has provided inspiration for similar projects around the country and has also demonstrated what MIT can accomplish through partnership. MIT continues to explore the possibility of collaborating on similar large power-purchase agreements, possibly involving other local institutions and city governments.</p> <p><strong>Looking ahead</strong></p> <p>As the campus continues to work toward reducing emissions, Fanone notes that a comprehensive approach will help MIT address the challenge of growing a campus while reducing emissions.</p> <p>“District-level energy solutions, additional renewables, coupled with energy enhancements within our buildings, will allow MIT to offset growth and meet our 2030 GHG goals,” says Fanone. Adds Newman, “It’s an exciting time that MIT is now positioned to put the steps in place to respond to this global crisis at the local level.”</p> How can an institution like MIT grow, and simultaneously work to lessen its greenhouse gas emissions and contributions to climate change?Photo: Maia Weinstock Sustainability, MIT.nano, Facilities, Campus buildings and architecture, Campus development, IDSS, Mechanical engineering, Climate change, Energy, Greenhouse gases, Community Edgerton Center celebrates reopening of its student shop in Building 6C http://news.mit.edu/2020/edgerton-center-celebrates-reopening-student-shop-0204 Its former location, Building 44 on Vassar Street, will soon become the new MIT Schwarzman College of Computing. Tue, 04 Feb 2020 13:20:01 -0500 Camilla Brinkman http://news.mit.edu/2020/edgerton-center-celebrates-reopening-student-shop-0204 <p>It was once an echo-filled empty space with 28-foot high ceilings located just off the Infinite Corridor. Now, less than a year later, 6C-006A is the new home of the Edgerton Student Shop. Its former location, Building 44 on Vassar Street, will soon become the new <a href="https://computing.mit.edu/" target="_blank">MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing</a>.</p> <p>“This was a big empty room [with] a lot of possibilities and right off the Infinite Corridor,” says J. Kim Vandiver, the Forbes Director of the Edgerton Center and professor of ocean and mechanical engineering. “You can’t get a much better site to have a student shop, so we jumped at the chance when we were offered this space,” he adds.</p> <p>The move across Vassar Street was in no way an easy lift. The center's four Monarch EE hand-operated lathes, made of cast iron and built in 1969, each weigh just over a ton.</p> <p>Mechanical engineering graduate student Austin Brown ’18 was pleased to see them. “Monarch lathes are one of the best that money can buy, probably top of the line in terms of hand-operated lathes, so [I’m] really excited that they kept these around,” remarks Brown.</p> <p>Along with hand-operated mills and lathes, there are also computer numerical control (CNC) lathes and a CNC machining center, 3D printers, and a number of precision tools. A model steam locomotive, parts for a dark matter detector, and recently a medical gripper for removing tumors, were made by students in the Edgerton Student Shop.</p> <p>The grand opening also marked an occasion to acknowledge Mark Belanger, student shop manager. Vandiver presented Belanger with a brass plaque etched with the original sign for the Edgerton Student Shop — fabricated by the Edgerton Center’s Area 51 Shop Manager Pat McAtamney —&nbsp;thanking Mark for his 15-year dedication to students and to MIT. &nbsp;</p> <p>After the ceremonial cutting of the caution tape, Vandiver declared the shop open to students.</p> <p>Widely attended, machinists from shops around MIT came for the celebration and, well, talked shop.</p> <p>Israel Bonilla, a junior in aeronautics and astronautics who works in multiple [shop] spaces across campus, attended the opening.</p> <p>“It’s kind of fun to get to know the different people and where their backgrounds are, why they know how to do this, because it’s kind of a lost art. It’s cool to think about how, back in the day, if you could do this [machining], you were a superstar, it was a desirable job. It takes a lot of skill, and you’ve got to be pretty smart to be good at it.”</p> <p>“It’s something I learn all the time when I screw up my parts,” says Bonilla. “I’m like ‘Wow, I really didn’t think this through.’”</p> <p>“It requires so much foresight and planning. It’s like a good exercise in spatial reasoning,” adds Bonilla, who is also a member of the MIT <a href="http://rocketry.mit.edu/" target="_blank">Rocket Team</a>.</p> <p>When the Edgerton Student Shop opened in 1998, there were very few options for students to fabricate projects unless it was for research within their department.</p> <p>“Within the past six years, it’s been a night-and-day transformation; it was here and MITERS, that was really about it,” says Brown, who is a member of the MIT Electronic Research Society.</p> <p>“Now LMP [the <a href="https://lmp.mit.edu/machine-shop" target="_blank">Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity</a>] is much more friendly to students working on projects, this [<a href="http://edgerton.mit.edu/student-shops/edgerton-student-shop" target="_blank">Edgerton Student Shop</a>] exists, <a href="http://makerworkshop.mit.edu/" target="_blank">MakerWorks</a> exists, <a href="https://project-manus.mit.edu/the-deep" target="_blank">The DEEP</a> exists,” he adds, referring to the growth of machine shops on campus.</p> <p>The Edgerton Student Shop is open daily, including evenings and weekends. MIT students from across campus can use the shop for research and personal projects once they complete the 12-hour training. Contact <a href="mailto:mdbelang@mit.edu?subject=Edgerton%20Student%20Shop%20Training">Mark Belanger</a> to sign up.</p> Professor J. Kim Vandiver, Mark Belanger, and others celebrate the Edgerton Student Shop's move across Vassar Street. The new shop is next door to the Metropolis Shop, part of Project Manus. Photo: Camilla BrinkmanCampus buildings and architecture, Edgerton, maker movement, Facilities, MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, Student life, Clubs and activities MIT.nano receives international sustainability award http://news.mit.edu/2020/mit-nano-receives-international-sustainability-award-0128 “Go Beyond” Award celebrates commitment to excellence in efficiency and sustainability. Tue, 28 Jan 2020 15:20:01 -0500 MIT.nano http://news.mit.edu/2020/mit-nano-receives-international-sustainability-award-0128 <p>MIT.nano, the campus facility for nanoscience and nanotechnology research, has been awarded the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) 2019 “Go Beyond” Award for excellence in sustainability in laboratory and other high-technology facility projects.</p> <p>In selecting the recipients, I2SL looks for projects that “go beyond the facility itself to consider shared resources, infrastructure and services, and neighboring communities, as well as contributing to increased use of energy-efficient and environmentally-sustainable designs, systems, and products.”</p> <p>Designed by Wilson HGA and completed in 2018, the 216,000 square-foot facility, located in the heart of MIT’s campus, is a shared resource for MIT faculty, students, and researchers, as well as external academic and industry users. MIT.nano offers state-of-the-art equipment and environmental controls that would be challenging for individual labs or departments to afford or maintain on their own.</p> <p>“To meet MIT’s goal of designing the most energy-efficient academic cleanroom, we benchmarked against 16 national facilities to establish energy-use drivers and identify best-in-class measures for energy reduction,” explains Samir Srouji, design principal at Wilson HGA. “The design anticipates a 51 percent source energy savings and 50 percent reduction in CO<sub>2</sub> emissions, a true feat for a cleanroom project.”</p> <p>MIT.nano has 47,000 square feet of cleanroom suites that make up two, two-story spaces in the center of the facility. The majority of the cleanroom area under filter is rated ISO 5 (i.e., Class 100), meaning the air is&nbsp;continuously filtered and replaced every 15-30 seconds to maintain a standard that allows no more than 100 particles of 0.5 microns or larger within a cubic foot of air.</p> <p>Despite such resource-intensive technical requirements, MIT and Wilson HGA achieved high sustainability metrics by implementing 60 energy conservation measures (ECM), six of which are considered “go beyond” ECMs, meaning they are not standard practice in cleanroom design and significantly reduce energy use. These measures are:</p> <ul> <li>glycol “run-around” heat recovery from exhaust;</li> <li>variable-volume exhaust and make-up air;</li> <li>condenser heat recovery from sub-cooling chiller;</li> <li>100 percent filter coverage in cleanroom ceiling to lower fan static;</li> <li>variable air volume (VAV) recirculation air handling unit (RAHU), based on occupancy and particle counters; and</li> <li>reheat in RAHUs, avoiding central reheat of all make-up air.</li> </ul> <p>No other cleanroom to date has implemented more than three “go beyond” ECMs, according to Wilson HGA.</p> <p>“MIT.nano is the most technically complex building on campus with thousands of monitoring points spread throughout the facility,” says Dennis Grimard, managing director at MIT.nano. “These points help maintain MIT.nano’s sustainability goals by constantly monitoring the building’s health and operation. Significant resources have also been committed from MIT’s Department of Facilities to ensure the building continues to operate properly.”</p> <p>MIT has made increased efficiency and reduced waste a priority over the past several years, including the creation of the <a href="https://sustainability.mit.edu">Office of Sustainability</a> in 2013. One of the ways MIT is carrying out this commitment is by ensuring new buildings and renovations, from the earliest design stages, are focused on efficiency and sustainability in their energy, water, waste-handling, and other systems.</p> <p>“MIT faces the unique challenge of a growing campus paired with ambitious goals in reducing emissions while increasing investments in energy efficiency,” says Julie Newman, director of sustainability at MIT. “The MIT.nano design team boldly approached this challenge by designing a best-in-class&nbsp;particle-free lab that integrates sustainable and high-performance design standards while concurrently preparing for a changing climate.”</p> <p>MIT.nano boasts a 40 percent water use reduction and over 90 percent of construction waste was diverted. The facility is on track to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (<a href="https://www.usgbc.org/leed">LEED</a>) Platinum certification. In order to reach this level, buildings must attain 80 or more points based on compliance with different aspects of sustainability. It is the highest LEED certification possible.</p> <p>The Go Beyond Award is the latest honor for MIT.nano. The building has previously received the <a href="https://www.rdworldonline.com/lab-of-the-year-winners-announced/" target="_blank">53rd&nbsp;annual Lab of the Year Award</a> from&nbsp;<em>R&amp;D Magazin</em>e and the <a href="https://hga.com/mit-nano-wins-2019-education-facility-design-award/" target="_blank">2019 Education Facility Design Award of Merit</a>, presented by the American Institute of Architects Committee on Architecture for Education.</p> Designed by Wilson HGA and completed in 2018, the 216,000 square-foot MIT.nano building, located in the heart of MIT’s campus, is a shared resource for MIT faculty, students, and researchers, as well as external academic and industry users.Photo: Wilson ArchitectsMIT.nano, Facilities, Sustainability, Awards, honors and fellowships, Campus buildings and architecture, Nanoscience and nanotechnology Students propose plans for a carbon-neutral campus http://news.mit.edu/2020/students-propose-plans-carbon-neutral-mit-campus-0117 Students in class 2.S999 (Solving for Carbon Neutrality at MIT) are charged with developing plans to make MIT’s campus carbon neutral by 2060. Fri, 17 Jan 2020 09:50:01 -0500 Mary Beth Gallagher | Department of Mechanical Engineering http://news.mit.edu/2020/students-propose-plans-carbon-neutral-mit-campus-0117 <p>While so many faculty and researchers at MIT are developing technologies to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy sustainability, one class puts the power in students’ hands.</p> <p>In 2.S999 (Solving for Carbon Neutrality at MIT), teams of students are tasked with developing a plan to achieve carbon neutrality on MIT’s campus by 2060. “It’s a ‘roll up your sleeves and solve a real problem’ kind of class,” says Timothy Gutowski, professor of mechanical engineering and co-instructor for the class.</p> <p>In nearly every class, students hear from guest lecturers who offer their own expert views on energy sustainability and carbon emissions. In addition to faculty and staff from across MIT, guest lecturers include local government officials, industry specialists, and economists. Whether it’s the science and ethics behind climate change, the evolution of the electric grid, or the development of MIT’s upgraded Central Utilities Plant, these experts introduce students to considerations on a campus, regional, national, and global level.</p> <p>“It’s essential to expose students to these different perspectives so they understand the complexity and the multidisciplinary nature of this challenge,” says Julie Newman, director of MIT’s Office of Sustainability and co-instructor.</p> <p>In one class, students get the opportunity to embody different perspectives through a debate about the installation of an offshore wind farm near a small coastal town. Each student is given a particular role to play in a debate. Caroline Boone, a junior studying mechanical engineering, played the role of a beachfront property owner who objected to the installation.</p> <p>“It was a really good way of grasping how those negotiations happen in the real world,” recalls Boone. “The fact of the matter is, you’re going to have to work with groups who have their own interests — that requires compromise and negotiation.”</p> <p>Armed with these negotiation skills, along with insights from different experts, students are divided into teams and charged with developing a strategy that outlines year-by-year how MIT can achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. “The final project uses the campus as a test bed for engaging and exposing students to the complexity of solving for these global issues in their own backyard,” Newman adds.</p> <p>Student teams took a number of approaches in their strategies to achieve carbon neutrality. Tom Hubschman’s team focused on the immediate impact MIT could have through power purchase agreements — also known as PPAs.</p> <p>“Our team quickly realized that, given the harsh New England environment and the limited space on campus, building a giant solar or wind farm in the middle of Cambridge wasn’t a sound strategy,” says Hubschman, a mechanical engineering graduate student. Instead, his team built their strategy around replicating MIT’s current PPA that has resulted in the construction of a 650-acre solar farm in North Carolina.&nbsp;</p> <p>Boone’s team, meanwhile, took a different approach, developing a plan that didn’t include PPAs. “Our team was a bit contrarian in not having any PPAs, but we thought it was important to have that contrasting perspective,” she explains. Boone’s role within her team was to examine building energy use on campus. One takeaway from her research was the need for better controls and sensors to ensure campus buildings are running more efficiently.</p> <p>Regardless of their approach, each team had to deal with a level of uncertainty with regard to the efficiency of New England’s electric grid. “Right now, the electricity produced by MIT’s own power plant emits less carbon than the current grid,” adds Gutowski. “But the question is, as new regulations are put in place and new technologies are developed, when will there be a crossover in the grid emitting less carbon than our own power plant?” Students have to build this uncertainty into the predictive modeling for their proposed solutions.&nbsp;</p> <p>In the two years that the class has been offered, student projects have been helpful in shaping the Office of Sustainability’s own strategy. “These projects have reinforced our calculations and confirmed our strategy of using PPAs to contribute to greenhouse gas reduction off-site as we work toward developing on-site solutions,” explains Newman.</p> <p>This spring, Gutowski and Newman will work with a number of universities in South America on launching similar classes for their curricula. They will visit Ecuador, Chile, and Columbia, encouraging university administrators to task their students with solving for carbon neutrality on their own campuses.</p> Julie Newman, director of sustainability at MIT, says the final project for course 2.S999 “uses the campus as a test bed for engaging and exposing students to the complexity of solving [for] global issues in their own backyard.”Photo: Ken RichardsonMechanical engineering, School of Engineering, Classes and programs, Sustainability, Campus buildings and architecture, Climate change, Energy, Greenhouse gases, Students New project advances commitment to expanding graduate housing http://news.mit.edu/2019/new-project-advances-commitment-expanding-graduate-housing-1219 West Campus location identified for new residence. Thu, 19 Dec 2019 12:55:01 -0500 Kristin Lund | MIT Facilities http://news.mit.edu/2019/new-project-advances-commitment-expanding-graduate-housing-1219 <p>MIT is embarking on a project to design and construct new graduate housing at the west end of campus on the site of the West Lot parking area and Building W89 (MIT Police). Currently in an early planning stage, the apartment-style residence hall is expected to provide 550 new graduate student housing beds, completing the October 2017 <a href="http://orgchart.mit.edu/node/5/letters_to_community/expanding-graduate-student-housing" target="_blank">commitment</a> MIT made to add 950 beds to the graduate housing system on campus.&nbsp;</p> <p>Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart, Provost Martin Schmidt, and Executive Vice President and Treasurer Israel Ruiz announced&nbsp;the project in a <a href="https://orgchart.mit.edu/node/5/letters_to_community/new-housing-option-graduate-students" target="_blank">letter</a> to the graduate student community today. They highlighted the benefits of the project, noting that “graduate students and graduate student families will now have access to the convenience and independence of apartment-style living in a residence hall minutes away from the heart of campus. We are pleased to be diversifying our housing portfolio to include an option that promises to be an exciting alternative to living off-campus for many students.”</p> <p><strong>New housing will be constructed on West Lot parking site</strong></p> <p>Construction of a pair of buildings located along Vassar Street, on the site of Building W89 and the West Lot parking area adjacent to Simmons Hall, will begin after the completion of planning and design work that will be conducted over the next couple of years. In a study of potential locations by the Office of Campus Planning, this site stood out as an ideal solution for expanding graduate student housing options while also reinforcing the connection to Fort Washington Park and other graduate student communities, as well as further defining the Vassar Street corridor.</p> <p>“We are very grateful for the long-term opportunities this project presents,” says Suzy Nelson, vice president and dean for student life. “Giving more graduate students the opportunity to fully engage in the Institute’s vibrant campus life is an essential way of enhancing their MIT experience. This exciting new project makes that possible, and it makes living at MIT more attractive to them and to their families.”</p> <p><strong>Graduate housing is a top priority</strong></p> <p>MIT’s graduate student population has been growing steadily over the past two decades. In recent years, two different Graduate Student Housing Working Group reports highlighted student housing as one of MIT’s competitive strengths and noted MIT’s attention to expanding on-campus graduate student housing over the years. In 1980 and 1990, MIT provided housing for 27 percent of its graduate students; today, MIT provides housing for 38 percent of the graduate student population, satisfying the preferences of today’s students, with fewer shared bedrooms and more efficiencies.</p> <p>Both the working group’s <a href="http://orgchart.mit.edu/sites/default/files/reports/20140603_Provost_GradHousingFinal.pdf" target="_blank">Report to the Provost</a> (May 2014) and the working group’s <a href="http://orgchart.mit.edu/sites/default/files/reports/20180808-Chancellor-MIT-VC-Housing-Report.pdf" target="_blank">Report to the Chancellor</a> (August 2018) recommended that MIT undertake a further expansion of student housing, and the findings encouraged MIT to consider flexible and new on-campus housing options. Families, in particular, face housing challenges in the Boston-Cambridge, Massachusetts area based on cost and availability. Both working groups noted that an increase in one- and two-bedroom apartment-style units would help address unmet demand and would give more graduate student families the opportunity to benefit from living on campus.</p> <p>With these recommendations in mind, MIT made a commitment in October 2017 to its graduate students (and the City of Cambridge, as part of the Volpe <a href="http://news.mit.edu/2017/cambridge-city-council-approves-mit-volpe-zoning-petition-1023" target="_self">zoning petition</a>) to add 950 beds to MIT’s graduate student housing stock.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Accommodations for student families and singles</strong></p> <p>As planned, the new West Campus graduate residence will fulfill the 2017 commitment and will respond to the working group reports by providing a mix of housing unit types that align with the evolving needs of graduate students and student families.&nbsp;</p> <p>On-campus graduate housing at MIT, which currently includes more than 2,500 beds across eight residence halls, will soon be supplemented by the new graduate student residence hall under construction in Kendall Square, providing more than 450 beds total (replacing Eastgate beds and adding 250 net new beds). The West Campus student residence is expected to add 550 new graduate student housing beds in a range of apartment styles, including single units as well as larger units suitable for families. These initiatives, in concert with the addition of 150 new graduate student housing beds resulting from renovations, will fulfill MIT’s commitment to add 950 beds to its graduate student housing system.</p> <p><strong>Next steps for the housing project</strong></p> <p>MIT is planning to work with an experienced third-party campus housing developer to design, develop, and operate the student residence hall. The developer will provide the financial capital for construction, giving MIT the financial flexibility and bandwidth to expedite adding beds while reserving MIT resources for making capital renewal improvements and addressing deferred maintenance work throughout the student housing system. In the upcoming months, MIT and the developer will work together to establish an agreement and formulate a program plan informed by the Graduate Student Housing Working Group reports.&nbsp;</p> <p>As part of the project, the MIT Police office, currently in Building W89, is expected to be relocated to accommodate the new complex. Planning for this move is underway, and more details will be shared when available. The project team is also working closely with the Parking and Transportation Office regarding the parking spaces that will be displaced. The Parking and Transportation Office will work with individual parkers on assignments, taking into consideration proximity to housing and offices.&nbsp;</p> <p>The graduate community will have opportunities to continue to engage in discussion around the residence project, providing the project team with feedback and valuable input. MIT is committed to begin permitting for this project by the end of December 2020, and construction is expected to begin in 2021-22.</p> MIT is embarking on a project to design and construct new graduate housing at the west end of campus on the site of the West Lot parking area and Building W89 (MIT Police). Image: MIT Facilities and Google EarthFacilities, Police, Student life, Campus buildings and architecture, Graduate, postdoctoral, Kendall Square, Cambridge, Boston and region, Housing, Community Design for the Hayden Library renovation takes shape http://news.mit.edu/2019/design-hayden-library-renovation-takes-shape-1212 Renovated spaces will be more flexible and welcoming, maximizing views and natural light. Thu, 12 Dec 2019 12:12:01 -0500 Brigham Fay | MIT Libraries http://news.mit.edu/2019/design-hayden-library-renovation-takes-shape-1212 <p>The MIT Libraries, working with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.kvarch.net/" target="_blank">Kennedy &amp; Violich Architecture</a>&nbsp;(KVA), have developed the design for the upcoming Hayden Library renovation. As seen in architectural concept renderings, the new design accommodates the library’s multiple uses with dynamic areas for collaboration, research, and community-building, as well as quiet study.&nbsp;</p> <p>Reopening in fall 2020, the renovated library will include a transformation of the first floor and parts of the second floor. New research and event program space, infrastructure upgrades, and improved accessibility will better&nbsp;support the ways that today’s MIT community uses library space. If donor funding is secured, Lipschitz Courtyard, adjacent to Hayden, will also be renovated concurrently with the library to provide a compelling outdoor community green space with new landscaping and seating areas.&nbsp;</p> <p>“We asked KVA to create spaces that reflect the library of the future — participatory, creative, dynamic — while also preserving what makes Hayden such a popular study destination: quiet, restful space with beautiful views,” says Chris Bourg, director of the MIT Libraries. “Their design will not only make the library more open and welcoming; it will invite community members to make connections between ideas, collections, and each other.”</p> <p><strong>Research crossroads</strong></p> <p>KVA’s design concept for Hayden Library, “Research Crossroads,” is designed to enable new ways to study, collaborate, and conduct research with the library’s collections. The first floor has been designed as a dynamic and flexible community space for research and dialogue, where a new café, event space, and reservable study rooms will encourage impromptu gatherings, collaborative study, and community events. Two new double-height pavilion structures, clad in translucent glass and ash wood, are located in an X-shaped configuration that opens up views to the Lipschitz Courtyard and the Charles River.&nbsp;</p> <p>“The Research Crossroads design concept was guided by the inspiring new vision for Hayden that MIT Libraries has developed,” says Sheila Kennedy, founding principal of KVA and&nbsp;<a href="http://architecture.mit.edu/faculty/sheila-kennedy">professor of architecture</a>&nbsp;in MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning. “The new design and renovation project will help bring the physical spaces of Hayden into a future where research collaboration and inclusive community building are becoming increasingly important.”&nbsp;</p> <p>“This design puts research physically and figuratively at the center of the library,” says Bourg. “The research rooms will be visible as you enter, signaling that the library is an active and vibrant space where people are interacting with knowledge and each other.”</p> <p>The entire first floor of the new Hayden, more than 10,000 square feet of space, will be accessible 24 hours a day to anyone with an MIT ID. The first and second floors of the library will be connected with an expanded new elevator and a new public stair and circulation path. At the east end of the first floor, a flexible event and teaching space can be configured in different ways to host events ranging from lectures to book signings, as well as library workshops and classes.</p> <p>The second-floor reading room will remain a place for quiet study,&nbsp;suffused with natural light and featuring river views. Adjacent to the reading room will be staff offices for subject librarians and experts in scholarly communications, with areas for consultation with MIT students, faculty, and researchers. New flexible work space on the east side of Building 14’s second floor will provide additional space for study, research, and working with library collections.</p> <p><strong>Accessibility and sustainability&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Access and sustainability have been priorities throughout the design process. An accessible, full-size elevator, the removal of non-accessible mezzanines, and the addition of new gender-inclusive restrooms and a lactation room will all contribute to a more inclusive and welcoming library. In addition to aiming for <span class="ILfuVd"><span class="e24Kjd">Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design</span></span> Gold certification, the Hayden renovation will also be piloting two new certifications for MIT: Fitwel, a building certification focused on positive impacts for occupant health and wellbeing, and an interior design strategy that uses environmentally responsible materials.&nbsp;</p> <p>To realize this vision for the new Hayden, the library will be closed from mid-December until fall 2020. Access to the basement-level general collections will close on Dec. 15, and all study spaces (including the 24-hour space) close on Dec. 19 at 5 p.m.&nbsp;</p> <p>An&nbsp;<a href="https://libraries.mit.edu/exhibits/exhibit/envisioning-hayden-library/" target="_blank">exhibit</a>&nbsp;about the Hayden Library renovation opens in the Maihaugen Gallery (14N-130) in December and will remain on view throughout construction.&nbsp;</p> A conceptual rendering for MIT's Hayden Library shows a new stair that leads to the mezzanine level and the second-floor reading room. Study rooms, computer stations, and flexible furniture configurations all benefit from views to the Charles River and Boston skyline through Hayden’s double-height windows. Image: Kennedy and Violich ArchitectureSchool of Architecture and Planning, Community, Facilities, Campus buildings and architecture, Architecture, Libraries Improbability Walk at MIT.nano honors Mildred Dresselhaus http://news.mit.edu/2019/improbability-walk-mitnano-honors-mildred-dresselhaus-1115 Courtyard space celebrates beloved professor’s research and mentorship. Fri, 15 Nov 2019 13:50:01 -0500 Chad Galts | MIT.nano http://news.mit.edu/2019/improbability-walk-mitnano-honors-mildred-dresselhaus-1115 <p>The courtyard between the south-facing walls of buildings 4 and 8 and the recently constructed MIT.nano facility has the feel of a meditation space. Overlooked by the great dome, edged with pillars of bamboo, and lined by glass walls on all sides, the walkway has been christened the “Improbability Walk,” in honor of one of MIT’s most inspirational faculty members: the late Institute Professor Mildred “Millie” Dresselhaus.</p> <p>The name for the space was the idea of Vladimir Bulović, the Fariborz Maseeh (1990) Professor in Emerging Technology. “Millie often used the word ‘improbable’ to describe her success,” recalls Bulović, who is also the founding faculty director of MIT.nano. “And, especially later in her career, she often used the simple act of walking across campus as an opportunity to teach, and to learn from her students. Combining the idea of improbable journeys and walking as a form of mentorship and exchanging ideas seemed a fitting tribute to Millie.”</p> <p>The roots of walking as an avenue for teaching ran deep for Dresselhaus. While she was studying physics at the University of Chicago in the early 1950s, she lived in the same neighborhood as Nobel laureate Enrico Fermi and walked to campus with him every day, reviewing experiments and talking about their work. Throughout her life, she credited these walks with inspiring her journey to become a professor, researcher, and mentor.</p> <p>It is no surprise, therefore, that walking and talking became a lifelong practice at MIT with her colleagues and students. “On the way back from seminars, we would always talk about what we’d just learned. Or she would see something — like the Green Building, or a poster about an upcoming lecture — and she would want to tell us about it,” recalls Shengxi Huang PhD ’17 of her many strolls across campus with Dresselhaus. “And she was a really good storyteller.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Dresselhaus’s appetite for walking and talking, says Xi Ling, a postdoc in Dresselhaus’s lab from 2012 to 2016 and now an assistant professor of chemistry at Boston University, was not limited to the MIT campus, or even just Massachusetts. “We traveled to a lot of conferences, and she was always curious about everything and wanting to tell us stories,” says Ling. “When we went to New Mexico for a conference, she wanted to show us the plants. In Detroit, she wanted to explain to whole city.”</p> <p>Ling and Huang, however, take issue with Dresselhaus’ description of her path to success as improbable. “To us, seeing her work so hard — attending conferences, writing letters, sitting in the front row at every seminar — it makes perfect sense,” says Ling. “It is very hard for a normal person to do all of these things, and she did it for 60 years!”</p> <p>But Dresselhaus’s career really was launched in a succession of low-probability events. The child of newly arrived Eastern European immigrants, she grew up in the 1930s in “a dangerous, low-income neighborhood” in the Bronx, she wrote in 2012. But her diligence, her love of math and science, and a series of fortunate coincidences and connections propelled her first to Hunter College, then Radcliffe College, and then the University of Chicago, where she studied physics with Fermi.</p> <p>When she joined the MIT faculty in 1967, Dresselhaus was one of two women on the science and engineering faculty. Of the approximately 4,000 undergraduates at MIT at that time, roughly 200 were women — and only 28 were studying engineering. As she pursued her research in what would become some of the most important scientific endeavors of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Dresselhaus also made increasing participation among women in science and engineering a personal responsibility.&nbsp;</p> <p>With help from her efforts, the landscape shifted. Today, roughly half of MIT undergraduates and more than a third of graduate students are women. And Dresselhaus’s contributions were not limited to the Institute. In 1975, she published “Some Personal Views on Engineering Education for Women” in&nbsp;<em>IEEE Transactions</em> — an open call to her academic colleagues to develop more effective approaches to providing women students with the best training opportunities. She went on to serve as the first chair of the Committee on Women in Science and Engineering for both the National Academy of Science and National Academy of Engineering, inaugurating a range of national programs and activities that continue to this day.&nbsp;</p> <p>From the perspective of where she began, Dresselhaus’s scientific accomplishments seem just as improbable. In the 1960s, she opted to work in electro-optics of semimetals, such as carbon, because she wanted, in part, “a less competitive research area while we had our babies,” she wrote. Her late-career coronation as the “queen of carbon science” was based on decades of work on the fundamental electronic properties of carbon. Her research gave the world fullerenes, superconductors, and nanotubes — paving the way for whole new avenues of scientific inquiry in nearly every field of physical science and engineering. Working with more than 900 collaborators over the course of her career, Dresselhaus authored more than 1,700 scientific papers and co-wrote eight books.&nbsp;</p> <p>The catalog of awards and honors earned by Dresselhaus during her career also strains credulity: the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Medal of Science, the Kavli Prize, the Enrico Fermi Award, the Vannevar Bush Award, the IEEE Founders medal, 38 honorary degrees, and many, many more. She also led the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, advised three U.S. presidents, and chaired numerous influential national commissions.</p> <p>MIT.nano recently hosted the inaugural Mildred S. Dresselhaus Lecture, part of a new series of talks recognizing a significant figure in science and engineering from anywhere in the world whose leadership and impact echo Dresselhaus’s life, accomplishments, and values. The first speaker in the series was Paul McEuen, the John A. Newman Professor of Physical Science at Cornell University and director of the Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science, who presented on Nov. 13 on cell-sized sensors and robots. “When I think of my scientific heroes, it's a very, very short list, and I think at the top of it would be Millie Dresselhaus,” McEuen said in his opening remarks. “To be able to give this lecture in her honor means the world to me.”</p> <p>“The Improbability Walk is more than just a place. It’s a call for all of us to invest in the future of MIT, so we can allow people of all backgrounds to succeed — despite the odds,” says Bulović. “It’s also a reminder to all of us that a few simple words, said at just the right moment, can change a person’s life.”</p> The section of the MIT.nano courtyard that runs along the south side of the building has been named the Improbability Walk, in honor of Mildred Dresselhaus.Image courtesy of Wilson ArchitectsMIT.nano, Electrical engineering and computer science (EECS), Nanoscience and nanotechnology, Community, Faculty, Women in STEM, Carbon, Physics, School of Science, School of Engineering, Campus buildings and architecture Joe Higgins named vice president for campus services and stewardship http://news.mit.edu/2019/joe-higgins-named-vice-president-campus-services-1101 New position to oversee facilities, construction, planning, sustainability, and EHS. Fri, 01 Nov 2019 06:00:00 -0400 Steve Bradt | MIT News Office http://news.mit.edu/2019/joe-higgins-named-vice-president-campus-services-1101 <p>Director of Campus Operations Joe Higgins has been named vice president for campus services and stewardship, effective Nov. 1. In this new role, Higgins will oversee the Office of Sustainability, Environment Health and Safety, the Office of Campus Planning, and MIT Facilities, including Campus Construction.</p> <p>Executive Vice President and Treasurer Israel Ruiz announced the appointment today in an email to MIT faculty and staff.</p> <p><strong>“</strong>Joe joined MIT in 2016, and has since assumed increased responsibilities for a diverse portfolio of infrastructure functions and facilities operations,” Ruiz wrote. “Joe takes a highly collaborative approach to problem-solving, is a strategic thinker, and combines exceptional leadership skills with an amiable management style.”</p> <p>Higgins’ new role comes as part of a reorganization to reassign the responsibilities of Deputy Executive Vice President Tony Sharon, <a href="http://news.mit.edu/2019/tony-sharon-retire-0910">who is retiring</a> at the end of the calendar year.</p> <p>“I am excited to build upon the strength and momentum created by Tony,” Higgins says. “We are fortunate to have so many dedicated and creative people thinking about ways to continually transform our campus, our buildings, and our infrastructure. Creating spaces that enable our students, faculty, and staff to thrive while they tackle the great challenges in our world is paramount to us all. We are the stewards of a tremendous physical asset.”</p> <p>Since 2016, Higgins has managed critical aspects of MIT’s facilities, including finance and administration, procurement, communications, and customer engagement. In 2018, he assumed responsibility for management of maintenance, utilities, and facilities engineering. Higgins and his 800-member team are responsible for safely and sustainably planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and powering the MIT campus, with buildings totaling over 12 million gross square feet.</p> <p>Working with Director of Sustainability Julie Newman, Higgins led MIT’s alliance with Boston Medical Center and Post Office Square, <a href="http://news.mit.edu/2016/mit-neutralize-17-percent-carbon-emissions-through-purchase-solar-energy-1019">announced in October 2016</a>, to create a 60-megawatt, 650-acre solar power installation, adding carbon-free energy to the grid. MIT’s purchase of power from this North Carolina facility’s 255,000 solar panels was equivalent to 40 percent of the Institute’s electricity use at the time, neutralizing 17 percent of MIT’s carbon emissions.</p> <p>Prior to joining MIT, Higgins served as vice president and head of engineering for Fidelity Investments. In his 10 years at Fidelity, he was responsible for the infrastructure systems across a global real estate portfolio including key data centers, trading floors, call centers, and corporate office campuses. He also served as Fidelity’s first corporate sustainability officer, providing leadership, coordination, and reporting for a broad array of sustainability initiatives across worldwide locations.&nbsp;</p> <p>Earlier in his career, Higgins served for 14 years as director of engineering and then as executive director of strategic and technical services at a Connecticut-based facility management company. In these roles, he provided strategic and engineering services to over 100 academic and nonprofit institutions on their building projects and broader campus initiatives.</p> <p>A registered professional engineer, Higgins holds a BS in engineering and a BA in economics from Swarthmore College, and an MSc in education research from Oxford University.</p> Joe HigginsImage: Melanie Gonick, MITFacilities, Sustainability, Campus buildings and architecture, Staff, Administration Scene at MIT: Hockfield Court http://news.mit.edu/2019/scene-mit-hockfield-court-naming-1022 MIT’s North Court is now named after Susan Hockfield, MIT’s 16th president. Tue, 22 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0400 MIT News Office http://news.mit.edu/2019/scene-mit-hockfield-court-naming-1022 <p>The scenic quad formerly known as North Court, one of the major gateways to campus from Main Street and Kendall Square, is now Hockfield Court, in honor of&nbsp;<a href="http://news.mit.edu/2012/hockfield-0216">Susan Hockfield</a>, who was president of MIT from 2004 to 2012.</p> <p>The new moniker was bestowed in an Oct. 4 ceremony celebrating Hockfield and her contributions to the Institute. As MIT’s&nbsp;<a href="https://hockfield.mit.edu/bio/about-president">16th president</a>, and the first woman to serve in the role as well as the first life scientist, Hockfield focused MIT’s strengths on a range of important problems, from cancer research to advanced manufacturing. She championed the convergence of the life sciences with the engineering and physical sciences, oversaw the establishment of the MIT Energy Initiative, and furthered MIT’s regional and global engagement, fostering the burgeoning&nbsp;Kendall Square innovation cluster, among other visionary initiatives.&nbsp;</p> <p>Hockfield, who continues to hold a faculty appointment as professor of neuroscience and a member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, has also been a vocal advocate for making MIT a more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming environment.</p> <p>At the naming ceremony Hockfield reflected, "As the&nbsp;first woman and first&nbsp;life scientist&nbsp;to serve as president, I felt a particular responsibility for paving new paths and setting new directions&nbsp;that would be welcoming to all. ...&nbsp;I have confidence that MIT will continue to open, and hold open, new windows of opportunity, so that, as I said when I was first elected to MIT’s presidency, MIT can be the dream&nbsp;of&nbsp;<u>every</u>&nbsp;child who wants to make the world a better place ...&nbsp;and also the dream of&nbsp;<u>every</u>&nbsp;engineer, scientist, scholar, and artist who draws inspiration from the idea of working in a hotbed of innovation, in service to humankind.” &nbsp;</p> Hockfield Court is one of the major gateways to campus from Main Street and Kendall Square.Photo: Christopher HartingAdministration, Special events and guest speakers, Faculty, Koch Institute, Scene at MIT, Campus buildings and architecture A major expansion for the Green Building http://news.mit.edu/2019/major-expansion-green-building-0822 $60 million upgrade will add 12,000 square feet for meetings, classrooms, and study spaces. Thu, 22 Aug 2019 12:00:01 -0400 MIT Resource Development http://news.mit.edu/2019/major-expansion-green-building-0822 <p>Rising nearly 300 feet from the ground, the Cecil and Ida Green Building, aka <a href="https://whereis.mit.edu/?go=54" target="_blank">Building 54</a>, stands out as not only the tallest building on MIT’s campus but also (until recently) the tallest building in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Yet it’s not obvious from the outside what actually goes on within this imposing 55-year-old structure designed by the late I.M. Pei ’40.</p> <p>People on campus tours often hear about the annual pumpkin drop, or about instances when students have commandeered the Green Building’s LED-equipped windows to play giant games of Tetris. But not everyone learns about the groundbreaking work carried out inside — such as the development of chaos theory, seismic tomography, numerical weather prediction, climate modeling, and far-reaching NASA missions.</p> <p>This is the headquarters of MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS), and plans are now underway to give Building 54 a major facelift, including a new LEED-certified addition that will offer a window into the important work taking place inside.</p> <p>The $60 million upgrade will allow construction of an Earth and Environment Pavilion designed to be a vital center for environmental and climate research on MIT’s campus. With assistance from the Institute and generous private donors — including John H. Carlson; George Elbaum ’59, SM ’63, PhD ’67; Fred A. Middleton Jr. ’71; Neil Pappalardo ’64; and Shell — EAPS recently passed the midway point on its $30 million fundraising campaign for the new pavilion and other improvements to the Green Building, such as a renovated lecture hall (54-100) to be renamed the Shell Auditorium.</p> <p>The project will yield about 12,000 square feet of additional space, providing new meeting places, classrooms, and study areas. The enlarged and revamped Green Building is expected to help EAPS attract and retain top faculty and students. But the more ambitious objective is to enhance the research undertaken within the department by co-locating EAPS and the MIT-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program with the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative, affording greater opportunities for interaction and the cross-pollination of ideas.</p> <p><em>This article originally appeared in <a href="https://spectrum.mit.edu/summer-2019/a-major-expansion-for-the-green-building/" target="_blank">MIT Spectrum</a>. </em></p> An artist’s rendering depicts the Green Building (Building 54), home to the MIT Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, with the planned Earth and Environment Pavilion.Image: EllenzweigEAPS, Woods Hole, Campus buildings and architecture, Design, Earth and atmospheric sciences, Space, astronomy and planetary science, School of Science, Alumni/ae, ESI, Giving With new Proto Ventures Program, MIT Innovation Initiative turns ideas into impact http://news.mit.edu/2019/proto-ventures-program-innovation-initiative-0403 MITii will hire experts to pursue new business opportunities by matching MIT expertise and innovation with real-world problems. Tue, 02 Apr 2019 23:59:59 -0400 Zach Winn | MIT News Office http://news.mit.edu/2019/proto-ventures-program-innovation-initiative-0403 <p>Since its launch in 2013, the MIT Innovation Initiative has been the driving force behind several projects designed to support MIT’s entrepreneurial community — but the new Proto Ventures Program may be its most ambitious effort yet.</p> <p>By bringing in domain experts to explore transformational technologies and pursue business opportunities with the campus community, the program gives MIT a new way to generate impactful companies that the Initiative’s leaders say is unlike anything else in higher education.</p> <p>“Turning ideas into impact is a really big part of MIT, so enabling our community to do that more effectively has always been the core of the Innovation Initiative,” says Fiona Murray, co-director of the initiative and the William Porter Professor of Entrepreneurship.</p> <p>The initiative, also known as MITii, launched the Proto Ventures Program to help fulfill its goals in the four core areas of education, translating ideas to impact, communication, and diversity.</p> <p>“We try to be the tide that raises all ships of innovation at MIT, whether it be helping existing programs with resources or creating new programs where there are gaps,” MITii Executive Director Gene Keselman says.</p> <p><strong>A bold new step</strong></p> <p>The experts that will be hired for the Proto Ventures Program, referred to as venture builders, will match real-world problems with MIT’s unique landscape of innovation to build a “proto venture” within the Institute.</p> <p>MITii’s leaders believe the venture builders’ freedom to explore the spectrum of needs in a given field and their ability to work with experts across MIT’s community will give them a clear perspective of business opportunities and allow them to harness MIT’s full breadth of brainpower, including faculty members, postdocs, and students at every level that are interested in helping out.</p> <p>“Normally, students or faculty have an idea for a business and they pitch that idea, then there’s a panel that decides on the ones they’ll bet on,” says MITii co-director Michael Cima, who is also the David H. Koch Professor of Engineering. “That’s a tried-and-true method for doing things. But there’s a whole other way, and that’s to start with a blank sheet and a problem area and ask, ‘What are the business opportunities?’”</p> <p>The hope is that the program will allow MIT’s research community to consider commercial translation while also ensuring promising research fulfills its potential for impact.</p> <p>“In many cases, the degree to which real-world problems match these research solutions depends on having a human agent in the system: The graduate student at the right time in their career or the faculty member knowing someone who can be the entrepreneur,” says Murray. “So the venture builder is a new kind of human agent who can have a broad understanding of a particular problem domain, and rather than being confined to a singular solution, they can explore the solution space and start to coalesce possible proto ventures in those areas.”</p> <p>Cima says the program’s success will be measured not only by the number of companies it creates but also by the number of community members it engages around campus.</p> <p>MITii has begun accepting <a href="https://innovation.mit.edu/opportunity/venture-builder-for-health-care-and-artificial-intelligence/">applications</a> for its first venture builder, who will work at the intersection of artificial intelligence and health care. This channel is a collaboration between the newly launched <a href="https://jclinic.mit.edu/">J-Clinic</a> research program and the <a href="https://deshpande.mit.edu/">Deshpande Center</a> at MIT. MITii will use the first venture builder channel as a pilot before expanding to other fields.</p> <p><strong>Tackling the right problems</strong></p> <p>Another major MITii priority is to ensure that MIT’s community of innovators and entrepreneurs is as inclusive as possible. Murray notes that while MIT has much to celebrate with its diverse community, there is still room to increase the number of women engaged in on-campus entrepreneurship activities, to experiment with what works to drive participation, and to build programs that can serve as best practice for universities around the world.</p> <p>“Obviously there are women interested in translation [of research and technology to the private industry],” Cima says. “So what are the things preventing them from taking the next step? You could argue there’s no better place in the world to study that phenomenon than MIT, because you have many women who are very interested in entrepreneurship — so if you do some intervention, you could easily measure its effects. By the end of the fiscal year, we’ll have made progress there.”</p> <p>MITii is also working to strengthen the Institute’s relationship with mission-oriented organizations that focus on major global challenges ranging from security and defense to child trafficking and climate change. Those efforts have also extended to include a new corporate partners program and a slew of new hackathons this year, including Hacking Emergency Response, Hacking for Freedom, and Tech for Truth.</p> <p><strong>“</strong>If our faculty and students are alone generating ideas, they’ll often focus on problems close to home, so [it’s] been powerful giving them an appetite to solve bigger, global problems,” Murray says. “One of the things we’re trying to do is create a channel to promote understanding of those problems on campus … especially mission-oriented problems.”</p> <p><strong>A track record of success</strong></p> <p>When Reif named Murray as one of MITii’s first co-directors with Professor Vladimir Bulovic, the first thing she worked on was establishing a new <a href="http://innovation.mit.edu/education-practice/eiminor/">academic minor</a> in entrepreneurship and innovation. Today, the program is designed to complement the interdisciplinary background of the students who enroll; faculty from the schools of engineering and management teach courses that blend hands-on, experiential projects with lectures and case studies. In its first full cycle ending in the 2017-2018 academic year, it was one of the top 10 minors awarded at MIT.</p> <p>MITii has also sought to better organize MIT’s myriad entrepreneurial resources for students, publishing an online guide that maps over 85 resources within the innovation ecosystem, and hosting the first Innovation World’s Fair last year during Campus Preview Weekend.</p> <p>Perhaps the most visible progress toward unifying MIT’s innovation resources has been the construction of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub at MIT. Located at the old MIT Press building in Kendall Square, the hub will soon be home to programs including MITii, MIT Sandbox, MIT I-Corps, the Venture Mentoring Service, the Legatum Center, and more. MITii has been responsible for determining the building’s tenants and figuring out how the various programs will work together.</p> <p>“We know innovation happens when you have these serendipitous collisions, when people who understand problems and people who understand solutions come together,” Murray says. “That’s a physical space, but also a representation of a community growing around these support mechanisms.”</p> <p>Notably, the MIT Admissions Office will also be in the building, making MIT’s innovation ecosystem part of the first impressions of thousands of new and prospective students each year.</p> <p>For Cima, the new efforts including the Proto Ventures Program are about taking risks to drive MIT forward.</p> <p>“We’re sticking our necks out a bit with this,” Cima says. “But MIT is not about incremental change.”</p> Leaders of the MIT Innovation Initiative say the new Proto Ventures Program will be unlike anything else in higher education.Image: Above Summit and Christopher HartingInnovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E), Startups, Innovation Initiative, Cambridge, Boston and region, Students, Admissions, Venture Mentoring Service, Campus buildings and architecture, President L. Rafael Reif, Sloan School of Management, Diversity and inclusion, Women, J-Clinic, Deshpande Center, School of Engineering First step on Volpe parcel planned for 2019 http://news.mit.edu/2019/john-volpe-transportations-systems-design-0205 Building and landscape designs for new federal building are now complete. Tue, 05 Feb 2019 19:30:00 -0500 MIT News Office http://news.mit.edu/2019/john-volpe-transportations-systems-design-0205 <p>Since the Cambridge City Council <a href="http://news.mit.edu/2017/cambridge-city-council-approves-mit-volpe-zoning-petition-1023">approved</a> MIT’s rezoning petition for the 14-acre U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Volpe site in October 2017, a team of architects and landscape planners has been working to imagine a new home for the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Kendall Square.</p> <p>As part of its January 2017 <a href="http://news.mit.edu/2017/agreement-redevelop-volpe-center-kendall-square-0118">agreement</a> with the federal government, MIT will build a new headquarters for the U.S. DOT Volpe Center on approximately four acres. The building site is located in the northwest corner of the parcel, next to Binney Street and Loughrey Walkway, which runs between Broadway and Binney Street. The new facility will consolidate operations that are currently carried out in six different buildings on the site.</p> <p>The federal government, working through the General Services Administration (GSA), and MIT engaged architectural firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill to design the new building, which is slated to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold level. The design includes robust sustainability and resiliency features, including solar panels on the roof that will supply at least 30 percent of the building’s hot water demand, and high-efficiency heating, ventilation, and cooling equipment. The team designed the building’s massing, glazing, and interior layouts to maximize daylight into the building, and designed fins on the exterior façades to minimize heating and cooling loads. In addition, the site will incorporate best practices in storm water management.</p> <p>Although the project is not subject to local review, the design of the new 212-foot-tall center was subject to the federal government’s rigorous review process as part of the <a href="https://www.gsa.gov/real-estate/design-construction/design-excellence-overview">GSA Design Excellence Program</a>. This process also considered design guidelines recommended by the City of Cambridge, included peer reviews, and ultimately was approved by the GSA’s regional chief architect and the chief architect of the U.S.</p> <p>MIT Managing Director of Real Estate Steve Marsh says: “This is a very complex project that is being executed on behalf of the United States government. The collaboration with the federal government has gone very well, and we are pleased with the outcome of the building and landscape design processes. I believe that the new U.S. DOT Volpe Center will be a welcome and vibrant addition to the broader Kendall Square community.”</p> <p>Inviting and engaging public spaces, including seating areas and walkways, will surround the federal headquarters. A primary goal of the public space is to bring the East Cambridge neighborhood and Kendall Square community together through a new north-south connection. The development of this currently inaccessible site, which comprises predominantly asphalt surface parking, will promote access to and from the residential neighborhood, the Charles River, the MBTA, and the many retail and restaurant offerings in Kendall Square.</p> <p>In order to achieve this sense of openness and connectivity, the GSA and MIT engaged&nbsp;artist Maya Lin, known for her large-scale, site-specific outdoor earthworks, in coordination with landscape architecture firm Reed Hilderbrand, to create an engaging and inviting public landscape. Central to the open space will be Lin’s landscape-integrated art piece —&nbsp;a physical and visual representation of the Doppler effect, manifested in undulating grassy mounds that depict sound waves.</p> <p>The incorporation of a Maya Lin art piece within the site is part of the Federal government’s&nbsp;<a href="https://url.emailprotection.link/?as4kpvuLYaXrLa6hjNbaaU_85vY2Y_rXZGvC3jhM0idjpz4hqj2l6zA2hqPL_xNcGpbOhqSlgvoGS1yfLtWrUTVzSYFUTcWuEqtL7vUD_qpDPfGUU0_wO1YJ7_mM1xDvLa5iPY8Di_MSE6-yimUeoZJyNe0I3SaHsx868NtXTsRk~" target="_blank">Art in Architecture</a>&nbsp;program which commissions artworks for new buildings nationwide.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Since the outset of the project, the GSA has been focused on constructing a headquarters that is inviting and reflects the context of the site’s surroundings. GSA Regional Commissioner of the Public Buildings Service&nbsp;Glenn Rotondo says: “We are committed to creating a public realm that is well-integrated within the community.”</p> <p>Once completed, the new U.S. DOT Volpe development will include primarily below-grade vehicular parking and ample bicycle parking. In addition, over 100 new diverse native-species trees will be installed using current best practices in planting, and an extensive landscaping program will be available for the public to enjoy. Even though the federal government is exempt from Cambridge’s local tree ordinance, the tree replacement plan is designed to materially exceed the current local requirements for large projects. To prepare the site for construction, 21 private trees will be removed that are within the building’s footprint or security perimeter. Twenty of those trees are Norway Maples, an invasive species that Massachusetts prohibits from being sold, planted, or propagated. In addition, two street trees will need to be relocated or replaced to accommodate a curb cut required by the project.</p> <p>Enabling utility work on the Federal site is ongoing, and construction of the garage and building is expected to start later this year and take approximately three years. Once the new John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center is up and running, the Institute will be able to commence redevelopment of the remaining 10 acres of the original U.S. DOT Volpe parcel. MIT’s proposal for that portion of the site, which was presented to the community during the rezoning process, features housing (including 280 affordable units), commercial and lab space, retail, open space, a community center, and a job connector.</p> <p>MIT is currently advancing other commitments that were codified as part of the Volpe rezoning agreement. The Institute has already provided $500,000 toward the design of the Grand Junction multiuse community path, which will be followed by an additional $8 million contribution for continuing design and construction. MIT staff are currently working closely with the city and other stakeholders to implement this critical infrastructure project. In addition, the Institute is in the process of identifying a site for a new 500-bed graduate student residence hall — a commitment made to the City of Cambridge through the Volpe zoning process.</p> <p>The U.S. DOT Volpe building and landscape design is being shared with the Cambridge Planning Board tonight at the board’s annual Town Gown public meeting.</p> A view of the new U.S. DOT Volpe building as seen from Binney Street looking west.Image courtesy of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP (SOM)Kendall Square, Real estate, Campus buildings and architecture, Cambridge, Boston and region, Community, Administration, Innovation and Entrpreneurship (I&E), Startups, Arts, Architecture Hayden Library to undergo renovation in 2020 http://news.mit.edu/2019/hayden-library-to-undergo-renovation-0129 Redesigned spaces will focus on fostering community and accommodating diverse study, learning, and research styles. Tue, 29 Jan 2019 12:20:01 -0500 Brigham Fay | MIT Libraries http://news.mit.edu/2019/hayden-library-to-undergo-renovation-0129 <p>The MIT Libraries has announced plans to partially renovate Hayden Library next year, with a goal of beginning construction in January 2020 and reopening a renovated Hayden in the fall term of 2020. MIT Campus Planning has engaged Kennedy Violich Architects (KVA) to work with the Institute to plan for the next version of Hayden, and the project is now entering the design phase. The library will close at the end of the 2019 fall term to prepare for construction and is planning to reopen in fall 2020.</p> <p>The project developed from recommendations of the <a href="http://future-of-libraries.mit.edu/" target="_blank">MIT Task Force on the Future of Libraries</a>, released in 2016, which stressed the importance of “welcoming and inclusive spaces for discovery and scholarship,” as well as the need to address building renewal needs and code updates.</p> <p>“The Task Force challenged us to create spaces that reflect the library of the future: participatory, creative, dynamic, with research at the center” says Chris Bourg, director of the MIT Libraries. “We envision the new Hayden Library as a destination on campus, a place that is open, welcoming, and that invites community members to make connections between ideas, collections, and each other.”</p> <p>This renovation will include the first and second floors of Hayden Library and their mezzanine levels. Design goals include creating both vibrant, interactive spaces as well as quiet zones, with specific improvements including:</p> <ul> <li>significant expansion of 24/7 study space;</li> <li>a café;</li> <li>greater variety of study spaces — for both individual and group work, with both quiet and conversation zones and varied seating styles; and</li> <li>flexible teaching and event space.</li> </ul> <p>“We’ve gathered input from the MIT community over the last several years about what they want from library spaces,” says Tracy Gabridge, deputy director of MIT Libraries. “This project aims to meet those diverse needs — from a place to grab coffee and run into friends to a spot to work together with others, all while having space for quiet study and reflection — as well as pursue the bold vision from the task force.”</p> <p>The MIT Libraries staff and the Office of Campus Planning have recently completed pre-design activities with KVA in anticipation of project approval. This work has drawn on library user survey data, input from the <a href="http://facultygovernance.mit.edu/committee/committee-library-system" target="_blank">Committee on the Library System</a>, and the work of the MIT <a href="http://libraries.mit.edu/news/libraries-announce-space/23904/" target="_blank">Library Space Planning Group</a> convened in 2017.</p> <p>The Libraries and KVA are planning additional opportunities to seek input from across the MIT community to inform the design and construction phases, and a project launch event is planned for February. Please visit the <a href="http://libraries.mit.edu/future-spaces/" target="_blank">project webpage</a> for more information and to sign up for email updates.</p> Hayden Library will undergo a partial renovation in 2020.Photo: L. Barry HetheringtonLibraries, Campus buildings and architecture, Facilities, Community Building site identified for MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing http://news.mit.edu/2018/site-stephen-schwarzman-college-computing-1219 Headquarters would replace Building 44, forming an “entrance to computing” near the intersection of Vassar and Main streets. Wed, 19 Dec 2018 10:00:03 -0500 Rob Matheson | MIT News Office http://news.mit.edu/2018/site-stephen-schwarzman-college-computing-1219 <p>MIT has identified a preferred location for the new MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing headquarters: the current site of Building 44. The new building, which will require permitting and approvals from the City of Cambridge, will sit in a centralized location that promises to unite the many MIT departments, centers, and labs that integrate computing into their work.</p> <p>In October, MIT <a href="http://news.mit.edu/2018/mit-reshapes-itself-stephen-schwarzman-college-of-computing-1015">announced</a> a $1 billion commitment to address the global opportunities and challenges presented by the prevalence of computing and the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) — the single largest investment in computing and AI by a U.S. academic institution. At the heart of the initiative is the new college, made possible by a $350 million foundational gift from Mr. Schwarzman, the chairman, CEO and co-founder of Blackstone, a global asset management and financial services firm.</p> <p>The college aims to: connect advances in computer science and machine learning with advances in MIT’s other academic disciplines; create 50 new faculty positions within the college and jointly with existing academic departments; give MIT’s five schools a shared structure for collaborative education, research, and innovation in computing and artificial intelligence; educate all students to responsibly use and develop computing technologies to address pressing societal and global resource challenges; and focus on public policy and ethical considerations relevant to computing, when applied to human-machine interfaces, autonomous operations, and data analytics.</p> <p>With those goals in mind, MIT aims to construct a building, large enough to house 50 faculty groups, to replace Building 44, which sits in the center of the Vassar Street block between Main Street and Massachusetts Avenue. Those currently working in Building 44 will be relocated to other buildings on campus.</p> <p>Scheduled for completion in late 2022, the new building will serve as an interdisciplinary hub for research and innovation in computer science, AI, data science, and related fields that deal with computing advances, including how new computing methods can both address and pose societal challenges. It will stand in close proximity to a cluster of computing- and AI-focused departments, centers, and labs located directly across the street and running up to the intersection of Vassar and Main Streets. All other buildings on campus are about a six-minute walk away.</p> <p>“You can think of this intersection of Vassar and Main as the ‘entrance to computing,’” says Associate Provost Krystyn Van Vliet, who is responsible for Institute space planning, assignment, and renovation under the direction of the Building Committee, which is chaired by MIT Provost Marty Schmidt and Executive Vice President and Treasurer Israel Ruiz. Van Vliet also oversees&nbsp;MIT’s industrial engagement efforts, including MIT’s Office of Corporate Relations and the Technology Licensing Office.</p> <p>“The building is intended as a convening space for everyone working to create and shape computing — not just computer scientists, but people who have expertise in the humanities and arts, or science, or architecture and urban planning, or business, or engineering,” Schmidt adds.</p> <p>Everyone currently located in Building 44 will be moved to their new campus locations by late summer of 2019. Demolition is scheduled to begin in the fall.</p> <p>While a final design is still months away, a key planned feature for the building will be “convening spaces,” which will include areas set for interdisciplinary seminars and conferences, and potentially an “open office” concept that promotes mixing and mingling. “You can imagine a graduate student from the humanities and a postdoc from EECS working on a project together,” says Dean of the School of Engineering Anantha P. Chandrakasan, the Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “Such a building can serve as a place for broad community collaboration and research.”</p> <p>The centralized location is key to the college’s interdisciplinary mission. Building 44 sits directly across the street from Building 38, which houses the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; the Stata Center, which the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) calls home; and the Research Laboratory of Electronics in Building 36.</p> <p>Down the road, on the corner of Main Street, stands the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, both of which incorporate computer science and AI into cancer and medical research. Buildings behind the headquarters on Main Street, in the area known as “Technology Square,” contain many biological engineering, nanotechnology, and biophysics labs.</p> <p>The new building will also neighbor — and possibly connect to —&nbsp;Building 46, which houses the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research. “When you think about the work of connecting human intelligence and machine intelligence through computing — which can be physically connected to a building where people are working on understanding human intelligence and cognition — that’s exciting,” Van Vliet says.</p> <p>The building could thus help “activate” Vassar Street, she adds, because buildings along the street are somewhat visually closed off to the public. The new building, she says, could include windows with displays that visually highlight the research conducted behind the walls, like peering into the labs along the MIT halls.</p> <p>“Right now, when you walk down Vassar Street, people don’t know what’s happening inside most of these buildings,” she says. “By activation, we mean there’s more community interaction and pedestrian traffic, and more visible displays that draw the public into campus and make them aware of what’s going on at MIT. It will help us show the breadth of MIT’s activities all the way down Vassar Street, for both the growing MIT community and our neighbors.”</p> <p>A series of launch events for the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing is planned for late February 2019. The search for the college’s dean is ongoing.</p> Image: Google Earth edited by MIT NewsMIT Schwarzman College of Computing, Facilities, Cambridge, Boston and region, Community, Design, Campus buildings and architecture, Computer science and technology, Machine learning, Artificial intelligence, Administration, Faculty, Staff, Technology and society, Ethics, Quest for Intelligence, School of Engineering, School of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences, School of Science, School of Architecture and Planning, Sloan School of Management Met Warehouse renovation planning takes an exciting next step http://news.mit.edu/2018/mit-met-warehouse-renovation-planning-takes-exciting-next-step-1214 Community-driven selection of project architect opens opportunities to imagine new life for historic building as future home for School of Architecture and Planning. Fri, 14 Dec 2018 14:30:01 -0500 School of Architecture and Planning http://news.mit.edu/2018/mit-met-warehouse-renovation-planning-takes-exciting-next-step-1214 <p>MIT’s campus is like a living organism, as changing programmatic needs and new opportunities make for a vibrantly evolving landscape.</p> <p>One exciting new feature of this condition is the adaptive reuse of the Metropolitan Storage Warehouse at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Vassar Street. The massive brick structure was built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is of high historic significance for its architecture and its association with the history and development of the City of Cambridge.</p> <p>Plans are now under way to renovate this building to serve as a new home for the MIT School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) and a campus-wide makerspace run by Project Manus. And, after an in-depth community-driven search and selection process, an architect has now been selected to lead the project.</p> <p><strong>The next chapter of SA+P history</strong></p> <p>The reenvisioned structure will create a hub for design research and education, allowing the school to expand its range of activities and offering benefits to the Institute community. The ground floor will be dedicated to the campus’s largest makerspace open to all of MIT, overseen by Project Manus, and an auditorium, galleries, and convening spaces.</p> <p>The proposed renovations would preserve the structure’s distinctive external features and create 200,000 square feet of state-of-the-art interior spaces including classrooms, studios, workshops, galleries, and an auditorium.&nbsp;</p> <p>The innovative project has garnered early financial support from SA+P alumni and others with an interest in the next chapter in the history of MIT and the school, which this year is celebrating 150 years of architecture education at MIT. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>“The project will be a confluence of concepts related to adaptive renewal, environmental responsiveness as exemplary of approaches to climate change, and progressive ideas about the architecture of design pedagogy and research,” says Andrew Scott, interim head of the Department of Architecture.</p> <p>Professor Marty Culpepper, MIT Maker Czar and director of Project Manus, likens his vision for the Met makerspace to a campus library or gymnasium: “The goal of the Met makerspace will be to create an open-access gathering place for MIT's innovators and makers, where students, faculty, and staff of all departmental and school affiliations can meet and do what MIT community members do best — create.”</p> <p><strong>Architect selection: A community process</strong></p> <p>Over the past year, MIT’s Office of Campus Planning (OCP) initiated and managed the architect selection process for the project. As part of this process, an initially long list of community-proposed candidates was narrowed down through the work of an advisory group made up of department heads and representatives from all of the departments, labs, and centers in SA+P as well as representatives from Project Manus and OCP.&nbsp;</p> <p>The selection criteria included proven experience in adaptive reuse and with historic buildings, expertise in sustainable design, US and educational facilities experience, and meaningful community engagement.&nbsp;Given the historic nature of the building, MIT has been consulting with the Cambridge Historical Commission on the proposed renewal and will continue to consult with its staff and other city colleagues throughout the project.</p> <p>“The Met not only offers new ways to redefine our disciplines through the design of the building itself,” says Eran Ben-Joseph, head of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, “but also how to reimagine the way we reach, engage, and integrate with our surrounding communities of Cambridge, Boston and beyond.”</p> <p>In late October, OCP organized a two-day, on-campus visit to cap the architect selection process. Four finalists arrived at MIT to give presentations, including small-group colloquia led by Department of Urban Studies and Planning Associate Professor Brent Ryan and community lectures on the firms’ past work and qualifications to take on the complex Met project.</p> <p>The selection process was unusual for the extent of participation by SA+P students, faculty, staff, and others at the Institute, along with city staff. Feedback on the finalists’ presentations was collected and presented with other documentation to MIT President L. Rafael Reif.</p> <p>The architecture firm of <a href="https://dsrny.com/" target="_blank">Diller Scofidio + Renfro</a> (DS+R) has been tapped to lead the redesign. Founded in 1981, DS+R is a design studio whose practice spans the fields of architecture, urban design, installation art, multimedia performance, digital media, and print. With a focus on cultural and civic projects, DS+R’s work addresses the changing role of institutions and the future of cities.&nbsp;The studio is based in New York and is comprised of over 100 architects, designers, artists, and researchers, led by four partners — Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, Charles Renfro, and Benjamin Gilmartin.</p> <p>Among DS+R’s many recognized projects are the High Line in New York City and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.&nbsp;</p> <p>“A project of this scale and complexity, which demands a design sensibility informed by both art and technology — along with a deep understanding of architecture education as well as the role of public space — is made for a firm like DS+R,” says Hashim Sarkis, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning.</p> <p>DS+R will work with local partner <a href="https://www.lwa-architects.com/">Leers Weinzapfel Associates</a>, an architecture and urban design firm that has won many national design awards and brings added expertise in sustainability and historic building renovation.</p> <p>The next phase of the project is a discovery and visioning process involving SA+P, Project Manus, the architect team, OCP, Facilities Campus Construction, and a number of technical advisors from the departments of Facilities, Environment, Health and Safety, and IS&amp;T, with expertise in engineering, utilities, energy efficiency, and sustainability. The work during this phase will lay the foundation for the next step: conceptual design work for the project.</p> The Metropolitan Storage Warehouse is the future home of the School of Architecture and Planning, as well as a campus-wide makerspace run by Project Manus.Photo: Bryce VickmarkCampus buildings and architecture, Education, teaching, academics, Cambridge, Boston and region, Community, Facilities, Arts, Design, maker movement, School of Architecture and Planning Gift from Carmen ’78 and John ’77 Thain supports Met Warehouse renovation project http://news.mit.edu/2018/carmen-john-thain-support-met-warehouse-renovation-project-1129 MIT Corporation members boost plan to relocate School of Architecture and Planning into historic building. Thu, 29 Nov 2018 17:20:01 -0500 MIT Resource Development http://news.mit.edu/2018/carmen-john-thain-support-met-warehouse-renovation-project-1129 <p>The proposed renovation of the Metropolitan Storage Warehouse as a new location for the MIT School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) is one step closer to becoming a reality thanks to a significant gift from Carmen ’78 and John ’77 Thain, both members of the MIT Corporation.&nbsp;</p> <p>The project, announced by the Institute in June, would create a new hub for interdisciplinary education and research in art, design, and urbanism at MIT with ties to dozens of other departments and centers across the Institute. Relocating SA+P to the Metropolitan Storage Warehouse, centrally located on campus, could expand MIT’s classroom and design studio space, increase exhibition capacity, create a new center for the arts, incorporate areas for collaboration-based work, and open new spaces for public use. The possible move would also bring SA+P into closer proximity with the residential population of MIT’s campus. A new makerspace in the renovated building, with expanded design and fabrication facilities, would be available to the entire MIT community.&nbsp;</p> <p>“We are happy to support the effort to reimagine the historic Metropolitan Storage Warehouse for SA+P,” says Carmen, who earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture at the Institute. “This is an exciting opportunity for MIT to create new spaces that serve the needs of today’s students and educators while preserving a historic building of distinctive character at the heart of campus.” Adds John: “This renovation has the potential to benefit SA+P — and indeed the whole of MIT — in many ways, from adding modernized facilities to consolidating MIT’s strengths in cross-disciplinary design research and education to connecting communities across the Institute. Carmen and I are proud to be a part of this important project.”</p> <p>The Thains have a long history of support for the Institute. Carmen is a term member of the MIT Corporation and serves on the Corporation Visiting Committee for Architecture. She is a co-chair of the MIT Campaign for a Better World and a member of the MIT Campaign Leadership Council. John, a former chairman and CEO of the CIT Group, is a life member of the MIT Corporation and serves on the Corporation Executive Committee. He is chair of the Corporation Visiting Committee for the MIT Sloan School of Management and is on the MIT Sloan Americas Executive Board. He is also on the Corporation Visiting Committee for the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The couple have also hosted events during the MIT Campaign for a Better World. They are long-term supporters of the MIT Sloan Annual Fund and various core needs across campus.</p> <p>“For many years, John and Carmen's foresight, wisdom, and generosity have contributed greatly to the life of the Institute,” says MIT President L. Rafael Reif. “Their support for the proposed conversion of the Metropolitan Storage Warehouse into a new design hub will help to transform a building whose purpose was to shield its contents from the outside into a vibrant, open community brimming with new ideas and inspirations and eager to share them with the world. We are deeply grateful to the Thains for their commitment to advancing MIT's mission.”</p> <p>SA+P is consistently ranked as one of the world’s top schools of architecture, planning, and design.&nbsp;It is a place of many “firsts”: the&nbsp;first department of architecture in the&nbsp;United States — which this year is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its first graduating class — and the oldest continuously running department of urban studies and planning. SA+P was also the first academic center for real estate to offer a professional degree and the first school to graduate an African-American architect (Robert Robinson Taylor in 1892).&nbsp;</p> <p>“For more than a century, SA+P has been turning out some of the most influential figures in architecture and design. Today, our students, faculty, and alumni are the leading voices in their fields, offering inspiring new visions for the built environment, a livable planet, and the innovation economy,” says Hashim Sarkis, dean of SA+P. “With the extraordinary support of the Thains, the Metropolitan Warehouse renovation project is poised to add fresh energy to this impactful work, generating opportunities for design research and education and creating a new gateway for MIT.”&nbsp;</p> Located at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Vassar Street, the Metropolitan Warehouse opened in 1895 as a storage facility and was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1986. Photo: Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT NewsCampus buildings and architecture, Giving, Alumni/ae, Architecture, Urban studies and planning, School of Architecture and Planning MIT continues progress toward greenhouse gas reductions http://news.mit.edu/2018/mit-greenhouse-gas-reductions-progress-1128 New generating plant, building retrofits, and progress in metering energy use represent ongoing gains. Tue, 27 Nov 2018 23:59:59 -0500 David L. Chandler | MIT News Office http://news.mit.edu/2018/mit-greenhouse-gas-reductions-progress-1128 <p>Despite a challenging year marked by a colder-than-usual winter and the construction of major new campus buildings, MIT has continued its progress toward its declared goal of reducing campus greenhouse gas emissions by 32 percent by the year 2030, as outlined in 2015 in the Institute’s <a href="https://climate.mit.edu/users/mit-climate-action">Plan for Action on Climate Change</a>.</p> <p>Emissions from the campus itself actually increased slightly in fiscal year 2018 compared to the previous year, because of the weather and growth in campus energy demand, after having declined for each of the previous three years. But when the emissions reductions resulting from MIT’s <a href="http://news.mit.edu/2016/mit-neutralize-17-percent-carbon-emissions-through-purchase-solar-energy-1019">power purchase agreement</a> with a solar farm in North Carolina are taken into account, the Institute actually achieved yet another decline in net greenhouse gas emissions. The total reductions in net emissions since the plan began now have reached 20 percent — more than halfway toward the target of the 15-year plan, after just three years — according to the MIT Sustainability Office’s annual <a href="https://sustainability.mit.edu/ghginventory#!2018%20ghg%20inventory">Climate Action Plan Update</a>, which was released this week.</p> <p>In addition, there has been steady progress in longer-term projects that should lead to even greater reductions over the coming years. For one, a new central utility plant began construction a year ago and is expected to be completed late next year and fully operational in spring of 2020. The 44-megawatt plant will provide all of the electricity, heating, and cooling needs of the main MIT campus, using natural gas — the cleanest of fossil fuels — and eliminate altogether the use of No. 6 fuel oil, a relatively high-emission fuel that was used occasionally in the existing campus cogeneration plant (although that usage has mostly stopped). That plant will shut down as soon as the new one is in operation.</p> <p>Completion of the plant will lead to an estimated 10 percent cut in overall campus emissions, says Ken Packard, director of utilities. That will be enough to counterbalance the expected 10 percent growth that will come from the addition of several major new campus buildings, including the just-opened MIT.nano, the Kendall Square redevelopment project, and a new student residence on Vassar Street.</p> <p>Other ongoing work includes installing meters for steam and electricity in many of the older campus buildings that don’t currently have a way of measuring building-level energy use. This improved metering, along with other measures, should lead to steady improvements in building operations to enhance energy efficiency, including allowing for the use of machine-learning systems to control building energy use and to optimize the systems.</p> <p>Just 20 out of the 145 buildings on campus account for approximately half of all campus energy usage, explains Carlo Fanone, director of facilities engineering. These are mostly lab buildings whose energy-use intensity is much greater than office, classroom, or dorm buildings, he says. So, much focus is on improving the efficiency of those buildings. “If we can save 10 percent at each of the 20 buildings, that’s a 5 percent improvement across the entire campus,” he says.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the Summit Farms solar installation in North Carolina, whose construction was made possible through a power purchase agreement arranged by MIT in collaboration with two other organizations, came fully online this past year, providing a 71 percent increase in offset emissions compared to the previous year. Overall, the facility produced more than 88,700 megawatt-hours of emissions-free electricity for MIT in fiscal 2018, thus offsetting more than 33,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The results also highlight the resilience of the solar farm, which survived the onslaught of hurricanes Florence and Michael unscathed, even though some conventional power plants were seriously damaged by the storm.</p> <p>In fact, the impact of that power purchase agreement is far greater than those numbers suggest, explains Joe Higgins, director of infrastructure operations in the Department of Facilities. First, the standard way of calculating offset emissions uses the local grid in Massachusetts rather than the one in North Carolina as a point of reference — even though the emissions that are actually being displaced are those of the much more coal-dependent southern grid. An alternative approach that calculates the actual mix of generating facilities in use in that region, hour by hour, shows that the real effect of the plant in offsetting greenhouse gas emissions is two to three times greater than that calculated by the standard methodology. MIT is working with several other institutions to explore developing a new approach for measuring such offset emissions.</p> <p>If measured according to this newer approach, looking at the emissions that were actually avoided would mean that MIT’s target of a 32 percent emissions reduction (which is considered a minimum) would already have been reached, Higgins says. And, more importantly, having the right metrics will enable institutions like MIT to gauge which projects are having the greatest impact on reducing emissions.</p> <p>The power purchase agreement has also had another major impact, he says: The way the project was developed — by combining the power needs of different organizations into one package to allow for a larger project than any one organization could take on alone — has inspired other universities, companies, and cities to initiate or investigate similar collaborative purchase agreements, leading to still more large-scale projects. At the same time, MIT continues to explore the possibility of collaborating on similar large power-purchase agreements, possibly involving other local institutions and city governments. An additional benefit of the solar power facility is that it enabled the early retirement of a regional coal-fired power plant as the solar plant assumed some of the retiring plant’s power capacity obligations.</p> <p>Meanwhile, energy efficiency measures are being constantly retrofitted to older campus buildings, including new double-pane windows in the main group buildings, better insulation in walls, and more efficient lighting. “We are implementing energy efficiency measures all the time,” says Steve Lanou, project manager in the Office of Sustainability.</p> <p>All of the new buildings being erected around campus will be designed to at least meet the latest U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification for energy efficiency, and in some cases are expected to go beyond those standards.</p> <p>As they did last year, Office of Sustainability Director Julie Newman and professor of mechanical engineering Timothy Gutowski will teach 11.S938 / 2.S999 (Solving for Carbon Neutrality at MIT) in the spring semester. Teams of students are challenged to develop a rigorous plan for carbon neutrality using the MIT campus as their case example for considering a range of solutions, including energy efficiency in old buildings, emerging high-performance design strategies, and off-site large scale renewable energy production models. The course, Newman says, “gives students a real opportunity to be exposed to and grapple with and come up with solutions for this complex challenge of how to solve for neutrality, considering both local and global emissions.” Last year’s version of the class resulted in four peer-reviewed research papers and some innovations that are being explored for possible future adoption on campus.</p> <p>“We’re working hard to integrate energy efficiency technology into an old campus in the midst of renewal,” Newman says. “But we concurrently grapple with growth and advancing the mission of MIT. We’re always going to ensure that we’re going with the best system to accomplish our mission — while also attempting to be a leader.”</p> An aerial shot of MIT’s campus.Image: AboveSummit with Christopher HartingFacilities, Climate change, Sustainability, Environment, Alternative energy, Energy, Campus buildings and architecture, Emissions, Greenhouse gases Arts benefactor makes lead gift for new MIT music building http://news.mit.edu/2018/joyce-linde-gift-music-building-1126 Commitment signals transformative moment for the Institute’s music programming. Sun, 25 Nov 2018 23:59:59 -0500 MIT News Office http://news.mit.edu/2018/joyce-linde-gift-music-building-1126 <p>Joyce Linde, a longtime supporter of MIT and the arts, has made a cornerstone gift to build a new state-of-the-art music facility at the Institute.</p> <p><br /> “Our campus hums with MIT people making music, from formal lessons, recitals, and performances, to the beautiful surprise of stumbling on an impromptu rehearsal in the Main Lobby after hours,” says L. Rafael Reif, president of MIT. “Now, through a wonderful act of vision and generosity, Joyce Linde has given us the power to create a central home for faculty and students who make and study music at MIT — a first-class venue worthy of their incredible talent and aspirations. As a champion of the arts, Joyce knows the incomparable power of music to inspire, provoke, challenge, delight, console, and unify. I have no doubt the new building she has made possible will amplify the positive power of music in the life of MIT.”</p> <p>The new facility will be designed to meet the current and future needs of MIT’s <a href="https://mta.mit.edu/music">music program</a> and will house a new performance space. It will be constructed adjacent to Kresge Auditorium, which has served for decades as the primary performance facility for MIT Music and Theater Arts productions and for student arts organizations. With space for performance, practice, and instruction, the new building will further the Institute’s commitment&nbsp;to&nbsp;music&nbsp;education that ranges from conservatory-level training to classes that welcome complete novices.&nbsp;It also will consolidate many of the music program’s activities into one location and incorporate critical aspects of acoustical design for optimal listening, playing, and recording.</p> <p>The building’s centerpiece, a purpose-built performance lab, will provide a uniquely flexible, large-scale space for experimenting with various formats, including the ability to stage unconventional music events and employ flexible seating. In addition, the performance lab and a recording studio will offer professional-level recording facilities, a new resource for the MIT campus.<br /> <br /> Other spaces that support the performance program include dedicated rehearsal rooms and additional student practice rooms. A music technology suite will include a classroom, research lab, and two student production labs. The building also will provide a rehearsal space for the world music program’s Balinese orchestra,&nbsp;<a href="http://mta.mit.edu/music/performance/balinese-gamelan">Gamelan Galak Tika</a>,&nbsp;and for its&nbsp;Senegalese drumming ensemble,&nbsp;<a href="https://mta.mit.edu/music/performance/rambax-mit">Rambax</a>.</p> <p>The building’s central location on campus reflects the core place that music studies and performance have in the lives of MIT students, explains <a href="https://mta.mit.edu/person/keeril-makan">Keeril Makan</a>, the Michael and Sonja Koerner Music Composition Professor and section head of MIT Music and Theater Arts. “For the majority of MIT students, the Institute’s combination of a world-class science, engineering, and humanities education with superb music training is one key to their creativity, success, and well-being,” Makan says.</p> <p>“One fear I had about attending a tech school was that I would feel very out of place as a performing artist,” says Joy Fan ’20, a violinist who is majoring in computer science and molecular biology. “But thanks to the MIT music program and faculty, I am now actually more engaged with music: thinking about it in new ways, asking questions and analyzing works in an almost scientific manner — and experiencing music on a deeper level than ever before.”</p> <p><br /> In a typical year, more than 1,500 students are enrolled in MIT music courses, and music is among the most popular of the Institute’s 42 minors. After graduation, thousands of MIT alumni, across all fields, continue to perform and treasure music throughout their lives.</p> <p>“MIT has such talent on campus, and it is thrilling to help create a space that allows students and the community the opportunity to excel in music and the arts as well as science and technology,” says Linde. “It has been a pleasure to be part of President Reif’s vision to create an innovative learning space centered on music for students who are our future leaders.”</p> <p>Linde, along with her late husband, Edward H. Linde ’62, is a noted patron of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood Learning Institute, and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The couple previously endowed the Edward H. Linde Career Development Chair in MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning and, with their family foundation, contributed $25 million for undergraduate financial aid at the Institute.</p> <p>“Ed and I saw the power the arts can play in transforming young people’s lives,” she explains. “We witnessed the joy that music brings, and also the power of the creativity that it fosters.”</p> <p>“The new music building will be the most advanced teaching and performing space that the Institute has ever constructed, yet Joyce Linde is helping MIT to create much more than a building,” says <a href="https://shass.mit.edu/about/Dean/Nobles">Melissa Nobles</a>, the Kenan Sahin Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. “Through her generosity, we will have a center that facilitates the study, performance, and appreciation of music — and serves MIT faculty and students, as well as youth and other members of the Greater Boston community.”</p> <p>MIT’s academic programs in music span performance, composition, history, culture, and theory. Courses explore connections between music and technology, science, society, linguistics, and other humanities disciplines. Beyond the classroom, more than 500 musicians participate in Music and Theater Arts’ ensembles, chamber groups, or advanced music pro­grams on campus in any given semester.</p> <p>“The new Theater Arts building, W97, opened just over a year ago,” reflects Makan. “It has been astounding to see how a dedicated facility for theater-making has rapidly transformed that discipline on campus, opening up new areas of expertise and discovery. Just so, MIT’s new music building will be an active laboratory for what our music faculty have called the ‘synergies that arise from the confluence of great technical minds and extraordinary musical talent.’ The building will be a true place of ‘mind and hand,’ where our students and faculty can experiment at the frontiers of music and share their discoveries with our community and the larger world.” &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> A cornerstone gift will help build a new state-of-the-art music facility at MIT.Images: courtesy of the MIT Music DepartmentArts, Music, Music technology, School of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences, Campus buildings and architecture, Giving, Alumni/ae A ground-breaking mash-up http://news.mit.edu/2018/mit-hubweek-kendall-square-1023 A new building at 314 Main Street for the MIT Museum, Boeing, and others brings Cambridge and MIT together for memorable HUBweek celebration. Tue, 23 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0400 MIT News Office http://news.mit.edu/2018/mit-hubweek-kendall-square-1023 <p>HUBweek in Kendall Square — it’s become a pretty good bet. And the festivities on Oct. 9 didn’t disappoint.</p> <p>Now in its fourth year, HUBweek is a “festival of the future” that celebrates science, art, and technology. MIT is a founding sponsor, along with Harvard University,&nbsp;<em>The Boston Globe,&nbsp;</em>and Massachusetts General Hospital. This year’s theme was “We the Future.” The Kendall Square/MIT Innovation Playground and 314 Main Street Ground-breaking showcased the Institute’s innovative spirit right in the historic heart and future hub of MIT and Kendall Square.</p> <p>The day began with a sold-out MIT Club of Boston event called “Inside the Dome: MIT and the Future of Kendall Square.” Israel Ruiz, MIT’s executive vice president and treasurer, joined with Katie Rae, CEO and managing partner of The Engine; Steve Marsh, managing director of real estate; Elisabeth Reynolds, executive director of the MIT Industrial Performance Center; Muriel Médard, the Cecil H. Green Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; and over 200 attendees to discuss MIT’s role in the transformation of Kendall Square and their collective vision for its future.</p> <p><strong>Innovation Playground</strong></p> <p>The tone for the rest of the day was set by the energetic buzz at the eight-hour-long “Innovation Playground.” The event was one of MIT’s HUBweek “Open Doors” offerings and took place inside the Institute’s graduate student housing construction site in the middle of Kendall Square.</p> <p>The raw space, which will one day house a public food hall, was a perfect backdrop for a lineup of activities including digital portals to people around the world, a life-size coloring book, a learn-how-to-DJ station, a make-your-own unity print station, digital graffiti, augmented and virtual reality, a bank of old-fashioned phones sharing snippets of history, a Boeing autonomous vehicle exhibit, a GIF booth, a collection station for a time capsule, an open space brainstorming station, and an MIT-designed interactive art piece, “Flow,” created by MIT alumnus Karl Sims.</p> <p>About 650 people came through the Innovation Playground during the course of the afternoon to play, explore, and socialize. Attendees say the experience felt part nightclub, part museum, and part coffee shop. Some stayed for hours.</p> <p><strong>Ground-breaking</strong></p> <p>In the evening, over 200 people joined together for an unconventional ground-breaking ceremony for the Institute’s 314 Main Street building, which is a key component of MIT’s Kendall Square Initiative. The building will be the future home of the new MIT Museum, the Boeing Aerospace and Autonomy Center, and other innovative tenants. Attendees watched the speaking program while others continued to play games, and about 60 neighborhood children and youth from the nearby Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House, East End House, Innovators4Purpose, and Community Art Center participated enthusiastically in the proceedings. When asked why MIT likes the 314 Main Street address, one child told the crowd that she knew that it was the number representing Pi or π.</p> <p>“I haven’t been to all that many ground-breakings,” said MIT Museum Director John Durant, “but this event is a mash-up, and I’m so happy about that. It reflects the spirit and philosophy of the museum.”</p> <p>MIT Provost Martin Schmidt described the surrounding context for the 314 Main Street building. It will be located next to a redesigned MBTA head house in the new MIT/Kendall gateway area, and across from the Institute’s new graduate student residence hall, now under construction. A “new front door” will lead to an inviting open space area that will be programmed to showcase the innovative spirit of MIT. “When it’s all done, no one will ever come up from the MBTA again and ask “Where is MIT?’”</p> <p>Schmidt also summarized MIT’s long-term relationship with Boeing: “The MIT/Boeing relationship is over a century old — we have been problem-solving and advancing technologies together for a long time. In this new chapter of our relationship, Boeing will be focused on autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence-enabled air travel. We are thrilled that they have decided to join us here in Kendall.”</p> <p>Boeing Chief Technology Officer Greg Hyslop said: “We at Boeing are again embracing our inner startup. We’ve started an organization called NeXt, and we’re pushing forward with a new breed of autonomous vehicles and new concepts in AI-enabled airspace. We see fundamental changes coming in how people and goods move from place to place.”</p> <p>Aurora Flight Sciences, which is part of the Boeing Company, will be moving its Kendall-based research and development center into the new building. John Langford, Aurora Flight Sciences founder, chief executive officer, and&nbsp;MIT&nbsp;alumnus said: “Today, Aurora’s&nbsp;Kendall Square&nbsp;team is already building innovative autonomous systems. By expanding Aurora’s 30-year relationship with&nbsp;MIT, and working with Boeing, we are creating a collaborative space where engineers, students and researchers can work together to create technologies that will define the next-century of air mobility.”</p> <p><strong>Museum membership free for Cambridge residents</strong></p> <p>At the start of the ground-breaking program, Sarah Gallop, MIT’s co-director of government and community relations, invited Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern to join her and Durant on stage.</p> <p>Durant announced that membership to the MIT Museum will be free to all Cambridge residents once it opens its doors in 2021. “Fantastic!” said the mayor. “That is very good and welcome news for our whole community. Thank you, MIT!”</p> <p><strong>Main Street’s “Walls of Unity” mural</strong></p> <p>The Community Art Center (CAC), located in the Cambridge neighborhood known as “The Port,” runs youth programs that create community-sourced public art installations. MIT has worked with CAC youth in the Teen Media Program on several murals that have been displayed at MIT construction sites over the past few years. The most recent creation is a 360-foot “Walls of Unity” mural that stretches along Main Street in front of the graduate student housing construction site and 314 Main Street. The mural, part of the CAC’s “Creative Current” initiative, depicts images of unity that have been created by young artists in the organization’s apprenticeship program and members of the MIT and Cambridge communities.</p> <p>CAC Executive Director Eryn Johnson shared her perspective on the unique endeavor. “We are grateful to MIT for generously partnering with us. It’s extremely meaningful for our young artists to have their creations featured so prominently in Kendall Square.” William Gallop, one of the CAC apprentices, said: “I never thought I’d see my work displayed in public like that. It makes me feel empowered to be able to put my artistic voice towards good purposes.”</p> <p>Mayor McGovern said “William, thank you — keep on doing what you’re doing! And Eryn Johnson, you are a stalwart leader and role model in our community.”</p> <p><strong>314 Main Street</strong></p> <p>Architects Weiss/Manfredi and Perkins+Will designed the new 437,000 square foot commercial lab building at 314 Main Street, and Turner Construction Company is constructing the facility. Expected to be completed in 2020, the 250-foot high building will house the MIT Press Bookstore, a restaurant, and a café, in addition to the MIT Museum and Boeing. Other forward-looking companies are expected to sign on as tenants in the coming months.</p> <p>Höweler +&nbsp;Yoon&nbsp;Architecture designed the interior museum space, which will be located on the first, second, and third floors and will include exhibition and public programs space, classrooms, a store, and space for administration and collections research.</p> Ceremonial groundbreaking, left to right: Community Art Center Apprentice William Gallop, Community Art Center Executive Director Eryn Johnson, Aurora Flight Sciences CEO John Langford, Boeing CTO Greg Hyslop, MIT Provost Martin Schmidt, Cambridge Vice Mayor Jan Devereux, MIT Museum Director John Durant, and MIT Co-Director of Government and Community Relations Sarah GallopImage: Allan DinesBoston and region, Community, Arts, Campus buildings and architecture, Facilities, Innovation and Entrpreneurship (I&E), MIT Museum, Special events and guest speakers Tang family gift supports MIT.nano, MIT Quest for Intelligence http://news.mit.edu/2018/tang-family-gift-supports-mitnano-quest-intelligence-1018 $20 million gift names imaging suite in new facility, creates catalyst fund. Thu, 18 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0400 MIT News Office http://news.mit.edu/2018/tang-family-gift-supports-mitnano-quest-intelligence-1018 <p>The Tang family of Hong Kong has made a $20 million gift to MIT to name the Tang Family Imaging Suite in the new <a href="http://mitnano.mit.edu/">MIT.nano</a> facility and establish the Tang Family Catalyst Fund to support the <a href="http://quest.mit.edu/">MIT Quest for Intelligence</a>.</p> <p>The Imaging Suite in MIT.nano is part of a highly specialized facility for viewing, measuring, and understanding at the nanoscale. With design features that include a 5-million-pound slab of concrete for stabilization, isolated construction of individual spaces, and technology to minimize mechanical and electromagnetic interference, MIT.nano’s imaging suites provide the “quiet” environment needed for this sensitive work.</p> <p>“We are grateful for the Tang family’s generosity and visionary investment in nanoscale research at MIT,” says Vladimir Bulović, inaugural director of MIT.nano and the Fariborz Maseeh Professor in Emerging Technology. “The imaging suite will allow scientists and engineers to decipher the structure and function of matter with precision that has not been possible before and, armed with this new knowledge, identify promising opportunities for innovation in health, energy, communications and computing, and a host of other fields.”</p> <p>The Tang Family Catalyst Fund will provide $5 million for artificial intelligence (AI) research activities and operations, with a special focus on projects at the intersection of AI and financial technology.</p> <p>“AI tools and technologies are going to revolutionize many industries and disciplines,” says Anantha P. Chandrakasan, dean of the MIT School of Engineering and the Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “We are delighted to have the support of the Tang family as we lead the development and discovery of these new tools and technologies.”</p> <p>“The Quest is fueled by cross-disciplinary collaboration and the support of enterprising people such as the Tang family who see great value in exploration and discovery,” says Antonio Torralba, inaugural director of The Quest for Intelligence. “From seed grants for early-stage faculty and student research, to undergraduate and graduate student activities, the Tang Family Catalyst Fund will kindle new ideas that advance machine learning.”</p> From left to right: Brian Anthony, principal research scientist at SENSE.nano, director of the Master of Engineering in Manufacturing Program, and co-director of the Medical Electronic Device Realization Center; Ricky Lai, Linda Tang, and Maggie Zhu, representing the Tang family; Martin A. Schmidt, MIT provost; Edward Cunningham PhD ’09; and Jesús de Álamo, director of the Microsystems Technology Laboratories, and Donner Professor and professor of electrical engineering at MITPhoto courtesy of MIT Resource DevelopmentResearch, Giving, Quest for Intelligence, MIT.nano, Nanoscience and nanotechnology, Facilities, Campus buildings and architecture, Artificial intelligence, Machine learning, School of Science, School of Engineering MIT Campaign for a Better World propels the Institute to best fundraising year on record http://news.mit.edu/2018/campaign-for-better-world-propels-mit-best-fundraising-year-record-1009 The impact of the campaign is evident in new initiatives and core support across campus. Tue, 09 Oct 2018 12:30:00 -0400 MIT Resource Department http://news.mit.edu/2018/campaign-for-better-world-propels-mit-best-fundraising-year-record-1009 <p>MIT has announced that the&nbsp;<a href="https://betterworld.mit.edu/">MIT Campaign for a Better World</a>&nbsp;has mobilized record numbers of alumni and friends in support of the Institute’s work on society’s most pervasive global challenges. At the end of fiscal year 2018, MIT had raised $737 million in new gifts and pledges from the highest number of donors in a single year.</p> <p>This&nbsp;result — the best in the history of MIT — brings the campaign total to $4.3 billion, contributed by more than 96,000 individuals and organizations. From driving the launch of new global research initiatives to providing robust resources for students and reinvigorating physical spaces, the campaign is fulfilling its mission across MIT’s campus and beyond.</p> <p>“It’s been an incredible year for the Institute,” says Julie Lucas, MIT’s vice president for resource development. “This outcome reflects both the generosity of the MIT community and the outstanding work of our faculty, researchers, and students who are creating a more positive future for all. It’s an extraordinary collective commitment to making a lasting impact on the world. I am proud to work among MIT’s talented advancement professionals, and I am deeply grateful to all of our alumni, friends, and leadership volunteers and ambassadors who have responded to the campaign with energy and vision to help us achieve our aspirations.”</p> <p>The Institute-wide campaign, publicly launched in 2016, is driven by five problem-solving and discovery priorities that intersect with MIT’s&nbsp;schools,&nbsp;departments, labs, and centers:&nbsp;Discovery Science; Health of the Planet; Human Health, Teaching, Learning, and Living; and Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In addition, the campaign is highly focused on raising funds to support and sustain the people and places at the Institute’s core.&nbsp;</p> <p>The impact of the campaign can be seen&nbsp;in the widespread transformation taking place across&nbsp;<a href="https://betterworld.mit.edu/investing-in-mit-campus/">MIT’s campus</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>Support for capital initiatives reached a new high this past fiscal year and milestones were attained on a number of projects, including the Harold W. Pierce Boathouse; the Metropolitan Warehouse (the potential future home of the School of Architecture and Planning, as well as a new makerspace for the MIT community); and the Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel, all of which have moved into their design phase.</p> <p>Initial gifts were also secured for the new Vassar Street undergraduate residence at the heart of campus and the new Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub. The latter is a cornerstone of the&nbsp;<a href="https://kendallsquare.mit.edu/">Kendall Square Initiative</a>, which is rapidly transforming this Cambridge innovation neighborhood into a new gateway to the Institute. Kendall Square, also home to a new MIT graduate student residence and a purpose-built MIT Museum, continues to be among the Institute’s highest priorities.&nbsp;</p> <p>Adjacent to Kendall Square,&nbsp;<a href="https://mitnano.mit.edu/">MIT.nano</a>, a 214,000-square-footaddition to the campus landscape, opened on Oct.&nbsp;4. Its advanced nanotechnology and nanofabrication facilities are poised to have a dramatic impact on researchers across the Institute.</p> <p>Two cross-Institute efforts announced this past year highlight the campaign’s commitment to basic research, human health, and innovation. The&nbsp;<a href="http://jclinic.mit.edu/">Abdul Latif Jameel Clinic for Machine Learning in Health (J-Clinic)</a>&nbsp;aims to create and commercialize high-precision, affordable, and scalable machine learning technologies to revolutionize disease prevention, detection, and treatment worldwide.&nbsp;<a href="https://quest.mit.edu/">The MIT Quest for Intelligence</a>, of which J-Clinic is a part, will focus on advancing the science and engineering of human and machine intelligence.&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, donors contributing crucial unrestricted funds to the campaign are fueling MIT’s ability to augment core strengths and invest in daring ideas. Support for undergraduate and graduate financial aid and faculty in the campaign also remains strong, underscoring the MIT community’s dedication to the student and teaching talent that drives the Institute’s education, research, and innovation engines.&nbsp;</p> <p>Since the campaign launch, MIT has sought to engage alumni and friends even more deeply in the life of the Institute. A total of 6,178 individuals from Boston to Seattle to Hong Kong to Tel Aviv have experienced the MIT&nbsp;Better World<a href="https://betterworld.mit.edu/events/"> event series</a>&nbsp;in 14 locations across the globe. The tour visited six major regional hubs where MIT alumni live and work during the&nbsp;2018 fiscal year 2018,&nbsp;attracting 2,715 attendees.&nbsp;</p> <p>The 2018 Tech Reunions — MIT’s largest annual gathering of alumni — drew 3,578 alumni and guests, with three classes breaking attendance records and six breaking giving records. Meanwhile, the second MIT 24-Hour Challenge, held on Pi Day (March 14), inspired 8,673 donors to give more than $3.4 million, including&nbsp;a Pi-themed $314,000 challenge gift and a $50,000 bonus gift. The Institute also saw more than 16,000 volunteers offering their services to MIT.&nbsp;</p> <p>MIT President L. Rafael Reif says what he has found most striking about the campaign's success “is the enthusiasm for MIT I have witnessed everywhere I have traveled.”</p> <p>“Our alumni and friends believe deeply in the critical role our community plays in creating and advancing knowledge, in service to the nation and the world. The campaign has strengthened MIT as a magnet for the most talented people on the planet and positioned our brilliant faculty and students to do their best work,” says Reif. “Thanks to the generosity of thousands, and to the time, energy, and dedication of thousands more, MIT’s vision for a better world is a giant step closer to reality.”</p> <p>For more information about the MIT Campaign for a Better World, visit&nbsp;<a href="https://betterworld.mit.edu/?utm_source=news-office&amp;utm_medium=web&amp;utm_term=all&amp;utm_content=20171026-01&amp;utm_campaign=fy17-results">betterworld.mit.edu</a>&nbsp;and follow #MITBetterWorld.&nbsp;</p> The fundraising effort is the best in the history of MIT and brings the Campaign for a Better World total to $4.3 billion.Photo: M. Scott BrauerCampus buildings and architecture, Campus, Alumni/ae, Giving, President L. Rafael Reif, Campaign for a Better World A big new home for the ultrasmall http://news.mit.edu/2018/mit-nano-building-open-0924 MIT.nano building, the largest of its kind, will usher in a new age of nanoscale advancements. Sun, 23 Sep 2018 23:59:59 -0400 David L. Chandler | MIT News Office http://news.mit.edu/2018/mit-nano-building-open-0924 <p>Nanotechnology, the cutting-edge research field that explores ultrasmall materials, organisms, and devices, has now been graced with the largest, most sophisticated, and most accessible university research facility of its kind in the U.S.: It is the new $400 million MIT.nano building, which will have its official <a href="https://mitnano.mit.edu/grandopening">opening ceremonies</a> next week.</p> <p>The state-of-the-art facility includes two large floors of connected clean-room spaces that are open to view from the outside and available for use by an extraordinary number and variety of researchers across the Institute. It also features a whole floor of undergraduate chemistry teaching labs, and an ultrastable basement level dedicated to electron microscopes and other exquisitely sensitive imaging and measurement tools.</p> <p>“In recent decades, we have gained the ability to see into the nanoscale with breathtaking precision. This insight has led to the development of tools and instruments that allow us to design and manipulate matter like nature does, atom by atom and molecule by molecule,” says Vladimir Bulović, the Fariborz Maseeh Professor in Emerging Technology and founding director of MIT.nano. “MIT.nano has arrived on campus at the dawn of the Nano Age. In the decades ahead, its open-access facilities for nanoscience and nanoengineering will equip our community with instruments and processes that can further harness the power of nanotechnology in service to humanity’s greatest challenges.”</p> <p>“In terms of vibrations and electromagnetic noise, MIT.nano may be the quietest space on campus. But in a community where more than half of recently tenured faculty do work at the nanoscale, MIT.nano’s superb shared facilities guarantee that it will become a lively center of community and collaboration, says MIT President L. Rafael Reif. "I am grateful to the exceptional team — including Provost Martin Schmidt, Founding Director Vladimir Bulovic, and many others — that delivered this extraordinarily sophisticated building on an extraordinarily inaccessible construction site, making a better MIT so we can help to make a better world.”</p> <p><strong>Accessible and flexible</strong></p> <p>The 214,000-square-foot building, with its soaring glass facades, sophisticated design and instrumentation, and powerful air-exchange systems, lies at the heart of campus and just off the Infinite Corridor. It took shape during six years of design and construction, and was delivered exactly on schedule and on budget, a rare achievement for such a massive and technologically complex construction project.</p> <p>“MIT.nano is a game-changer for the MIT research enterprise,” says Vice President for Research Maria Zuber.</p> <p>“It will provide measurement, imaging, and fabrication capabilities that will dramatically advance science and technology in disciplines across the Institute,” adds Provost Martin Schmidt.</p> <p>At the heart of the building are two levels of clean rooms — research environments in which the air is continuously scrubbed and replaced to maintain a standard that allows no more than 100 particles of &nbsp;0.5 microns or larger within a cubic foot of air. To achieve such cleanliness, work on the building has included strict filtration measures and access restrictions for more than a year, and at the moment, with the spaces not yet in full use, they far exceed that standard.</p> <p>All of the lab and instrumentation spaces in the building will be used as shared facilities, accessible to any MIT researcher who needs the specialized tools that will be installed there over the coming months and years. The tools will be continually upgraded, as the building is designed to be flexible and ready for the latest advances in equipment for making, studying, measuring, and manipulating nanoscale objects — things measured in billionths of a meter, whether they be technological, biological, or chemical.</p> <p>Many of the tools and instruments to be installed in MIT.nano are so costly and require so much support in services and operations that they would likely be out of reach for a single researcher or team. One of the instruments now installed and being calibrated in the basement imaging and metrology suites — sitting atop a 5-million-pound slab of concrete to provide the steadiest base possible — is a cryogenic transmission electron microscope. This multimillion dollar instrument is hosted in an equally costly room with fine-tuned control of temperature and humidity, specialized features to minimize the mechanical and electromagnetic interference, and a technical support team. The device, one of two currently being installed in MIT.nano, will enable detailed 3-D observations of cells or materials held at very low liquid-nitrogen temperatures, giving a glimpse into the exquisite nanoscale features of the soft-matter world.</p> <p>Almost half of the MIT.nano’s footage is devoted to lab space — 100,000 square feet of it — which is about 100 times larger in size than the typical private lab space of a young experimental research group at MIT, Bulović says. Private labs typically take a few years to build out, and once in place often house valuable equipment that is idle for at least part of the time. It will similarly take a few years to fully build out MIT.nano’s shared labs, but Bulović expects that the growing collection of advanced instruments will rarely be idle. The instrument sets will be selected and designed to drastically improve a researcher’s ability to hit the ground running with access to the best tools from the start, he says.</p> <p>Principal investigators often “find there’s a benefit to contributing tools to the community so they can be shared and perfected through their use,” Bulović says. “They recognize that as these tools are not needed for their own work 24/7, attracting additional instrument users can generate a revenue stream for the tool, which supports maintenance and future upgrades while also enhancing the research output of labs that would not have access to those tools otherwise.”</p> <p><strong>A facility sized to meet demand</strong></p> <p>Once MIT.nano is fully outfitted, over 2,000 MIT faculty and researchers are expected to use the new facilities every year, according to Bulović. Besides its clean-room floors, instrumentation floor, chemistry labs, and the top-floor prototyping labs, the new building also houses a unique facility at MIT: a two-story virtual-reality and visualization space called the Immersion Lab. It could be used by researchers studying subcellular-resolution images of biological tissues or complex computer simulations, or planetary scientists walking through a reproduced Martian surface looking for geologically interesting sites; it may even lend itself to artistic creations or performances, he says. “It’s a unique space. The beauty of it is it will connect to the huge datasets” coming from instruments such as the cryoelectron microscopes, or from simulations generated by artificial intelligence labs, or from other external datasets.</p> <p>The chemistry labs on the building’s fifth floor, which can accommodate a dozen classes of a dozen students each, are already fully outfitted and in full use for this fall. The labs allow undergraduate chemistry students an exceptionally full and up-to-date experience of lab processes and tools.</p> <p>“The Department of Chemistry is delighted to move into our new state-of-the-art Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories (UGTL) in MIT.nano,” says department head Timothy Jamison. “The synergy between our <a href="https://chemistry.mit.edu/academic-programs/undergraduate-programs/lab-curriculum/">URIECA</a> curriculum and this new space enables us to provide an even stronger educational foundation in experimental chemistry to our students. Vladimir Bulović and the MIT.nano team have been wonderful partners at all stages — throughout the design, construction, and move — and we look forward to other opportunities resulting from this collaboration and the presence of our UGTL in MIT.nano.”</p> <p>The building itself was designed to be far more open and accessible than any comparable clean-room facility in the world. Those outside the labs can watch through MIT.nano’s many windows and see the use of these specialized devices and how such labs work. Meanwhile, researchers themselves can more easily interact with each other and see the sunshine and the gently waving bamboo plants outdoors as a reminder of the outside world that they are working to benefit.</p> <p>A courtyard path on the south side of the building is named the <a href="http://news.mit.edu/2017/symposium-commemorates-pioneering-professor-mentor-mildred-dresselhaus-1129">Improbability Walk</a>, in honor of the late MIT Institute Professor Emerita Mildred “Millie” Dresselhaus. The name is a nod to a statement by the beloved mentor, collaborator, teacher, and world-renowned pioneer in solid-state physics and nanoscale engineering, who once said, “My background is so improbable — that I’d be here from where I started.”</p> <p>Those who walk through the building’s sunlight-soaked corridors and galleries will notice walls surfaced with panels of limestone from the Yangtze Platform of southwestern China. The limestone’s delicate patterns of fine horizontal lines are made up of tiny microparticles, such as bits of ancient microorganisms, laid down at the bottom of primeval waters before dinosaurs roamed the Earth. The very newest marvels to emerge in nanotechnology will thus be coming into existence right within view of some of their most ancient minuscule precursors.</p> The MIT.nano building, at the center of campus adjacent to the Great Dome, has expansive glass facades that allow natural light into the labs while giving visitors a clear view of the research in action.All images: Wilson ArchitectsCambridge, Boston and region, MIT.nano, Nanoscience and nanotechnology, Facilities, Campus buildings and architecture, Chemistry, Materials Science and Engineering, Physics, Biology, School of Science, School of Engineering, Community, Research, President L. Rafael Reif, Leadership, Research Laboratory of Electronics Students welcomed back to renovated New House as semester begins http://news.mit.edu/2018/mit-students-welcomed-back-renovated-new-house-0903 Redesigned building connects living groups with improved accessibility. Mon, 03 Sep 2018 09:03:00 -0400 Cooper Toulmin | MIT Facilities http://news.mit.edu/2018/mit-students-welcomed-back-renovated-new-house-0903 <p>Approximately 290 students recently moved into their newly renovated home, thanks to a concerted team effort to complete the reconstruction of New House in time for the start of the fall semester. The 14-month construction project followed months of planning in which the architects, student residents, and staff from the Division of Student Life (DSL) and Campus Construction worked together to envision the future needs of the community. The result — a residence with improved connectivity between houses, new amenities (including cluster kitchens and quiet lounges in each house), enhanced accessibility, green roofs, and revitalized courtyards.</p> <p>“Renovating a residence hall is a tall order at any time,” said Suzy Nelson, vice president and dean for student life. “Everyone involved — students, faculty, staff, and the architects and project managers — did a fantastic job of balancing the desires of residents with the needs of an up-to-date residence hall and MIT’s expectations for the future. And to get that all done in a year is truly extraordinary.”</p> <p>The decision to renovate the more than 40-year-old, 115,000 square-foot residence was based on results of a 2016 feasibility study conducted by the Office of Campus Planning and the MIT Capital Projects group.</p> <p>“While this project has helped drive down our deferred maintenance, what it has really done is demonstrate our desire to enhance the living and learning environment for our students for the 21st century, and work with each community to develop how each building can better support their needs,” says David Friedrich, senior director of housing operations and renewal planning.</p> <p><strong>Flexible design features focus on community</strong></p> <p>Constructed in 1975, New House is home to a community that encompasses nine living groups, including the cultural groups Chocolate City, French House, German House, iHouse, and Spanish House. The primary goals of the renovation included retaining the 288-bed count in New House, which was achieved, and preserving the nine communities while enhancing the connections among the houses. A 275-foot corridor now runs the entire length of the building, enabling residents to easily and accessibly move between communities on every level. The new design’s flexibility lets the communities’ populations change and allows for adaptability in assigning rooms to residents.</p> <p>Goody Clancy led the redesign effort, collaborating with students and student life staff to understand residents’ needs. Using <a href="http://news.mit.edu/2016/committee-completes-work-on-guidance-for-future-dorms-1020" target="_blank">MIT’s Architectural Principles</a>, the teams envisioned the ground-floor arcade as the heart of the building with shared features such as a large community-shared country kitchen and an expanded multi-purpose room, makerspace, laundry, and fitness room located along its path. Placement of these features next to the house lounge on the arcade level enables those spaces to spill out onto the adjacent courtyards, providing an open, communal space encouraging creative connections among students.</p> <p>In addition, large windows in the arcade level bring in views of the Charles River and allow more daylight. “Taking down the large wall that was in place on the north side of the arcade has opened up a north-south view through the ground floor, bringing the outside in,” says Goody Clancy Associate Amanda Sanders.</p> <p>Some of New House’s added construction features and improvements include:</p> <ul> <li>a first-floor arcade that includes a house lounge, game room, the shared country kitchen, expanded makerspace, multi-purpose room, laundry room, fitness room, and music room;</li> <li>a new roof, along with six green roofs facing Memorial Drive that absorb water and reduce water waste;</li> <li>new energy-efficient windows throughout the building;</li> <li>connecting corridors on the upper floors with two new elevators providing accessibility;</li> <li>accessible student rooms and bathrooms in each community;</li> <li>revitalized courtyards providing social space for occupants; and</li> <li>a new covered 150-bike storage enclosure.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Creative work phasing minimized student relocations</strong></p> <p>One of the challenges to this whole-building renovation was managing the construction in phases to ensure that a number of New House residents could continue to live in the building for the 2017-18 academic year. By staging the work in phases and maintaining one unoccupied house as a buffer against construction noise, 100 residents continued to live in the building. This creative approach, managed and coordinated by Suffolk Construction Company, minimized the need for students to relocate.</p> <p>“The students who lived in New House during construction were an integral part of the success of this project,” says Kevin Carr, project manager for Campus Construction. “We hosted a welcome back pizza party and a building tour when the students returned in January after phase one was complete, and the positive feedback was overwhelming, and it really touched us in a special way.”</p> <p><strong>Community engagement laid foundation for redesign</strong></p> <p>As with many projects on campus, the community engagement between student residents, student life staff, and the construction and design teams regarding the design and direction of New House was critical to the successful completion of the project. The presidents of each of the houses were involved throughout and contributed ideas and opinions right down to color schemes and furniture options.</p> <p>“In my 17 years as head of house for New House, I saw how the students lived, worked, and connected with one another,” says Wesley Harris, the Charles Stark Draper Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics. “The freshness and openness that this renovation breathes will be most welcomed by our students, and the new east-west horizontal integration will be a substantial improvement in the quality of life. I also commend all who were involved in this project, including the administration, students, architect, and construction team who did a wonderful job.”</p> <p>Paul Murphy, program manager for&nbsp;Special Projects, says&nbsp;“this was one of the bigger renovation projects within the past two years for MIT, and it’s a real testament to teamwork and collaboration that it went off without any major hitches and completed on time for students to move back in for the fall semester.”</p> <p>“When we walk through it now and see students smiling — it’s why we do what we do,” Murphy says.</p> New energy-efficient windows have been installed throughout the New House building, along with a new roof. Six terraces facing Memorial Drive have been transformed into green roofs that absorb water and reduce water waste.Photo: Robert Benson Photography, courtesy of Goody ClancyFacilities, Student life, Campus buildings and architecture, Architecture, Chancellor, Residential life, Community 3Q: Julie Newman on MIT’s pioneering solar purchase http://news.mit.edu/2018/3q-julie-newman-mit-pioneering-solar-purchase-0717 MIT’s sustainability director describes how 2016 effort has inspired Boston and other cities. Mon, 16 Jul 2018 23:59:59 -0400 Steve Bradt | MIT News Office http://news.mit.edu/2018/3q-julie-newman-mit-pioneering-solar-purchase-0717 <p><em>In 2016, MIT <a href="http://news.mit.edu/2016/mit-neutralize-17-percent-carbon-emissions-through-purchase-solar-energy-1019">announced</a> that it would neutralize 17 percent of its carbon emissions through a unique collaboration with</em><em> Boston Medical Center and Post Office Square Redevelopment Corporation: The three entitites formed an alliance to buy solar power, demonstrating a partnership model for climate-change mitigation and the advancement of large scale solar development. </em></p> <p><em>Boston Mayor Martin Walsh recently announced that his city will undertake a similar but much larger effort to purchase solar energy in conjunction with cities across the U.S., including Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Orlando, and Portland, Oregon. At the time of this announcement, Walsh called upon more cities to join in this collective renewable energy initiative. In describing the agreement, Boston officials said the effort is modeled on MIT’s 2016 effort.</em></p> <p><em>Julie Newman, the Institute’s director of sustainability, spoke with </em>MIT News<em> about the power of MIT’s pioneering model for purchasing solar energy.</em></p> <p><strong>Q: </strong>Can you describe MIT’s alliance with Boston Medical Center and Post Office Square Redevelopment Corporation to purchase solar energy?</p> <p><strong>A:</strong> Climate partnerships are not new to cities like Boston and Cambridge, where urban stakeholders work together to try to advance solutions for climate mitigation and resiliency. In Boston, MIT participates on the city’s <a href="http://www.greenribboncommission.org/">Green Ribbon Commission</a><em>,</em> which is co-chaired by Mayor Walsh and includes leaders from Boston’s business, institutional, and civic sectors. In MIT’s host city of Cambridge, the Institute works collaboratively with the municipality on a range of initiatives related to solar energy, resiliency planning, building energy use, and other efforts focused on climate change.</p> <p>In October 2016 MIT, Boston Medical Center, and Post Office Square Redevelopment Corporation formed an alliance to buy electricity from a large new solar power installation. The goal was to add carbon-free energy to the grid and, equally important, we wanted to demonstrate a partnership model for other organizations.</p> <p>Our power purchase agreement, or PPA, enabled the construction of Summit Farms, a 650-acre, 60-megawatt solar farm in North Carolina. The facility is now operational and is one of the largest renewable-energy projects ever built in the U.S. through an alliance like this.</p> <p>MIT committed to buying 73 percent of the power generated by Summit Farms’ 255,000 solar panels, with BMC purchasing 26 percent and POS purchasing the remainder. At the time, MIT’s purchase of 44 megawatts — equivalent to 40 percent of the Institute’s 2016 electricity use — was among the largest publicly announced purchases of solar energy by any American college or university.</p> <p>Summit Farms would not have been built without the commitments from MIT and its partners. The emissions-free power it generates every year represents an annual abatement of carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to removing more than 25,000 cars from the road.</p> <p>A unique provision in the agreement between MIT and Summit Farms will provide MIT researchers with access to a wealth of data on performance parameters at the North Carolina site. This research capability amplifies the project’s impact and contributes to making the MIT campus a true living laboratory for advances in technology, policy, and business models.</p> <p><strong>Q: </strong>What exactly has the City of Boston announced that it plans to do, and how is this modeled on MIT’s solar-power collaboration?</p> <p><strong>A:</strong> MIT, our collaborators, the city of Boston, and the numerous other cities joining Mayor Walsh all share an interest in reducing carbon emissions at the global scale. We want solutions that will transform the energy market, create clean-energy jobs, and sustain healthy, thriving communities. In collaboration, we can have a greater impact than we could if we tried to mitigate emissions on an institute-by-institute or city-by-city basis. By combining our purchasing power, we can escalate the demand for renewable energy more rapidly, triggering new development and installation of renewables through the energy sector in the U.S.&nbsp;</p> <p>Our project used a convening force, the group <a href="http://www.abettercity.org/">A Better City</a>, to invite disparate entities to combine efforts to increase demand for renewable energy. Similarly, Mayor Walsh has called upon leading members of the <a href="http://climatemayors.org/">Climate Mayors Network</a>, representing over 400 cities and 70 million people, to combine their collective purchasing and bargaining power to reduce energy costs and spark the creation of large-scale renewable energy projects across the country. This invitation has launched a coast-to-coast effort to increase the demand for renewable energy across the eight regional grids.</p> <p><strong>Q: </strong>Has the Institute fielded expressions of interest from other entities interested in trying this model? Is there evidence that it will spread further?</p> <p><strong>A:</strong> We are excited about this solution, and we’ve shared this model of solar-collaboration with peers across the country. We’ve hosted webinars, meetings, and presentations, and received immediate and passionate interest from statewide systems, large corporations, and multiuniversity partnerships that have since pursued collective renewable energy projects. We can now point to a dozen or more projects that have been inspired by this model and &nbsp;are pursuing renewable energy aggregation.</p> <p>It is important to note that the success of an external collaboration is only as strong as our internal collaboration. The development of the MIT power purchase agreement relied on expertise from more than eight academic and administrative departments, including researchers from related fields, engineers in our utilities area, and staff with expertise in purchasing, finance, and legal areas. We are on the verge of tapping back into these partnerships as we look ahead to determine what is next.</p> <p>We now have real-time data on energy, emissions avoidance, and financial performance and can evaluate the real world impacts of our project. These findings will influence our thinking going forward. We are considering such questions as how can MIT continue to amplify our efforts? How can we shape our energy impact in the world, and what is the best way to pursue our interest in collectively transforming the energy market? We are continuously broadening our clean energy knowledge base, from multidimensional carbon-accounting frameworks to the exploration of new technologies. Along the way, we have learned that the location of a new wind or solar project&nbsp;matters significantly to its carbon dioxide reduction impact.&nbsp;(The project has a greater benefit if it’s located in a dirtier power grid.) This will inform our work as we&nbsp;actively pursue&nbsp;new partnerships for future scenarios.</p> Julie Newman, Ph.D., Director of the MIT Office of Sustainability.Image: Dominick ReuterClimate change, Sustainability, Administration, ESI, Community, Environment, Alternative energy, Energy, Technology and society, Campus buildings and architecture, Industry, Emissions, Solar MIT Collaboration with Dar Group supports the future of architecture, planning, and design http://news.mit.edu/2018/mit-collaboration-with-dar-group-supports-future-architecture-planning-design-0626 Tue, 26 Jun 2018 13:50:01 -0400 MIT Resource Development http://news.mit.edu/2018/mit-collaboration-with-dar-group-supports-future-architecture-planning-design-0626 <p>MIT and the School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) have announced a collaboration with the Dar Group, an international planning, design, and architectural firm led by SA+P Advisory Council member Talal Shair.</p> <p>The collaboration will support the proposed renovation, recently announced by the Institute, of the historic Metropolitan Storage Warehouse on the MIT main campus as a new location for SA+P. Dar and SA+P will also come together to engage in research on the future of cities and urban areas.</p> <p>SA+P is consistently ranked as one of the world’s top schools of architecture, planning, and design.&nbsp;It is the home of the&nbsp;first department of architecture in the&nbsp;United States — which this year is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its first graduating class — as well as the oldest continuously running department of urban studies and planning.</p> <p>“This is a big step into the future for the School of Architecture and Planning,” Hashim Sarkis, dean of SA+P, said of the collaboration, which was marked by a signing ceremony on MIT’s campus earlier in June. “I am very grateful to Mr. Shair and to Dar for helping us realize such a momentous opportunity to elevate the culture of design at MIT and to collaborate on research with the potential to impact urban settings around the globe.”</p> <p>“We are proud to take part in this collaboration because it reflects many of the ideals and values of the Dar Group,” said Shair. "At Dar, we believe that with sufficient imagination, commitment, and determination, our most ambitious goals are within reach. This project enables us to join with MIT in that spirit and make a lasting contribution to our field, and to the world.”</p> <p>Built in the late 19th&nbsp;and early 20th&nbsp;centuries, the Metropolitan Warehouse, located at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Vassar Street, is included in the National Register of Historic Places. The proposed renovations would preserve the structure’s distinctive external features and create 200,000 square feet of state-of-the-art interior spaces including classrooms, studios, workshops, galleries, and an auditorium.&nbsp;A featured part of the renovated building would be a new makerspace headed by Martin Culpepper, a professor in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and leader of the Institute’s Precision Compliant Systems Laboratory. That space would provide expanded design and fabrication facilities for the MIT community. &nbsp;</p> <p>The planned new location for SA+P would create a hub for interdisciplinary research and learning&nbsp;in&nbsp;art, architecture, and urban planning&nbsp;at the Institute, with benefits for the entire MIT community. “With this project, we will be able&nbsp;to strengthen even further the human and cultural aspects of an MIT education,” Sarkis noted. “This is an exciting moment for SA+P and MIT.”</p> MIT President L. Rafael Reif (left) and Talal Shair sign documents related to the collaboration between the Dar Group and MIT. Photo: John GilloolyGiving, Campus buildings and architecture, Architecture, Urban studies and planning, Center for Real Estate, Media Lab, Facilities, Collaboration, education, Education, teaching, academics Metropolitan Storage Warehouse is potential new location for School of Architecture and Planning http://news.mit.edu/2018/metropolitan-storage-warehouse-school-architecture-planning-0614 Historic building would create “design hub” for MIT, with benefits for surrounding community. Thu, 14 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Peter Dizikes | MIT News Office http://news.mit.edu/2018/metropolitan-storage-warehouse-school-architecture-planning-0614 <p>MIT has identified the Metropolitan Storage Warehouse as a potential new location for the School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P). The proposed move would let the Institute create a new hub for design research and education, allow the school to expand its full range of activities, and open new spaces for public use.</p> <p>The building would need renovation, a process that would require approval from the City of Cambridge.</p> <p>While MIT has previously considered other functions for the landmark building, using it as an interdisciplinary academic center — while expanding the capacities of SA+P’s highly rated programs — could bring about a wide array of benefits for students, faculty, and the larger community.</p> <p>Hashim Sarkis, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning, emphasizes that students, staff, and faculty throughout the Institute would find an intellectual home in the proposed new building.</p> <p>“It’s about really creating a design hub for MIT on the campus, bringing the expanding and increasingly important areas of design from across MIT — art, architecture, and urban planning — together in one place,” says Sarkis. “Moving does not address just the school’s aspirations, but MIT’s aspirations.”</p> <p>MIT leaders have voiced their support for the plan, while also noting its benefits for the Institute as a whole.</p> <p><strong>"</strong>SA+P already has a wonderful spirit and sense of identity; uniting so many elements of the School in a single building will amplify that strength and create a central resource for the whole MIT community,"&nbsp;says MIT President L. Rafael Reif. "In its outward effects, the project is also a perfect fit for the people of SA+P: Who better to revive a grand old building and reknit the streetscape along Mass. Ave. than those who love and understand buildings and cities the most?"</p> <p>Robert B. Millard, chairman of the Corporation at MIT, also expressed his support for the project.</p> <p>“I have a long history with and&nbsp;an&nbsp;admiration for the School of Architecture and Planning,&nbsp;and I am delighted that&nbsp;as&nbsp;we celebrate the 150th&nbsp;anniversary of the Department of Architecture,&nbsp;we plan for a future that strengthens both SA+P and MIT,” Millard says.</p> <p>Among other things, a relocation to the Metropolitan Storage Warehouse could expand MIT’s classroom and design studio space, significantly increase its exhibition capacity for arts and design programming, provide new faculty offices, create a new center for the arts at MIT, and provide new areas for meetings and collaboration-based work. The building would also host public events and activities about cities, and include retail spaces.</p> <p>“The renovation of the Metropolitan Storage Warehouse is intended to generate new opportunities for research, teaching, and innovation at the Institute,” says Provost Martin A. Schmidt. “I look forward to seeing faculty and students, across many disciplines, use the new space to push their fields into the future.”&nbsp;</p> <p>A featured part of the renovated building would be a new makerspace headed by Martin Culpepper, a professor in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and leader of the Institute’s Precision Compliant Systems Laboratory. That space would provide expanded design and fabrication facilities for the MIT community, and let Institute researchers collaborate — physically or virtually — with the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node, which opened in 2017. &nbsp;</p> <p>In recent years, SA+P has become increasingly involved in collaborations with other schools at MIT. These substantive new areas of collaboration range widely, including the increased incorporation of design principles in engineering — as well as the greater use of data in urban studies, and new connections between architecture, planning, climate science, and engineering. SA+P could host studio-based courses developed with other schools (including the School of Engineering and the MIT Sloan School of Management) in the renovated space. MIT also approved a new urban science major for undergraduates in 2018, and a design minor, approved in 2016, to fit any existing major.</p> <p>A new building enhancing interdisciplinary interactions would be “transformational,” Sarkis says.</p> <p>The possible move would also shift a major space for teaching and research over to the west side of Massachusetts Avenue for the first time, bringing the school into closer proximity with the residential population of the Institute campus.</p> <p>“We [would be] creating a new gateway for MIT,” says Sarkis, noting that the building has a central location in the overall map of the campus.</p> <p>The proposal to renovate the historic building includes retail space on the ground floor, and a theater. One of the proposed retail spaces would be a new outlet for the MIT Press, likely focusing on the topics of art, architecture, urbanism, and design.</p> <p>The possible move would also take advantage of a distinctive situation in which there is room for academic expansion within the existing built environment at MIT.</p> <p>Construction on the Metropolitan Storage Warehouse began in 1894, although some parts of the current structure date to 1911. The building was designed by the architectural firm Peabody and Stearns, and its brick tower and narrow windows have long drawn comparisons to a castle.</p> <p>The structure, which MIT owns, is one of the oldest buildings in the campus area — MIT did not move to Cambridge until 1916 — and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The City of Cambridge must approve modifications to the structure due to its historic status. MIT has been in discussion with Cambridge officials about the project.</p> <p>As one of MIT’s five schools, SA+P encompasses a variety of departments and programs, including the Department of Architecture, the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, the MIT Media Lab, the Center for Real Estate, the Program in Art, Culture, and Technology, and the MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism.</p> <p>MIT Media Lab personnel would remain in their current locations. The Media Lab is housed in a two-building complex, and its newest building, on the corner of Ames Street and Amherst Street, just opened in 2010. The project could allow SA+P to create shared resources with the Media Lab, including gallery and performance spaces, and project rooms, while providing a new public portal to the Media Lab.</p> <p>The proposed redevelopment of the structure would follow other MIT building projects that have been designed for interdisciplinary collaboration while containing flexible spaces. This includes the Stata Center, which houses an array of researchers in disciplines from computer science to linguistics, and the new MIT.nano building, slated for completion this year, which will host a wide range of nanotechnology research.</p> <p>“Everybody’s looking at it as an opportunity,” Sarkis says. “We can think about how we can do things better together, how we can create new opportunities for teaching and research, and technology and resources and workspaces — together we can re-imagine everything. We’re really looking forward to that.”</p> MIT has identified the Metropolitan Storage Warehouse as a potential new location for the School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P). The proposed move would let the Institute create a new hub for design research and education, allow the school to expand its full range of activities, and open new spaces for public use.Photo: Bryce VickmarkSchool of Architecture and Planning, Architecture, Urban studies and planning, Media Lab, Center for Real Estate, boston, Cambridge, Boston and region, Campus buildings and architecture, Facilities, Collaboration, History of MIT, Arts, MIT Press, School of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences Just drop it: Baker House Piano Drop http://news.mit.edu/2018/just-drop-it-mit-baker-house-piano-drop-0524 In a tradition that started nearly 50 years ago, Baker House residents drop a donated, nonworking, and irreparable piano off the roof to mark “Drop Day.” Thu, 24 May 2018 10:40:01 -0400 Isabel Stewart | Division of Student Life http://news.mit.edu/2018/just-drop-it-mit-baker-house-piano-drop-0524 <p>MIT students are known for asking big questions that forever change the world. Other times, the question they ask is: “Why don’t we drop a piano off the roof?”</p> <p>The Baker House Piano Drop is one of MIT’s longest-running rituals, and this year — 46 years after the initial drop — it’s still going strong.</p> <div class="cms-placeholder-content-video"></div> <p>The first piano drop took place in 1972 and was masterminded by Charlie Bruno ’74. According to a post made to <a href="http://mit81.com/baker/" target="_blank">Baker House - The Historical Collection</a> by Mark Fischler ’74, a participant in the maiden piano drop, the idea was born from a house meeting debate over what to do with a broken piano that had been sitting around Baker House. Someone suggested they push it out of a window, but this idea was shot down: Student handbook guidelines prohibited throwing objects out of dorm windows. But Bruno found that the handbook said nothing about throwing things off of dorm roofs. Handbooks were consulted, and the students discovered that Bruno was right. A motion was passed, and after some planning and prep work, the piano was dropped.</p> <p>Nearly half a century later, Bruno’s legacy lives on, not only in the tradition he started, but in a new unit of measurement. A “Bruno” measures the volume of the dent left after a piano is dropped six stories. Fischler claims that after the drop, the Baker Hall snack bar offered a special on 1.0 Bruno milkshakes (about a liter).</p> <p>The Baker House Piano Drop has since been moved to appropriately coincide with Drop Day, the last day to drop classes for the spring semester. In the months leading up to the event, student organizers work together on a safety plan with guidance from the Baker House manager, the Division of Student Life’s environment, health and safety manager, and representatives from MIT Facilities and MIT Grounds.</p> <p>On Drop Day, Baker House residents whose dorm rooms overlook the drop are informed to keep all windows and blinds shut, and a perimeter is set-up for spectators. That afternoon as drop time nears, students, MIT Police, Cambridge Police, and other community members gather around a grassy clearing by Memorial Drive to watch as the piano falls. The piano is decorated by the Baker House residents and is often filled with candy or confetti, to add to the celebratory nature of the drop. Once it hits the ground, students rush in from the sidelines to grab a few coveted pieces of the demolished instrument.</p> <p>While pianos are certainly harmed in the making of this event, all dropped pianos are nonworking, completely beyond repair, and donated to the residence hall instead of being sent to a junkyard.</p> <p>This year, the Piano Drop was accompanied by a local food fair, and a giant sheet cake,&nbsp;courtesy of Lamarca Bakery, commemorated the event. Local eateries that provided complimentary samples included Top Shelf Cookies, This Haiti, Pierce Brothers Coffee, and High Lawn Farm.</p> <p>Piano Drop organizers also made T-shirts, cleverly parodying the Nike slogan “Just Do It” with “Just Drop It.” In recent years, these shirts have been sold for a good cause, and this year was no different: All proceeds from the T-shirt sales were donated to a charity selected by Baker House residents.</p> Drop Day: After months of planning and safety checks, a donated, irreparable piano is prepared for dropping off of the MIT Baker House roof.Photo: Stephanie Tran/DSL CommunicationsStudent life, Campus buildings and architecture, History of MIT, Special events and guest speakers, Community Letter regarding the Campus Sustainability Task Force final report http://news.mit.edu/2018/letter-regarding-campus-sustainability-task-force-final-report-0406 Fri, 06 Apr 2018 10:00:00 -0400 MIT News Office http://news.mit.edu/2018/letter-regarding-campus-sustainability-task-force-final-report-0406 <p><em>The following email was sent today to the MIT community by Provost Martin Schmidt and Executive Vice President and Treasurer Israel Ruiz.</em></p> <p>To the members of the MIT community,</p> <p>Last September we <a href="http://orgchart.mit.edu/node/6/letters_to_community/campus-sustainability-task-force-report">released</a> the preliminary report of the Campus Sustainability Task Force, which was charged to shape a vision and plan of action for campus sustainability at MIT — today and into the future. The release of the report was followed by a comment period to gather input from faculty, students, and staff. MIT’s commitment and call to action is outlined in the <a href="http://web.mit.edu/cstfreport/">final report</a> shared today, “Pathway to Sustainability by MIT: Incubation, Transformation, and Mobilization.”</p> <p>We invite each of you to further shape this commitment by attending a campus-wide implementation design forum on June 1 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm in Wong Auditorium. At this forum we will leverage the collective intelligence of the MIT community to shape an implementation plan. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Please <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/pathway-to-sustainability-leadership-implementation-design-forum-tickets-44683888714">RSVP</a> no later than May 18 if you would like to attend.</p> <p>We encourage you to read the report, which lays out the five key elements of the pathway to sustainability leadership and calls upon MIT to be:</p> <ol> <li>An <strong>exemplar</strong> that incorporates sustainability considerations into campus infrastructure, operations, student life, and daily decisions.</li> <li>A <strong>model</strong> of organizational transformation for sustainability leadership.</li> <li>A <strong>generator</strong> of meaningful new sustainability ideas and research, building on our history and current capacity for contributing solutions toward vital global needs and priorities.</li> <li>An <strong>innovator</strong> of deep educational experiences for the diverse communities on campus and beyond.</li> <li>A <strong>thoughtful partner</strong> to the local and global communities in which we operate, a clearinghouse of good ideas, and a mobilizer of actors who can implement sustainability solutions.</li> </ol> <p>We and Task Force co-chairs Andrea Campbell and Julie Newman are eager for your guidance to ensure MIT’s success in designing a plan for implementation. We hope you will attend the open forum and help us take the crucial next steps toward a sustainable future for MIT.</p> <p>Sincerely,</p> <p>Martin A. Schmidt<br /> Provost</p> <p>Israel Ruiz<br /> Executive Vice President and Treasurer</p> Letters to the Community, Sustainability, Administration, Faculty, Community, Facilities, Climate change, Renewable energy, Campus buildings and architecture After 16 years as heads of house, Anne and Bill McCants to step down from Burton Conner http://news.mit.edu/2018/after-16-years-heads-house-mccantses-step-down-burton-conner-0126 Search will start soon for new live-in faculty to help lead undergraduate community. Fri, 26 Jan 2018 15:35:01 -0500 Division of Student Life http://news.mit.edu/2018/after-16-years-heads-house-mccantses-step-down-burton-conner-0126 <p>Following a 16-year head-of-house career that spanned three decades and two residence halls, Professor Anne E. C. McCants and her husband Bill have announced that they will step down from their post in Burton Conner House (BC) at the end of this academic year.</p> <p>In an email to all heads of house earlier this month, Professor McCants shared that she is “starting a three-year term as the president of the International Economic History Association, a position which I realize is going to require a lot more travel of me than is feasible while serving as head of a residence hall as large and complex as BC.”</p> <p>Vice President and Dean for Student Life Suzy Nelson offered praise for the McCants’ work as heads of house. “Their experience and perspective have been a great support to me and the entire head of house community, and their commitment to the students of BC will serve as an example for future heads of house to emulate,” says Nelson.</p> <p>McCants is director of the Concourse program for first-year students and a professor of history in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS). Her research and teaching focus on the social and economic history of Europe in the Middle Ages and early modern period. She was named a MacVicar Faculty Fellow in 2004 and is a recipient of numerous honors including the Levitan Prize to support innovative and creative scholarship in SHASS. Also, she has twice won the Arthur C. Smith Award for exemplary service to undergraduate life and learning.</p> <p>Anne and Bill McCants first became heads of house in Green Hall (W5) when it was a residence for women graduate students. They supported the community from 1992 to 2002, a period they recall as “wonderful.” After Professor McCants served consecutive terms as head of History at MIT, the couple found themselves missing the direct student interaction they enjoyed in Green Hall and were inspired to join BC in 2012.</p> <p>Since BC is a cook-for-yourself community, food is a consistent theme in their reflections on the last six years. In an email, the McCantses said, “Every year, we have invited each of the nine floors to the head of house apartment for a home-cooked dinner. Attendance has been high and enthusiastic over all six years.” They particularly remember BC’s annual apple bake event as a showcase for the community’s “creativity, collaboration, and generosity at its best. Great food, fun, and art.”</p> <p>“Anne and Bill McCants cared deeply about student well-being,” says junior Katie Fisher, the BC president. “Burton Conner residents will especially remember them for hosting floor dinners and a finals study break in their apartment, as well as their brownie recipe. This dorm will not be the same without them.”</p> <p>Burton Conner House (W51) is located at 410 Memorial Drive in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was opened in 1939 and houses more than 350 undergraduates. According to its website, BC “consists of nine floors — five on the Burton side, four on the Conner side — each of which has its own unique personality.” The floors are made up of suites — mostly coed with between four and nine residents each — that contain a bathroom and a kitchen. House amenities include lounges and conference rooms, music rooms, a snack bar, recreational table games, a weight room, barbecue pits, and elevators.</p> <p>But for the McCantses, BC is about much more than the building and its contents. “This role has afforded us opportunities for one-to-one interactions with students in times of both joy and crisis, challenge and repose, that are truly unforgettable,” they wrote.</p> <p>Those interested in becoming a head of house should email <a href="http://web.mit.edu/bin/cgicso?query=alias%3DJ-robinson2" target="_blank">Judy Robinson</a>, senior associate dean for residential education, for more information. The search process will kick off with an informal reception on Monday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. in BC for interested tenured faculty. Potential candidates will be able to meet current heads of house and staff to discuss this singular opportunity. A search committee of current heads of house, staff, and students will review candidate qualifications, vet potential finalists with BC residents, and make recommendations to Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart and Dean Nelson. The final selection will be made by Barnhart in time for the appointees to relocate to their new home before the fall term.</p> <p>Please email <a href="http://web.mit.edu/bin/cgicso?options=general&amp;query=Gaskins" target="_blank">Kaye Gaskins</a> to RSVP for the reception by Feb. 9. Those who cannot attend but would still like to apply should email a current CV and cover letter to Robinson explaining why they would like to be BC’s head of house.</p> Burton Conner HousePhoto: Holly HinmanStudent life, Undergraduate, Residential life, Faculty, Campus buildings and architecture, Community, Administration, SHASS, History, Housing Construction begins on a new student residence on Vassar Street http://news.mit.edu/2018/construction-begins-new-student-residence-vassar-street-0123 A next-generation home for MIT undergraduates is underway. Tue, 23 Jan 2018 16:00:01 -0500 Kristin Lund | MIT Facilities http://news.mit.edu/2018/construction-begins-new-student-residence-vassar-street-0123 <p>Working together in a process that is now familiar at MIT, a collaborative team of architects, students, and staff from the Division of Student Life and Campus Construction has developed a next-generation design for the new student residence on Vassar Street.</p> <p>The new building, recently approved by the Cambridge Planning Board, will be constructed on the site of the West Garage parking facility and is expected to be open by the fall of 2020. Site-enabling activities began in September, and the demolition of the West Garage begins this month.</p> <p>New student housing and housing renewal are current top priorities for MIT. The Institute’s commitment is reflected in additional projects such as the planned construction of a new <a href="http://orgchart.mit.edu/node/5/letters_to_community/expanding-graduate-student-housing">graduate residence</a> in Kendall Square and the current <a href="http://news.mit.edu/2016/new-house-to-undergo-wholesale-renovation-1107">renovation of New House</a>. The new Vassar Street residence hall will add 450 undergraduate beds and 12 Graduate Resident Tutor (GRT) apartments to MIT’s housing inventory. The building will also address a range of other student needs expressed through the collective design process.</p> <p><strong>Purposeful community engagement</strong></p> <p>During the project design phase, members of the MIT community — including the New Residences Working Group, comprised of students and staff from the Division of Student Life and Campus Construction — were active participants in the exploration of different design approaches and ideas. Central to this process was the identification of specific goals for the residence.</p> <p>For the MIT participants, priorities included a design that would foster small, close-knit living communities and include a mix of first-year and upper-class students, a variety of community-building spaces, and a community kitchen available for use by students. For the architects, a key goal was a design that would be as unique and bold as other MIT campus architecture yet would fit its surrounding context and fully support the student communities living within.</p> <p>“MIT is working to provide an on-campus housing experience that enhances students’ learning and personal development,” says Suzy M. Nelson, vice president and dean for student life. “The new Vassar Street residence design is the culmination of a process that began in the summer of 2016 to describe the ideal MIT undergraduate residential experience. That includes smaller clusters of students within the larger residence, ample flexible shared space, and food and dining facilities suitable for a wide range of student needs.” Throughout that process, notes Nelson, students have been deeply engaged and vocal about needs and expectations for the new residence. “Their input has been critical all the way along — from the architectural principles to the building design — because they have the best understanding of what works in the existing communities and how those features enhance the student experience.”</p> <p>According to Michael Maltzan of Michael Maltzan Architecture (lead architects on the project), the Vassar Street project design process involved positive, lively debate and enabled the team to collectively seek balance by suggesting and testing various concepts.</p> <p>“For example, we used the length of the site to real advantage,” he explains, “inside and out. The design will help create real and perceived social activity along the entire length.” Maltzan is also a lecturer in MIT's Department of Architecture.</p> <p><strong>A design that guides and enables</strong></p> <p>The building’s main entrance will be centered in its first floor and marked by a soaring blue wall on a grand scale. Surrounded by a mostly color-neutral environment of concrete and brick, this embellished wall is intended to draw the eye and invite social convergence.</p> <p>Inside, the blue color will continue to thread its way through the building, highlighting the paths people will use as they move around. Student rooms will be arranged in clusters that mix single and double rooms with shared community spaces and a GRT apartment.&nbsp; The building’s design is based in part on the “critical paths” students will take to reach their rooms within these clusters. At the same time, the design also encourages engagement among different clusters by making it easy for one to connect with others via well-placed stairways and gathering points.</p> <p>On the ground floor, the residence will offer a 225-seat residential dining facility that is open to members of the community and includes a kitchen where students may also cook for themselves. The ground floor will also house an inviting avenue of common spaces such as study lounges, a private courtyard, and a makerspace area.</p> <p>The ground floor design incorporates a variety of elements intended to foster social engagement. At the entrance, a courtyard with trees and a shaded seating area will welcome residents and community members. Much of the interior ground floor space will be visible or partly visible from the outside through glass walls and ribbons of glazing. Even the private courtyard will yield a sense of connection to the street through greenery-twined screened walls.</p> <p><strong>Sustainability: Aiming high</strong></p> <p>As is the norm for MIT’s design and construction initiatives, the project team considered and prioritized sustainable solutions at every level. With LEED Gold certification as its target, the building’s design incorporates a range of efficiency strategies that are now standard at MIT, including high-performance heating and cooling systems, efficient lighting and appliances, and stormwater management. The design also responds to MIT’s sustainability goals by establishing more than 275 new bicycle parking spaces for residents of the new building.</p> <p>But to go one step further, the Vassar Street project team is incorporating sustainable construction techniques inspired by the Passive House standard that focuses on the energy efficiency of buildings. For example, the team expects the majority of the building’s exterior to be constructed using a panelized exterior system, where the panels are prefabricated and inspected in a factory prior to installation. The impacts of this technique include reducing the energy needed to heat or cool the building, based on exterior panels that allow very little air infiltration and reduce thermal bridging.</p> <p>This construction process may help the residence hall serve as a test case for MIT as it evaluates sustainable options for other campus construction projects going forward.</p> <p>“With this project, MIT continues to invest in a vibrant residential life experience for undergraduate students,” notes Richard Amster, director of campus construction. “This building will present the opportunity to enhance campus life, not only as a new, more sustainable facility but&nbsp;as a building that will&nbsp;enable us to continue&nbsp;renewing&nbsp;our existing housing stock.”</p> <p><strong>Serving its community</strong></p> <p>As envisioned by its collaborative design team, the Vassar Street residence will serve MIT in many other ways as well.</p> <p>It will serve as a reflection of the neighborhood’s character and history, from its industrial-inspired north-facing walls that incorporate the scale and textures of the railway corridor to its south-facing courtyards and green spaces that provide connective pathways to its interior. It will serve the Institute at large with a new community gathering space at its western end, new benches and lighting along Vassar Street, and a welcoming new dining facility. Most important, it will serve its residents by providing vital student spaces close to the center of campus — spaces designed to foster inclusiveness and build community.</p> <p>“I hope the building is an integral part [of students’ lives],” explains Michael Maltzan. “Then I think the building will be doing what architecture does at its very best, which is to be a productive, supportive, provocative armature for life in its most real way.”</p> <p><strong>Current construction activities</strong></p> <p>Construction activities at the Vassar Street site to date have included site-enabling activities such as establishing the necessary utilities for the new residence. The next step — the demolition of the West Garage — is expected to begin this month and be completed by April. At that point, construction of the residence foundation will begin, including the installation of precast concrete piles. Construction of the residence itself is expected to begin this fall.</p> <p>During the construction, safety fencing will enclose the site along its perimeter, and new pedestrian crosswalks will redirect foot traffic to the south side of Vassar Street along the length of the construction site. In addition, a new shared bike lane will be created along the westbound side of Vassar Street (to be shared by bicycles and vehicles). The eastbound pedestrian and cycling lanes on the athletic field side of Vassar will remain unchanged. Two-way traffic will be maintained along Vassar Street, with a traffic detail in place as needed to ensure safety and access.</p> <p>The project team is planning a series of communications to keep the community in the loop throughout the construction process. In addition to notifications that are being emailed and posted online, the team is also conducting information sessions with site abutters at major milestones along the way.</p> <p>For more information about the construction project, please contact Senior Project Manager <a href="mailto: tfanning@mit.edu?subject=Vassar%20St%20Residence%20query">TJ Fanning</a>. Online updates will also be available on the <a href="http://web.mit.edu/facilities/construction/updates.shtml#w46" target="_blank">construction updates page</a> on the Department of Facilities website. Members of the community can subscribe to email notifications regarding construction activities on the updates page as well.</p> A new residence hall on Vassar Street will add 450 undergraduate beds to MIT’s inventory and will serve the Institute at large with a new community gathering space at its western end, new benches and lighting along Vassar Street, and a welcoming new dining facility.Image courtesy Michael Maltzan ArchitectureStudent life, Residential life, Campus buildings and architecture, Cambridge, Boston and region, Facilities, Community, Architecture MIT’s One Broadway Building to be the future home of Brothers Marketplace http://news.mit.edu/2017/mit-one-broadway-building-brothers-marketplace-1214 Announcement delivers on a key commitment by the Institute to the Cambridge community. Thu, 14 Dec 2017 10:15:00 -0500 MIT News Office http://news.mit.edu/2017/mit-one-broadway-building-brothers-marketplace-1214 <p>MIT’s Kendall Square Initiative delivered on a key commitment to the Cambridge community today with the announcement of a fully executed lease with Roche Bros. Supermarkets to open a Brothers Marketplace at One Broadway. A grocery store was the most requested retail use specified by neighborhood residents, local employees, and students during the zoning process for MIT’s Kendall Square development.</p> <p>The 19,000-square-foot Brothers Marketplace is expected to open in summer 2019. The ground floor of One Broadway is currently under construction to make room for the future grocer, as well as a repositioned lobby, a restaurant, and a new home for Dunkin Donuts. The One Broadway renovations are part of a larger development at the site, which will include 300 residential units and an additional 12,800 square feet of retail.</p> <p>“The community’s desire for a grocery store was raised in every conversation that we had with stakeholders during our zoning process,” says Steve Marsh, managing director of MIT’s Real Estate Group, which oversees MIT’s Kendall development. “It is so important to those who live and work in Kendall that we worked to incorporate it in the earliest possible phase of our development. Going forward, we believe that the market will also serve as an anchor for other retail that contributes to a vibrant neighborhood and greater sense of place in the square.”</p> <p>Brothers Marketplace brings an innovative approach to food, with a nod to the legacy of small neighborhood markets from long ago. Shoppers will find grocery essentials and favorite national brands alongside unique offerings in prepared foods made in-store, baked goods, fresh produce, local seafood, antibiotic- and hormone-free meats, local and international cheeses, and offerings from local producers, such as Cambridge’s own Iggy’s Bread and Bonnie’s Jams. Brothers Marketplace provides busy customers the ability to purchase grab-and-go items quickly while also offering an experiential setting for lingering and savoring an array of seasonal foods.</p> <p>The new market is expected to bring about 50 jobs to the neighborhood. Roche Bros. has a long history of working closely with the communities it serves around philanthropy and employment opportunities. The company has won numerous awards for job quality and workforce development. Its partnership with the Chinese Progressive Association and Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, for example, offered immigrant workers the chance to learn English while working in the company’s Downtown Crossing location.&nbsp;</p> <p>“We are excited to open our Brothers Marketplace store in Kendall Square and meet the local community’s longstanding need for a grocery store,” says Rick Roche, co-owner and CEO of Roche Bros. “The MIT Kendall Square neighborhood is a dynamic and growing community, and we hope our neighborhood market becomes a favorite grocery and dining experience for area residents and businesses.”</p> <p>Currently, residents must travel to other market locations outside of the Kendall Square area to shop for food. Longtime East Cambridge resident Al Disidoro describes the difference that the Brothers Marketplace will make: “Now, it will be much easier for my family to pick up items that we need, and we won’t have to plan a trip just for basic groceries. This market will mean a lot to the neighborhood, and we’re grateful to MIT for listening to us and making it happen.”</p> <p>Cambridge City Councilor Tim Toomey, who has advocated for the needs of East Cambridge residents for nearly three decades, expresses his enthusiasm for the new market, saying, “This will be tremendously helpful to the residents of the area. The market will fill a gap that has existed for many years, and its presence will bring a very positive impact to the neighborhood. I commend MIT for leading with this project.”</p> <p>MIT’s <a href="http://kendallsquare.mit.edu/">Kendall Square Initiative</a>, which was granted special permit approval by the City of Cambridge in May 2016, aims to foster a vibrant mixed-use district featuring six new buildings on what are now MIT-owned parking lots in the East Campus/Kendall Square area, including three buildings for research and development, two for housing, and one for retail and office space. When built out, it will add 1.8 million square feet of lab, office, residential, retail, cultural, and academic space, as well as 2 acres of programmed open space, to the already thriving district.</p> <p><a href="http://www.brothers-marketplace.com/">Brothers Marketplace</a> is a neighborhood market from Roche Bros. Supermarkets, featuring handpicked selections of fresh foods, local products, delicious prepared meals, and grocery essentials. Brothers Marketplace has locations in Medfield and Weston, Massachusetts, with plans to open its Waltham location in spring 2018.</p> <p><a href="http://www.rochebros.com/">Roche Bros.</a> is a family business, employing more than 4,800 associates in its 19 Roche Bros., Sudbury Farms and Brothers Marketplace grocery stores. Headquartered in&nbsp;Wellesley, Massachusetts, Roche Bros. offers the highest quality meat, seafood and produce, favorite food brands, full-service catering, and home delivery. Second-generation owners&nbsp;Rick and Ed Roche&nbsp;carry on the family tradition, operating Roche Bros. with a passion for great food and great customer service.&nbsp;</p> Kendall Square will soon be the home of the new Roche Brothers grocery store. Image: Elkus Manfredi ArchitectsCambridge, Boston and region, Real estate, Kendall Square, Community, Campus buildings and architecture Institute on track to meet campus climate action goals http://news.mit.edu/2017/institute-meet-campus-climate-greenhouse-gas-reduction-goals-1121 Plans are in place to meet or exceed greenhouse gas reduction targets. Tue, 21 Nov 2017 10:00:00 -0500 David L. Chandler | MIT News Office http://news.mit.edu/2017/institute-meet-campus-climate-greenhouse-gas-reduction-goals-1121 <p>MIT has been forging ahead on strategies to implement the Institute’s Plan for Action on Climate Change, which was adopted in 2015. Two years after the plan was released, the Office of Sustainability and the Department of Facilities now confirm that MIT is on the path to achieve the plan’s call for at least a 32 percent reduction in campus emissions of greenhouse gases by the year 2030.</p> <p>MIT’s greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by 9 percent from 2016 levels, primarily due to electricity produced via a <a href="http://news.mit.edu/2016/mit-neutralize-17-percent-carbon-emissions-through-purchase-solar-energy-1019">solar power purchase agreement</a> last year with a solar farm in North Carolina, and by 16 percent from the 2014 baseline year – half of the minimum reduction called for. Without accounting for the solar energy purchase, MIT’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 were flat compared to 2016 levels.</p> <p>Using standard greenhouse-gas-accounting practices, MIT is able to reduce its carbon footprint by deducting the full amount of the purchased solar power from the amount of MIT’s grid-purchased electricity in Cambridge. Since the solar-generated electricity is considered to be carbon-free, the net impact is a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions associated with MIT’s greenhouse gas inventory. MIT’s purchase of power from the solar farm is equivalent to 40 percent of the Institute’s current electricity use.</p> <p>While total campus emissions were flat, emissions associated with MIT’s academic buildings (comprising 94 percent of MIT’s total emissions) continued to decline in 2017. This is despite an increase in emissions from several other sources, including an increase in the use of specialty research gases, increases in the carbon-intensity of purchased grid electricity, more severe weather, and new campus buildings added to the academic building portfolio.</p> <p>Energy efficiency measures have offset much of the emissions growth from other areas. In 2017, MIT documented an estimated savings of 581,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and 147,000 therms of thermal energy due to specific energy efficiency measures. This is equal to approximately 1,352 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MTCO2e) or 1 percent of total campus building emissions. Energy efficiency projects implemented included monitoring-based building commissioning, multibuilding utility pipe insulation, and utility water pumping reductions. MIT’s recently updated greenhouse gas inventory for 2017 can be read <a href="http://sustainability.mit.edu/ghginventory#!2017%20ghg%20inventory">here</a>.</p> <p>MIT’s emissions reduction efforts are being informed by a recently completed <a href="https://sustainability.mit.edu/report/mit-campus-greenhouse-gas-emissions-reduction-strategy">report</a> outlining plans for cutting campus greenhouse gas emissions. The report was developed collaboratively by the Department of Facilities, the Office of Sustainability, the Office of Campus Planning, and the Environment, Health and Safety Office. The report lays out a roadmap of strategies, and a timeline for implementing its highest-priority measures over the next five years, providing a clear pathway toward achieving the Institute’s near-term emissions reduction goals.</p> <p>The campus greenhouse gas reduction plan outlined in the report centers on four key approaches: reducing the overall energy use on campus, reducing the use of fossil fuels in campus buildings and vehicles, increasing the use of renewable energy sources to meet campus needs, and minimizing the release of “fugitive” gases from campus operations such as specialty research gases in laboratory buildings. The plan seeks to implement the concept of using the campus as a kind of “living laboratory” to explore innovative and scalable ways of tackling the daunting challenges of climate change, and to use that living laboratory to enhance the educational experience of MIT’s students and provide new hands-on teaching opportunities for its faculty.</p> <p>“Maximizing energy efficiency across our campus operations in both our existing and new buildings is our first priority,” the report says. In addition, reducing the use of traditional fossil fuels on campus, and developing increased sources of renewable energy, both on campus and in the region, are key components. Beyond reducing MIT’s own carbon footprint, the plan is strongly geared toward solutions that have the potential to be replicated or adapted by other institutions across the country and around the world to maximize their impact.</p> <p>“A major enabling strategy in the plan is a Department of Facilities program to comprehensively upgrade building utility meters across campus,” says Bernie Richard,&nbsp;director of the Department of&nbsp;Facilities&nbsp;Systems Engineering Group. “This enhanced metering will allow for accurate and credible validation of energy efficiency measures, as well as help to identify appropriate priorities and opportunities.”</p> <p>The plan also calls for a focus on advancing alternative fuel sources by MIT’s vehicles, potentially adding to rooftop solar panels, and possibly adding new purchases of off-campus renewable energy similar to the existing agreement for the Summit Farms solar plant in North Carolina, which was made possible by the commitment from MIT and its partners.</p> <p>Another major project is the completion of a refurbishment of the campus <a href="http://news.mit.edu/2017/mit-upgrading-cogeneration-plant-to-improve-campus-resiliency-0807">Central Utility Plant</a>, a cogeneration plant that currently supplies about 50 percent of the electricity to the main campus, as well as heat and chilled water to most of the central campus buildings. The project, which will take up to three years to complete, will increase its capacity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 10 percent, by eliminating all use of fuel oil (except for emergencies) and installing newer, more efficient turbines. Overall, it will become both more efficient and cleaner in its output.</p> <p>One new addition to the suite of actions to create greater progress toward MIT’s stretch goal of seeking carbon neutrality is a new class that will be offered in the spring 2018 semester, taught jointly by Director of Sustainability Julie Newman and professor of mechanical engineering Timothy Gutowski. Engaging diverse expertise from MIT’s faculty and staff, the class will explore what might be the challenges and potential solutions necessary to usher MIT into a climate-neutral future.</p> <p>“I am grateful to the members of the greenhouse gas reduction working group for the effort and thought they put into producing this strategy,” says Maria T. Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research. “And I am thrilled that, through the new class being offered this spring, students will participate in a hands-on way in the effort to better understand how MIT can achieve its carbon neutrality aspiration. This is vitally important work, and we need the best ideas we can get.”</p> MIT is on the path to achieve at least a 32 percent reduction in campus emissions of greenhouse gases by the year 2030. Facilities, Climate change, Sustainability, Admissions, Environment, Alternative energy, Energy, Campus buildings and architecture, Emissions, Greenhouse gases New chapter for theater at MIT opens with “Everybody,” a morality play for our time http://news.mit.edu/2017/new-chapter-theater-mit-opens-everybody-morality-play-1120 Starting with inaugural performance in new facility, students immerse themselves in all aspects of making theater. Mon, 20 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0500 School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences http://news.mit.edu/2017/new-chapter-theater-mit-opens-everybody-morality-play-1120 <p>“Everybody,” the inaugural performance in MIT’s new theater building, is a 2017 play based on “Everyman,” the venerable 15th century English morality play. As performed last week at MIT, “Everybody” at once updates a masterwork from the distant past, and represents the future — the great range of new arts opportunities that the new Building W97 is making possible at MIT.</p> <p>Speaking at a preview performance of “Everybody,” Institute Professor Marcus Thompson said, “It’s hard to describe the thrill of the MIT performing arts now having our own ‘lab’ where we can experiment, rehearse, collaborate, create — and share our work with the MIT community and the wider culture.”</p> <p>The first MIT theater production to be designed, rehearsed, built, and staged in W97’s purpose-built space enabled MIT students to be far more immersed in creating and making. From building sets, to problem-solving light and sound installations, to gaining experience in stagecraft and narrative, the students’ activities epitomize the Institute’s maker culture.</p> <p>”Everybody” showcases not only the production values the new space affords, but also reflects the Institute’s priority to engage students in developing new and deepened perspectives on the world. “The MIT mission is to serve humanity,” said Thompson, “and the arts are a powerful way for our students to grow in knowledge and understanding of the human condition.”</p> <p>Standing in the new blackbox theater, illuminated by a spotlight, President L. Rafael Reif said: “The arts are critical to the MIT experience.They give our students tools they need to succeed — not simply as scientists, engineers, and scholars, but as informed contributors to society — as citizens.”</p> <p><strong>A home for innovation and experimentation</strong><br /> <br /> In fulfilling this aspect of their mission, the MIT Theater Arts faculty plan to bring more diverse voices and new plays like “Everybody” to campus, another ambition the ingeniously designed W97 facility makes possible. “There is a great focus at MIT on innovation and experimentation in all the technical and scientific areas, and our students also want and need to know about the comparable range of exciting innovation, research, and experimentation in the arts,” says Anna Kohler, the noted artist and senior lecturer in MIT Theater Arts who directed “Everybody.”</p> <p>The demand is great. Student enrollment in theater arts has doubled since 2012, and Course 21M (Music and Theater Arts, or MTA) currently has the fifth largest enrollment of any course at MIT. In 2015, MIT added a BS in theater to give the most engaged students a broad foundation in theoretical and practical studies as well as intensive practice in performance and design.</p> <p>Kohler adds that as MIT Theater Arts is “transforming more and more into a research program, it is more valuable than ever to bring the voices of experimental playwrights and theater-makers to the MIT student body.”</p> <p>“Everybody” more than fits this criteria because playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins reimagines the original text to give ample space for social critique and technical experimentation. One of the actors, Natalia Guerrero ’14, who majored in physics with a writing minor, says the production showed her that a play is “so much bigger than the text. There’s movement, action, light, sound, music, video — all these tools breathe life into the pages of dialogue, making them into something real and vital.”</p> <p><strong>A feast and a journey</strong></p> <p>The show opens with a medieval banquet on the steps of Salzburg Cathedral, where Hugo von Hoffmannsthal’s 1911 play “Jedermann” is being performed. Kohler included this prelude for historical context. “Jedermann,” like “Everybody,” follows the same basic plot as its source, “Everyman.” The protagonist, Everyman, is on top, until he isn’t. He learns that he is dying and must account for his choices. He journeys toward life’s end unconsoled by friends, family, or material wealth. Only one companion, Good Deeds (or, in the Jacobs-Jenkins version, Love), accompanies him to the grave.</p> <p>When the opening “Jedermann” scene ends, the set is reconfigured. The massive banquet table becomes the stage for “Everybody.” Both actors and audience sit around it — a reminder that everyone partakes equally of this feast. The theater becomes a techno-fiesta adorned with brightly colored Dia de los Muertos decor, mariachi music, and dancing skeletons, all of which lend levity to the sober subject.</p> <p>On this multimedia production, Kohler, an early member of the Wooster Group, a theater company highly regarded for combining live audio and video in surprising ways, collaborated with Joshua Higgason, a technical instructor, and Sara Brown, director of design for MTA. The associate designer, Brandon Sanchez, a senior in electrical engineering and computer science, created several key elements for the set, and students in MTA’s stagecraft class are running the show each night.</p> <p>With its allegorical characters, video interludes, and nontraditional staging, “Everybody” affords the 13 student actors in the ensemble ample opportunities to deepen and expand their performance skills. For many of the students, the show is also their first immersion in all the facets of a full-scale production, from acting, voice, and movement work, to lights, sets, costumes, and props.</p> <p><strong>Creative identity </strong></p> <p>“I don’t love how my body keeps changing,” Everybody laments as she plods to the grave. It’s a moment of awareness anyone might have. We can see ourselves in “Everybody,” which led Kohler to select it for the students. “It’s a profoundly human show … about humans being human together. Given the level of isolation we all experience, particularly around fearful events in life, the need for connecting is very important,” she says.</p> <p>Grace Kuffner, a sophomore double majoring in biology and theater arts, is one of multiple actors who portray Everybody. (The cast draws straws during each performance to determine who will play the lead.) Kuffner observes that while most roles allow an actor to embody “someone entirely different,” Everybody presents a special challenge, because “my character isn't different from me at all. Just like Everybody, I am going to die, and I worry about how, when, why, and with whom. Everybody talks like me, thinks like me, and has some of my own flaws.”</p> <p>Herng Yi Cheng, a senior majoring in mathematics with a concentration in theater arts, says, “In my role as Love, my relationship with Everybody changes depending on who plays that role each night, because different people bring different emotions and acting styles to the character.” For this show, Cheng says he worked “to say every line as if for the first time,” without relying on the “‘muscle memory’ of well-practiced intonation and gestures.”</p> <p>Such skills will serve these actors beyond this production, and beyond the theater. Natalia Guerrero ’14, a research associate at the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, says that for her and her castmates, reconciling creative aspirations with the drive to excel in a STEM field is a question of identity: “We’re all searching for a way to do what seems impossible, to develop fully all the aspects of our creative and our intellectual identity. It’s really affirming, therefore, that in rehearsal, Anna is clear that she’s working with us as actors, as people who have this creative work as part of our identity.”</p> <p>In Kohler’s view, producing plays like “Everybody” at MIT benefits not only those students involved in theater arts, but also the whole student body, who just might need to experience a morality play that addresses some of their anxieties. One student in the audience said it best after the opening performance: “I’m a lot less worried about my p-sets now. This play kind of puts everything in perspective.”</p> <p><em>Story prepared by MIT SHASS Communications</em></p> <p><em>Editorial Team: Sharon Lacey, Emily Hiestand</em></p> For the MIT production of the 2017 play “Everybody,” the medieval banquet scene from Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s 1911 play “Jedermann” was performed as a prelude — to show the historical roots of the themes in “Everybody.” Both plays are based on the 15th century English morality play “Everyman."Photo: Jonathan Sachs, MIT SHASS CommunicationsArts, Theater, Faculty, Students, Campus buildings and architecture, SHASS, Clubs and activities, Classes and programs, Student life MIT to construct new, cutting-edge Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel http://news.mit.edu/2017/mit-construct-new-cutting-edge-wright-brothers-wind-tunnel-1113 Largest, most advanced U.S. academic tunnel will replace 79-year-old facility; Boeing is project’s lead donor with philanthropic commitment. Mon, 13 Nov 2017 09:40:01 -0500 Bill Litant | Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics http://news.mit.edu/2017/mit-construct-new-cutting-edge-wright-brothers-wind-tunnel-1113 <p>MIT has announced it will replace its venerable 79-year-old <a href="http://aeroastro.mit.edu/wbwt">Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel</a> with a new facility that will be the largest and most advanced academic wind tunnel in the United States.</p> <p>To facilitate construction of the new tunnel and ongoing operations, Boeing has made a funding pledge to become the $18-million-project’s lead donor. Boeing’s gift reflects a century-long relationship between the company and MIT that helped ignite the global aerospace industry, and it confirms a commitment to research and development that will fuel future innovation.</p> <p>Like its predecessor, the new tunnel will be operated by the MIT <a href="http://aeroastro.mit.edu/">Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics</a>, and it will retain the Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel name.</p> <p>The new tunnel will:</p> <ul> <li>permit increased test speeds, from the current 150 miles per hour to 200 miles per hour;</li> <li>greatly improve research data acquisition;</li> <li>halve the power requirements of the original 2,000 horsepower fan motor;</li> <li>increase test section volume from 850 cubic feet to 1,600 cubic feet, and test section area from 57 square feet to 80 square feet;</li> <li>improve ability to test autonomous vehicles (“drones”) and aerodynamic components including wings, bodies, and wind turbines; and</li> <li>enable new MIT classes in advanced aerodynamics and fluid mechanics.</li> </ul> <p>Boeing Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President, Engineering Test and Technology Greg Hyslop says, “Few relationships in aerospace can compare to the ties between MIT and Boeing. We’re thrilled and gratified to be part of this critically important renovation that will launch our relationship into the second century of aerospace.”</p> <p>Hyslop noted that a number of Boeing founding leaders studied at MIT, including Donald Douglas Sr. and James S. McDonnell, and Wong Tsu, the first Boeing engineer employed by company founder Bill Boeing. Currently, Boeing employs more than 800 MIT alumni around the world. More than 50 Boeing executives, as well as more than 60 members of the Boeing Technical Fellowship, hold MIT degrees. In addition, Boeing hires on the order of 25 MIT students as interns each year.</p> <p>“We’ve worked with the great people and facilities at MIT over the decades, and with this gift, we will continue in the years to come,” Hyslop says.</p> <p>The current tunnel was dedicated in September 1938. From its early days during World War II, when technicians worked around the clock designing military aircraft, testing has branched out to include ground antenna configurations, aircraft and ground structure aeroelasticity, ski gear, space suits, bicycles, motorcycles, subway station entrances, ship sails, wind turbines, solar cars, and, most recently, a design for a clean, quiet, super-efficient commercial aircraft.</p> <p>Now at the end of its eighth decade, the tunnel is showing its age. It has a drive system that is inefficient, and all aspects of the structure and adjacent controls building are in need of renovations and modernization. As AeroAstro and other MIT departments, labs, and centers use the Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel as a teaching and research tool for classes and projects, Boeing's support of the renovation is vital in enabling MIT to use the tunnel to its maximum potential.</p> <p>“The new Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel will present MIT with a state-of-the-art research and teaching tool for many years to come,” says AeroAstro department head Jaime Peraire. “We greatly appreciate Boeing’s generosity and commitment to future generations of aerospace engineers and their research.”</p> <p>The new tunnel will be constructed on the site of the current one, which will be dismantled. The <a href="https://mitmuseum.mit.edu/">MIT Museum</a> has indicated an interest in preserving artifacts from the 1938 tunnel when they become available. Renovations will be made to MIT Building 17, which houses the control facilities, and direct connection made to AeroAstro workshops. It is expected the project will be completed in 2020.</p> <p>In acknowledgement of the Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel’s storied history, AeroAstro and the MIT Employees’ Activity Committee will sponsor a <a href="https://aeroastro.mit.edu/news-events/wright-brothers-wind-tunnel-open-house-nov-16">tunnel open house</a> on Thursday, Nov. 16, from noon until 1:30 p.m. All members of the MIT community are invited to visit and step inside the tunnel (Building 17) which will be running (at low speed) throughout the event.</p> The new Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel will be situated in the same location as its predecessor. Building 17, which is located to the right of the tunnel and contains its controls, will have a new structure added to the rear for an elevator and access bridge to AeroAstro’s Neumann Hangar.Image courtesy of Imai Keller Moore ArchitectsSchool of Engineering, History of MIT, MIT Museum, Aeronautical and astronautical engineering, Campus buildings and architecture, Facilities, Industry, Giving Tech and Tec: Nanoscale international engagement http://news.mit.edu/2017/tec-and-tech-fostering-engagement-international-nanoscale-1102 Monterrey Tec Chairman José Antonio Fernández Carbajal tours MIT.nano during his first meeting as the newest member of the MIT Corporation. Thu, 02 Nov 2017 12:55:00 -0400 Tina Gilman | MIT.nano http://news.mit.edu/2017/tec-and-tech-fostering-engagement-international-nanoscale-1102 <p>On Oct. 4, MIT.nano and the Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL) received a visit from José Antonio Fernández Carbajal, chair of the board of Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM), casually known as Monterrey Tec. Fernandez Carbajal was at MIT for his first meeting as the newest member of the MIT Corporation&nbsp;and&nbsp;reserved time to tour MIT.nano and get an update on its progress.</p> <p>Monterrey Tec is a private, nonprofit, independent institution in Mexico known for its emphasis on social responsibility and entrepreneurship. It was founded in 1943 by Don Eugenio Garza Sada, who graduated from MIT with a bachelor's degree&nbsp;in civil engineering in 1914, just before the new Cambridge, Massachusetts campus opened.</p> <p>In 2015, MIT and Monterrey Tec established a program, MIT-Tec, designed to support the Tec in its quest to become a world-class research university. Initiated by Vladimir Bulović, associate dean for innovation and director of MIT.nano, and led by MTL Director Jesús del Alamo, the&nbsp;program hosts research visits of Monterrey Tec’s students, postdocs, and faculty at MIT in the general areas of nanotechnology and nanoscience.&nbsp;To date, eight different research groups at MIT have already hosted extended stays for&nbsp;five Monterrey Tec students, seven postdocs, and four professors. Eight more are scheduled to arrive in the next few months. Their areas of research encompass microfluidics, nanostructures for biomedical applications, telecommunications, nanoscale 3-D printing, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), and organ-on-a-chip.</p> <p>The hands-on research underpins a robust and&nbsp;growing program of MIT-Tec educational exchanges. In May 2016, the "MIT Day at the Tec: Workshop on Sensors and Actuators" hosted 11 MIT and 12 Tec technical presentations at the Monterey Tec campus. Over the last three years at MIT, more than 70 Tec students, postdocs, and professors have attended the MTL nanoLab, a one-week hands-on course on nanotechnology.</p> <p>Monterrey Tec is an esteemed partner of MIT.nano, which will open its new building&nbsp;in&nbsp;mid-2018. Visiting Monterrey Tec students, postdocs, and faculty will be conducting research in the new state-of-the-art facility, including the prototyping facility, which will be named in recognition and appreciation of Monterrey Tec and its valued partnership with MIT.</p> Touring the MIT.nano site are (l-r) Jesús del Alamo, director of the MIT Microsystems Technology Laboratories; Vladimir Bulović, associate dean for innovation and director of MIT.nano; José Antonio Fernández Carbajal, chariman of Monterrey Tec; and Marco Munoz, senior director of MIT’s Office of Philanthropic Partnerships.Image courtesy of MIT Microsystems Technology LaboratoriesSchool of Engineering, School of Science, Campus buildings and architecture, International initiatives, Nanoscience and nanotechnology, MIT.nano, Mexico, Collaboration Cambridge City Council approves MIT’s Volpe zoning petition http://news.mit.edu/2017/cambridge-city-council-approves-mit-volpe-zoning-petition-1023 The 14-acre underutilized parcel in Kendall Square is set to be reimagined as a vibrant community. Mon, 23 Oct 2017 23:21:05 -0400 MIT News Office http://news.mit.edu/2017/cambridge-city-council-approves-mit-volpe-zoning-petition-1023 <p>On Monday night, the Cambridge City Council voted to approve MIT’s petition to rezone the site where the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center currently operates.</p> <p>In an <a href="http://news.mit.edu/2017/agreement-redevelop-volpe-center-kendall-square-0118">agreement</a> with the federal government, MIT will build a new headquarters for the Volpe Center on approximately four acres of the parcel, and now with the city’s zoning approval, the Institute will advance a detailed plan to redevelop the remaining 10 acres. MIT’s proposal includes housing, commercial and lab space, retail, open space, and a variety of active community uses.</p> <p>“The Kendall Square&nbsp;innovation ecosystem&nbsp;has demonstrated&nbsp;a remarkable&nbsp;capacity to reinvent itself and evolve over time,” says MIT President L. Rafael Reif. “In&nbsp;that&nbsp;long evolution, the federal&nbsp;government’s&nbsp;decision to keep the Volpe Transportation Systems&nbsp;Center here with a reinvigorated presence, together with MIT’s plans to redevelop the remaining parcel, point the way to a compelling future. In guiding the redevelopment, our goal is to make the region’s innovation ecosystem even stronger, creating a dynamic and welcoming place to live and work, which will attract the industries of tomorrow and fuel academic and commercial research collaborations — all of which will help Kendall Square thrive over time by sustaining its creative evolution.”</p> <p>The Institute’s zoning <a href="https://volpe.mit.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/PUD-7-Zoning-Ordinance-Amendment-10-19-2017.pdf">petition</a> was developed through a collaborative process involving the MIT community, residents from abutting neighborhoods, the Planning Board, city staff, and the City Council. Its components include:</p> <ul> <li>approximately 1.7 million square feet of commercial development, including retail and active street uses;</li> <li>approximately 1,400 housing units, representing 40 percent of the development and including 280 permanently subsidized affordable units and 20 middle-income units;</li> <li>a minimum of 5 percent innovation space for entrepreneurship and incubator activity;</li> <li>approximately 2.5 acres of open space on the MIT-owned land, which is a minimum of 25 percent of the site;</li> <li>height limits ranging from 170 feet to 500 feet (one residential building is slated for a potential 500-foot height); and</li> <li>retail and active street uses in a minimum of 65 percent of ground floors on the main streets of the parcel.</li> </ul> <p>“It’s the mix of commercial, residential, open space, retail, innovation space, active street use, and community space that will allow the Volpe site to ultimately become what we imagine,” says Israel Ruiz, MIT’s executive vice president and treasurer. “We’ve spent a lot of time looking at vital innovation centers around the world and know that each of these ingredients must be in place in order to create a highly functioning, nimble, and synergistic community.”</p> <p>A zoning petition is essentially a request of a municipality to grant development rights that don’t currently exist. Development rights come in the form of heights, building sizes, and uses, and allow a property owner to develop its project in a manner that is most fitting for the site and its surrounding context. “The Volpe parcel is in the center of the city’s business district on a major transportation node,” says Steve Marsh, MIT’s managing director of real estate. “It’s the perfect location to build because it will augment the city’s thriving knowledge economy and will create a stronger sense of community for all involved.”</p> <p>In exchange for commercial development rights, property owners are expected to provide benefits to the broader community. “We had some ideas about what might be beneficial for residents and businesses in the area, but we were delighted to work closely with residents, Kendall organizations, and city officials to learn more about the community’s most pressing needs in the context of our proposal,” Marsh adds.</p> <p>As a result, MIT’s approved zoning petition includes <a href="https://volpe.mit.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/2017-10-23_MIT-Volpe_Final_Commitment_Letter.pdf">commitments</a> to a variety community benefits:</p> <ul> <li>implementation of a multiuse community path on MIT’s property in the Grand Junction railroad corridor;</li> <li>creation of an on-site community center with a job connector program;</li> <li>contribution toward transit improvement programs;</li> <li>support for ongoing innovation arts programs in Kendall Square;</li> <li>contribution to Cambridge’s fund for nonprofits; and</li> <li>support for ongoing community event programming in Kendall Square.</li> </ul> <p>As required by the City of Cambridge, the project will also contribute to the city’s Affordable Housing Trust, which provides resources to individuals and families seeking housing. This is in addition to the approximately 300 low- and middle-income units that will be included in the development.</p> <p>At Monday’s City Council meeting, Provost Martin Schmidt expressed the Institute’s appreciation to all involved in the zoning review: “MIT is grateful for the intense collaboration that has brought us all to this milestone in the Volpe process. From the outset, we knew that we couldn’t do it alone — and we didn’t want to. Along the way, MIT’s petition was improved by the aspirations of residents, the vision of public officials, and the careful examination by city staff.”</p> <p>MIT hosted more than 80 community meetings to gather input over the last nine months. “We tried to collect feedback in a variety of ways,” says Sarah Gallop, MIT’s co-director of government and community relations. “We planned traditional meetings with presentations and discussions, interactive workshops to promote dialogue, and large-scale events including a block party and a HUBweek showcase called ‘MIT/Kendall Square: Innovation Playground,’ to demonstrate ‘what could be’ on the Volpe site.”</p> <p>In response to the urging of MIT graduate students and the City Council, the zoning also includes a <a href="http://orgchart.mit.edu/node/5/letters_to_community/expanding-graduate-student-housing">commitment</a> to build 950 new graduate student units, which will allow the Institute to house more than 50 percent of its current graduate student population on campus.&nbsp;</p> <p>At the recent <a href="http://news.mit.edu/2017/art-and-dirt-bringing-cambridge-and-mit-communities-together-1023">groundbreaking</a> of MIT’s newest graduate residence hall, MIT Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart said: “The new 450-unit facility will not only increase MIT’s graduate student housing stock, but will provide an exciting center for our students to connect with the world, including other members of the MIT community, residents of the City of Cambridge, Kendall-based entrepreneurs, and innovation and industry partners.”</p> <p>Approximately 40 people spoke at Monday’s City Council meeting during the public comment period, predominately in favor of approving the zoning petition. Supporters cited the proposal’s <a href="https://volpe.mit.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/VOLPE-CommunityBenefitsSummary-2017-10-16-1.pdf">community benefits</a> and specific zoning components that they believe are good for the city — such as affordable housing, the community center, the Grand Junction community path, the job connector program, and the publicly accessible open space.</p> <p>After a lengthy discussion among City Councillors, the body moved to approve the zoning petition. In summarizing the effort, Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons said: “We have a good relationship with MIT, and we will continue to have productive dialogue. This is the first step in a series of steps.”</p> <p>Now that the City Council has approved the zoning for the site, the next step for the Volpe project will be formulation of a planned unit development, or PUD, for the parcel. The PUD will further define the buildings, uses, and spaces for the overall proposal. This work will be done in conjunction with the Planning Board and city staff within the context of a public review process.</p> <p>Once built and operating, MIT’s Volpe development will contribute an estimated $23 million in taxes annually to the City of Cambridge on what was previously a tax-exempt site.</p> <p>More information about the Volpe project is available at <a href="http://volpe.mit.edu/">volpe.mit.edu</a>.</p> A rendering of the open space as imagined in a site plan example, from the corner of Third Street and Broadway. Key features include public gathering spaces, retail kiosks, and water representing the continuation of Broad Canal. Courtesy of Elkus ManfrediKendall Square, Development, Real estate, Campus buildings and architecture, Cambridge, Boston and region, Community, Administration, Government, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E), Startups Art and dirt: Bringing the Cambridge and MIT communities together http://news.mit.edu/2017/art-and-dirt-bringing-cambridge-and-mit-communities-together-1023 MIT’s graduate student housing groundbreaking and a Community Art Center mural installation are cause for celebration. Mon, 23 Oct 2017 14:50:01 -0400 MIT News Office http://news.mit.edu/2017/art-and-dirt-bringing-cambridge-and-mit-communities-together-1023 <p>About 200 people joined in a lively ceremony in Kendall Square, Cambridge to break ground for the Institute’s new graduate student residence hall and to take a first look at the Community Art Center’s 400-foot “My Vision Mural” that stretches along Main Street in front of the construction site.</p> <p>The event was the capstone activity of the Institute’s HUBweek showcase “MIT/Kendall Square: Innovation Playground” — an interactive open house with drone-racing, digital graffiti, LEGO art, virtual reality, a GIF booth, and augmented reality — which drew around 750 thrill-seekers during the course of the day. Now in its third year, HUBweek is a “festival of the future” that celebrates science, art, and technology. MIT is a founding sponsor, along with Harvard University, <em>The Boston Globe, </em>and Massachusetts General Hopsital.</p> <p>The three components of the day — the groundbreaking, mural installation, and the Innovation Playground — were celebrated together because of their mutual focus on building community, bringing increased vibrancy to Kendall Square, and sharing the broader Cambridge community’s collective story.</p> <p><strong>Main Street mural</strong></p> <p>The Community Art Center (CAC), located in The Port neighborhood of Cambridge, runs a Teen Media Program that creates community-sourced public art installations. Previously, MIT has worked with CAC youth on a mural that was displayed at MIT’s construction site for the new Pfizer building at 610 Main Street and is now permanently located at the CAC.</p> <p>A new 32-panel mural has been installed along Main Street and represents the first phase of the MIT-sponsored multi-year “Creative Current” initiative with the CAC. The joint MIT/CAC effort is designed to build artistic and professional skills in youth and create connections between Port residents, Kendall Square workers, and the MIT community.</p> <p>MIT is focused on exposing Community Art Center youth to the work of the architectural and construction industries that make projects like the Kendall Square Initiative a reality. At site visits, students met with the architectural firm Perkins and Will, as well as Turner Construction to learn about those professions. In addition, youth visited the “Kendall Square Observatory” at the MIT Media Lab to learn about digital platforms dedicated to urban planning.</p> <p>CAC Executive Director Eryn Johnson, who described the project in detail and introduced the audience to a young person who shared how the “My Vision Mural” process impacted her, offered her reflections during the program: “We thank MIT for its partnership and collaboration on this project; displaying the installation at such a prominent location in Kendall Square provides our artists with great visibility for their creations and will hopefully generate a lot of community interaction.”</p> <p><strong>Groundbreaking</strong></p> <p>The new MIT graduate student facility — which was designed by the architectural firms Perkins and Will and NADAA and is being built by Turner Construction — will create 450 new graduate student units and is the first of MIT’s Kendall Square projects to begin construction.</p> <p>“We see the new graduate student residence hall as the anchor of MIT’s Kendall Square Initiative,” observed MIT Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart during the program. “Our residence halls are really unique places. They are so much more than traditional dormitories. They are vibrant living-learning communities where people with diverse backgrounds and cultures come together to solve hard problems, to have fun, to contribute to the world at large and, through that process, forge bonds for life.”</p> <p>Expected to be completed in 2020, the building will also include makerspace, retail, an innovation and entrepreneurship hub, and space for MIT’s Admissions Office to introduce prospective students and their families to the MIT student life and learning experience — and, like the youth from the Community Art Center — to showcase all that MIT is doing to make a better world. The public spaces at the street level of the building will welcome the broader community to shop, eat, attend events, and participate in innovative programs.</p> <p>In thanking the many members of the project team, MIT director of construction Richard Amster noted that the multi-faceted facility will serve “the next generation of students, researchers, innovators, alumni, citizens, taxpayers, and residents.” Amster also observed that “visitors arriving on the MBTA will finally know where MIT is.”</p> <p>MIT Graduate Student Council officer Krithika Ramchander shared her excitement about the new building and thanked the MIT administration for starting its construction before any of the other buildings and for&nbsp;involving graduate students in the planning process. “Kendall Square is a terrific location and the building is beautiful,” she added.</p> <p><strong>“Positive things”</strong></p> <p>Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons reflected on the event: “This celebration is about positive things happening in our community.”</p> <p>Regarding the new graduate student housing, she said: “Some of you might not think that’s much of a big deal, but let me tell you why it is. Placing more graduate students in campus housing relieves pressure on the housing market in Cambridge. That’s good for everyone. Thank you to MIT.”</p> <p>The mayor also praised the mural project: “The youth from the Community Art Center have created another stunning work of art, and a good citizen of Cambridge — MIT —&nbsp;has brought the teens’ work out into the public to showcase their hopes, dreams, and desires for the world. Your work is creative, strong, inspiring, and impactful.”</p> <p>Since the groundbreaking event took place across the street from where the new residence hall is being built, dirt was brought in from the actual site for the ceremonial shoveling — and the shovels and construction hats were all decorated by youth from the CAC’s Teen Media Program.</p> <p>“I like the synergy,” Simmons concluded.</p> Ceremonial groundbreaking, left to right: City Councillor David Maher, MIT Director of Construction Richard Amster, MIT Graduate Student Council officer Krithika Ramchander, MIT Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart, MIT Real Estate Managing Director Steve Marsh, City Councillor Tim Toomey, Mayor E. Denise Simmons, City Councillor Craig Kelley, CAC student Brandy Altidor, City Councilor Marc McGovern, CAC Executive Director Eryn Johnson, State Rep. Mike Connolly, Lela Cheung, MIT Co-Director of Government and Community Relations Sarah Gallop, City Councillor Leland Cheung, MIT Vice Chancellor Ian Waitz, and MIT Dean for Student Life Suzy Nelson.Photo: Allan DinesKendall Square, Cambridge, Boston and region, Arts, Community, Campus buildings and architecture, Graduate, postdoctoral, Housing, Facilities 3Q: Ian Waitz on graduate housing, other priorities http://news.mit.edu/2017/3q-ian-waitz-graduate-housing-other-priorities-1018 Vice chancellor reflects upon his first few months on the job, progress to date, and future plans. Wed, 18 Oct 2017 16:30:01 -0400 Office of the Vice Chancellor http://news.mit.edu/2017/3q-ian-waitz-graduate-housing-other-priorities-1018 <p><em>In April 2017, MIT Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart appointed Ian A. Waitz as vice chancellor. The former dean of engineering has been in his new post since July, and is responsible for leading and integrating the offices of undergraduate and graduate education. His early priorities include enhancing </em><em>the first-year student academic experience; improving areas such as advising, professional development, diversity and inclusion, and well-being; and implementing the residential education innovations called for in the&nbsp;</em><a href="https://future.mit.edu/" target="_blank"><em>Institute-wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education</em></a><em>. Waitz recently spoke about his first few months on the job, progress to date, and future plans.</em></p> <p><strong>Q: </strong>Let’s start with an issue that’s received a lot of attention as of late: graduate student housing. The chancellor, provost, and executive vice president and treasurer have <a href="http://orgchart.mit.edu/node/5/letters_to_community/expanding-graduate-student-housing" target="_blank">written to graduate students</a> saying that they will add 950 beds to MIT’s graduate student housing stock and evaluate graduate student housing needs every three years. These developments stem in part from the work that you and the Graduate Student Housing Working Group have been doing since late August. Can you tell us more about this group and the interim assessment you just released?</p> <p><strong>A: </strong>I want to start with a bit of background and context before getting to the interim assessment. As I discovered when I was a dean and department head, space at MIT is at the heart of most things — whether it’s new, old, or to-be-renovated space, and whether it’s for research, teaching, or administration. MIT’s relatively compact footprint along the Charles River, while often challenging, contributes to our culture, deep spirit of collaboration, and close connections with the cities of Cambridge and Boston. Likewise, where students live deeply influences their overall experience here, including their academic experience. In that sense, we must think of MIT not only as an institution, but also as a home for our students while they are here.</p> <p>I had those realities in mind as the chair of the Graduate Student Housing Working Group. In fact, my office cannot complete part of our charge, enhancing the graduate academic experience, unless we partner with the Division of Student Life to explore issues like housing.</p> <p>The Graduate Student Housing Working Group is, first and foremost, about research and intelligence-gathering, so we can educate ourselves and the MIT community about the complexities of our current and future housing situation. I have received a crash course over the last six&nbsp;weeks! I also give a lot of credit to the Graduate Student Council and the MIT <a href="http://gsan.mit.edu" target="_blank">Graduate Student Apartments Now</a> (GSAN) efforts for accelerating the pace of our efforts, as the formal charge of the group by the chancellor only <a href="http://orgchart.mit.edu/node/5/letters_to_community/update-graduate-student-housing" target="_blank">happened this past August</a>.</p> <p>As we mention in the interim assessment — which, in many ways, bolsters the prior <a href="http://orgchart.mit.edu/sites/default/files/reports/20140603_Provost_GradHousingFinal.pdf" target="_blank">Clay Report</a>&nbsp;— MIT has been wrestling with the issue for some time now. And we’ve made significant progress. If you include new, renovated, and repurposed residences like Sidney Pacific, the Warehouse, Ashdown, and 70 Amherst, over the last two decades the Institute has invested $700 million&nbsp;providing for 1,470 new beds. In 2020 with the opening the Kendall Square graduate tower there will be an additional 454 beds (about 250 net new beds after Eastgate is closed). We currently house 38 percent&nbsp;of our 6,500 graduate students in MIT housing. Almost 95 percent&nbsp;of new students and 60 percent&nbsp;of continuing students who apply for single grad housing get it, and that rate is about 75 percent&nbsp;for family housing.</p> <p>However, despite our significant increases in on-campus housing, we have about 1,000 more students living off-campus than two decades ago (now about 4,000 total). The rapid increase in off-campus rental rates is driving up their cost of living. Twenty-three percent&nbsp;of the off-campus students who responded to our survey say they would prefer to live on campus for their entire program, which is double the percentage that responded similarly just four years ago.</p> <p>The report also provides a lot of new knowledge on what housing attributes our graduate students value. We derived this from a rigorous conjoint analysis, which we pursued on the advice of experts in the Sloan School of Management. We had a general sense of these things in the past, but not in a way that we could quantify them (and understand how they differ among different segments of the population). For example, we learned that in general our graduate students value price, unit type, short commute time, air conditioning, and access to grocery/restaurants most highly. They have a lower willingness to pay for bedroom size, building amenities, sense of community, parking, and fitness centers.&nbsp;When we combine willingness-to-pay for different housing attributes with detailed costing knowledge, we can identify new capacity options that best satisfy student needs while minimizing the financial impacts on MIT.</p> <p><strong>Q: </strong>What have you learned from working so closely with graduate students and where does the working group go from here?</p> <p><strong>A:</strong> While our report offers a lot of data and useful insights, I think the real value is that it strengthens our ongoing partnership with our graduate students. We all have a vested interest in the outcome, but ultimately, they are the folks who will inhabit these spaces.</p> <p>All of us — administrators and the graduate students on the working group — did this study and learned about its results together, and in turn, shared it with the entire MIT community. I am committed to that kind of transparency for all the issues my office tackles.</p> <p>In terms of next steps for the working group, we will use the results of the conjoint analysis to build a housing simulator to test different scenarios for fulfilling MITs new commitment to graduate housing capacity. It will be interesting and rewarding&nbsp;for all of us to apply these methods and help shape the future graduate housing landscape at MIT. All members of the MIT community are <a href="http://mit.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0dmvmmdRUhwIu4B" target="_blank">welcome to offer their comments</a> on the Graduate Student Housing Working Group preliminary recommendations.</p> <p>I know some were worried that with the integration of the offices of undergraduate and graduate education (now both in the Office of the Vice Chancellor), grad students in particular might lose representation or a seat at the table. That’s not been the case with the housing working group, and it won’t be with any other issue.</p> <p><strong>Q: </strong>What else are you and your office focused on?</p> <p><strong>A:</strong> My office is engaged in a few key priorities right now. We are integrating two existing offices —&nbsp;the Offices of Undergraduate Education and the Office of the Graduate Education, or OUE and OGE —&nbsp;into one (hopefully seamless!) organization that does an even better job supporting our students, faculty, and staff. The aim is to better coordinate student services and functions where we can, and also provide customized, robust support and advocacy for undergraduates and graduates.</p> <p>As part of that I have held a series of all-hands meetings with staff and students, and it has been a gratifying process. The outputs have been stellar. Staff members have shared their hopes for and fears about the new organization; presented different ways to collaborate; designed potential organizational structures; and defined a fantastic set of collective values, with a strong focus on diversity and inclusion.</p> <p>While we have a lot more work to do in shaping the organization, we are not standing still.</p> <p>Already, offices and individuals have stepped up to refresh the first-year undergraduate orientation, with a focus on encouraging students to take advantage of opportunities to explore different majors. With help from faculty from all five MIT schools plus&nbsp;administrators&nbsp;and students, we kicked off an ambitious endeavor to evaluate how to improve the first-year academic experience for undergraduates. In addition, the former dean of OUE, Denny Freeman, is expanding his popular “<a href="http://news.mit.edu/2017/adding-hands-on-practice-to-science-engineering-classes-0130" target="_self">Mens et Manus” advising seminar</a>. Stay tuned for more details about our plans in the coming weeks.</p> <p>At the graduate level, in addition to the work on housing, we are focusing on several other issues, including how to provide more professional development opportunities.</p> <p>While there is a lot to do, I am having a huge amount of fun. It is extremely rewarding work. And the people I have the opportunity to work with are great — especially the students with whom I have gotten to work much more closely in this role.</p> MIT representatives attend a groundbreaking ceremony for a major new graduate student residence hall along Main Street in Kendall Square. Left to right: Peter Cummings, executive director for administration in the Division of Student Life; David Friedrich, senior director of housing operations and renewal in the Division of Student Life; Krithika Ramchander, treasurer of the Graduate Student Council; Cynthia Barnhart, chancellor; Suzy Nelson, vice president and dean for student life; Dennis Collins, director of residential life for capital renewal in the Division of Student Life; and Ian Waitz, vice chancellor.Photo: Allan DinesStudent life, Campus buildings and architecture, Facilities, Graduate, postdoctoral, Chancellor, Kendall Square, Cambridge, Boston and region Letter regarding Campus Sustainability Task Force report http://news.mit.edu/2017/letter-regarding-campus-sustainability-task-force-report-0928 Thu, 28 Sep 2017 11:00:41 -0400 MIT News Office http://news.mit.edu/2017/letter-regarding-campus-sustainability-task-force-report-0928 <p><em>The following email was sent today to the MIT community by Provost Martin Schmidt and Executive Vice President and Treasurer Israel Ruiz.</em></p> <p>To the members of the MIT community,</p> <p>Two years ago we convened the Campus Sustainability Task Force (CSTF), charged to shape a vision and plan of action for campus sustainability at MIT. The CSTF has now drafted its report, <a href="http://web.mit.edu/cstfreport-pre/">Pathway to Sustainability Leadership by MIT</a>, which reflects input from students, faculty, staff, and alumni since the CSTF launch in 2015. In releasing the preliminary report, we are opening a comment period through November, during which we are actively seeking feedback from across the MIT community.</p> <p>We invite you to attend a campus-wide forum to discuss the report on Tuesday, October 17, 12:00 pm–1:30 pm in the Millikan Room (E53-482). Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP if you would like to attend.</p> <p>We encourage you to read the report, which lays out the five key elements of the pathway to sustainability leadership. It is important for all voices to be heard as Institute leadership considers the task force’s recommendations. We and task force co-chairs Andrea Campbell and Julie Newman are eager to hear your thoughts, and hope you will attend the open forum. You may also send comments to sustainablemit@mit.edu.</p> <p>Sincerely,</p> <p>Marty Schmidt<br /> Provost</p> <p>Israel Ruiz<br /> Executive Vice President and Treasurer</p> Letters to the Community, Administration, Students, Campus buildings and architecture, Climate change, Facilities, Sustainability, Renewable energy, Community, Faculty John Durant plans a new era for the MIT Museum http://news.mit.edu/2017/john-durant-plans-new-era-for-the-mit-museum-0927 A new purpose-built museum will be an experimental place for wider conversations. Wed, 27 Sep 2017 16:55:01 -0400 School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences http://news.mit.edu/2017/john-durant-plans-new-era-for-the-mit-museum-0927 <p>In the 12 years since John Durant took the helm at the MIT Museum, he has opened up the ground floor to gain street-level visibility, launched the Cambridge Science Festival, and grown attendance from around 50,000 to nearly 150,000 visitors a year.<br /> <br /> Now, as he makes plans for a new, purpose-built museum in MIT's burgeoning gateway location in Kendall Square, Durant says he is looking forward to offering the public deeper insights into the research under way at MIT.<br /> <br /> "This is the big opportunity for the MIT Museum to be something like what MIT and the public deserve," says Durant, who is both the Mark R. Epstein Director of the MIT Museum and a member of the faculty in MIT's School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS). “In our new location, we can anchor and mediate MIT's relationship with the wider community.”<br /> <br /> Engaging with the public is more critical than ever today, Durant says, because the value of science and of evidence-based reasoning has been called into question by some segments of society. “We have suddenly plunged into a situation — briefly, I hope — where it's fashionable in some groups to believe that facts can be as you'd like them to be,” he says.<br /> <br /> Yet, understanding science is necessary to make informed decisions on issues both private and public — from individual health care to national defense, says Durant, who received his PhD in the history and philosophy of science. “There are a multitude of ways in which science is relevant to our daily lives whether people know it or not,” he says. “Much of public policy has scientific aspects and dimensions.”<br /> <br /> <strong>The human world at the core of MIT's mission</strong></p> <p>Durant's faculty home is in the SHASS-based Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS), whose humanities and social science researchers explore science, technology, and medicine to understand the human challenges at the core of MIT's mission. STS is one of several programs that make SHASS the hub of the Institute’s major initiatives focused on furthering public engagement with science and technology. The school also trains some of the world's finest science journalists via the Graduate Program in Science Writing as well as the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship (KSJ) program. <a href="https://undark.org/" target="_blank"><em>Undark Magazine</em></a>, KSJ's digital offering published by KSJ Director Deborah Blum, explores ideas and endeavors at the intersection of science with political, cultural, and economic realities.</p> <p>“Creative expression and the critical examination of ideas in their social and historical contexts are essential to the work of any museum, and particularly to the work of the MIT Museum," says Durant. "This is why we are always looking for ways to incorporate the work of MIT faculty in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. A great example is our forthcoming special exhibition, 'The Enemy."</p> <p>This exhibition, opening in October, emerges from collaboration between photojournalist Ben Khelifa and Fox Harrell,&nbsp;an&nbsp;MIT faculty member with a joint appointment in Comparative Media Studies and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence&nbsp;Laboratory. "'<a href="https://mitmuseum.mit.edu/enemy" target="_blank">The Enemy</a>' uses virtual reality technology to&nbsp;stretch visitors' senses as well as their&nbsp;emotional and moral imaginations," Durants says, "and we hope that it&nbsp;will foster more understanding in one of the places where it is most needed — in&nbsp;situations of human&nbsp;conflict.”</p> <p><strong>Wider conversations</strong></p> <p>Durant notes that the MIT Museum is also a place where visitors can get an inside look at the work that takes place at a world-class research institute. “People can understand a bit about MIT by engaging with the ideas and theories that MIT folks engage with,” he says, in research that ranges broadly across many fields.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> “MIT's humanistic disciplines — history, philosophy, cultural studies — and the social sciences all bring distinctive, analytic voices to bear on questions to do with science and its place in the wider society," says Durant. "They allow us to have wider conversations. They provide context, illuminating the broader implications of scientific research."<br /> <br /> The contributions of artists, composers, and playwrights are equally important. “You get radically different conversations when you bring the sensibilities of accomplished artists to the table,” Durant observes. “If you want to understand Einstein's theory of relativity, you can take a class or read a textbook. Or, you could see a production of ‘Einstein's Dreams’ [a play based on the novel of the same name by SHASS Professor Alan Lightman]. ... This play takes you into the world of Einstein's thought experience — as only an imaginative writer can do.”<br /> <br /> Einstein's theory of relativity can be difficult to understand, but making such material accessible to all is one of the key goals of the MIT Museum, Durant says. “We're trying to find ways to engage people in science that's legendarily hard — like quantum mechanics,” he says. “We aim to make even conceptually tough science accessible to more people.”</p> <p><strong>An experimental space</strong></p> <p>For example, this past February, the MIT Museum hosted an evening of live theater and conversation based around a current research project in quantum mechanics that is co-led by Professor David Kaiser, a physicist and historian of science. Durant says he expects the museum will find even more ways to bring scientists and other MIT researchers together with the public in the Kendall Square location, where it will have 57,000+ square feet of galleries, classrooms, and state-of-the-art program and performance spaces. The new museum is expected to open toward the end of 2020.<br /> <br /> “Our new museum will be an experimental place,” says Durant, who is committed to the idea that the MIT Museum can operate along the same principles as the Institute as a whole. “We want to practice what we preach as a research university: Try new ideas, test them, and report our findings.”<br /> &nbsp;</p> <h5><em>Story prepared by MIT SHASS Communications<br /> Editorial and Design Director: Emily Hiestand<br /> Senior Writer: Kathryn O'Neill</em></h5> <p><br /> &nbsp;</p> “The new museum will be an experimental place," says John Durant, director of the MIT Museum and a faculty member of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. "We are committed to the idea that the MIT Museum can operate along the same principles as the Institute as a whole. We want to try new ideas, test them, and report our findings.”Photo: Jon SachsMIT Museum, Staff, Kendall Square, Humanities, Arts, Social sciences, Technology and society, Science communications, Program in STS, SHASS, Campus buildings and architecture, Knight fellowship, Science writing, Comparative Media Studies/Writing Building 31 powers back up http://news.mit.edu/2017/building-31-robots-drones-0925 Members of AeroAstro and MechE are returning to a dramatically renovated building, with robots, drones, and even a Corvette in tow. Sun, 24 Sep 2017 23:59:59 -0400 Mark Veligor | School of Engineering http://news.mit.edu/2017/building-31-robots-drones-0925 <p>A $52 million renovation of the 90-year-old Building 31 on MIT’s campus has transformed the space into a gleaming home for research in autonomy, turbomachinery, energy storage, and transportation. The three-year project added nearly 7,000 square feet of new space and doubled Building 31's capacity for faculty, students, and researchers.</p> <p>Faculty and students are moving back in with their robots, drones, and even a Corvette in tow. “The architects even redesigned an entrance to be wide enough to drive a full-scale car in,” says Amos Winter, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering (MechE), who works on automotive technologies.</p> <p>At the heart of the building is the new 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. The space was enabled by a gift from MIT alumnus Kent Kresa. Professor Jonathan How from the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AeroAstro) describes the space as “one of the largest custom-designed, dedicated spaces for robotics research that I am aware of in academia.”</p> <div class="cms-placeholder-content-video"></div> <p>New building features include indoor and outdoor spaces for unpiloted aerial vehicle testing, new laboratories for junior faculty, and workshops devoted to&nbsp;Beaver Works, the joint research and educational program with MIT Lincoln Laboratory.</p> <p>“It was the generosity and enthusiasm of our extended MIT family that made this vision a reality. Generations of researchers and students will use this greatly improved space to conduct research that will benefit the world,” says Jaime Peraire, the H. N. Slater Professor and head of AeroAstro. The project represents the renewal of more than half of the campus research space for the department.</p> <p>Building 31, officially known as the Sloan Laboratories for Aircraft and Automotive Engines, originally opened in 1928 as a single-story home for MIT’s internal combustion engine research, funded by General Motors CEO Alfred P. Sloan Jr., Class of 1895. A two-story east wing was added in 1940 to relieve testing floor congestion and a three-story west wing was added in 1944 to aid MIT’s increased contribution to the war effort. The building had remained largely unchanged in the 70 years since.</p> <p>AeroAstro Professor Zoltán Spakovszky, director of the <a>Gas Turbine Lab</a>, which has been an anchor tenant of Building 31 since 1947, says: “The refurbished engine test cells and upgraded motor drive system for our de Laval wind tunnel and air system will greatly support our research.”</p> <p>Renovations in the east wing of the building offer new office and laboratory space for MechE including the <a>Sloan Automotive Laboratory</a>, <a href="http://gear.mit.edu/">GEAR Lab</a>, and <a>Electrochemical Energy Lab</a>.</p> <p>As students, faculty, and staff make their way back into the refurbished building over the coming weeks, excitement is high. “We’re all really excited to come back and make it home again,” says Julie Shah, an associate professor in AeroAstro.</p> Associate professors Julie Shah, Sertac Karaman, and Amos Winter, in front of the newly renovated Building 31. Photo: Lillie Paquette/MIT School of EngineeringSchool of Engineering, Mechanical engineering, Aeronautical and astronautical engineering, Automobiles, Campus buildings and architecture, Drones, Facilities, Robots, Robotics MIT Theater Arts: The next act http://news.mit.edu/2017/mit-theater-performing-arts-building-W97-0906 Performing arts building ushers in a new era of theater at the Institute. Tue, 05 Sep 2017 23:59:59 -0400 School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences http://news.mit.edu/2017/mit-theater-performing-arts-building-W97-0906 <p>In 1597, when the Lord Chamberlain’s Men’s lease expired on their theater building in&nbsp;Shoreditch, then still a&nbsp;suburb outside the City of London, the company dismantled the structure, timber by timber, and moved it across the Thames to Bankside — where they rebuilt it into London’s renowned Globe Theatre.</p> <p>While theater practitioners rarely have to take building construction into their own hands quite so literally, there are advantages when they have an active role in creating their performance spaces.</p> <p>The recently completed MIT theater and performing arts building (W97), which enters into full operation this fall, benefited greatly from a close creative relationship between the architects (designLAB), the MIT Facilities team, and the MIT Theater Arts faculty, notably Norton Award-winning director of design Sara Brown, and Obie-winning director Jay Scheib, a professor of theater known for his genre-defying productions. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>A free, vast, and variable space</strong></p> <p>Of transforming an aging warehouse at 345 Vassar Street into an ingenious 25,000-square-foot performing arts building, Brown says, “We were inspired by spaces that prioritize and expose the activities of making theater over spaces that camouflage, decorate, or hide those works.”</p> <p>Scheib adds, “The form of our new building has entirely followed its function.” For example, the team designed the main theater as an unadorned, tech-friendly black box that can accommodate diverse productions and styles of stagecraft, an approach that recalls architect and theatre designer Adolphe Appia’s vision for “a free, vast, and variable space.”</p> <p>Commenting on the building, MIT President L. Rafael Reif says, “Like the main group buildings at the heart of campus, W97 embodies and encourages MIT’s signature openness, flexibility, and boldness. With a focus on making and creating, on fearless exploration and hands-on problem solving, the students and faculty of MIT's Theater Arts community pursue their aspirations with mind, hand, heart, body, and soul. I am delighted that at last they have a space that lives up to the quality of their creativity.”</p> <p><strong>Exponential growth</strong></p> <p>The urgent need for a new, purpose-built theater space became clear when MIT Theater’s home in the 19th century Rinaldi tile factory had to be demolished as the Kendall Square redevelopment began in 2016. “Rinaldi had become a space that we could use to prototype new works and push forward the development of MIT’s theater program,” Scheib says. Other functions of the theater program were scattered around campus — in Kresge Auditorium, the Walker Memorial, and Buildings 4 and 10.</p> <p>W97 both replaces the Rinaldi facilities and consolidates all the other theater activities under one roof. Like earlier arts buildings on campus, including the Wiesner Building, Kresge, and the Media Lab, W97 signifies the Institute’s strong commitment to the arts as an integral mode of exploration and discovery.</p> <p>The building also arrives at a time when MIT Theater Arts is experiencing exponential growth in stature, scope, and student engagement. Student enrollment has doubled since 2012, with more than 800 undergrads now taking theater classes each academic year. An SB in theater was added in 2015 to give the most engaged students a broad foundation in theoretical and practical studies as well as intensive practice in performance and design. “The program has grown into a magnet for talent and innovation, whose reputation extends far beyond the campus,” Scheib says.</p> <p>MIT students value theater for many reasons, not least for its incomparable lens on the human world, and for its time-honored ability to help students discover their own voices and views, and how to express them well. MIT Theater is also renowned for experiences that develop skills in creative collaboration and risk-taking that are valuable in any field.</p> <p>This current flourishing rests on a solid legacy that began with student-driven performances in the early days of the Institute and continued to expand throughout the 20th century. By the 1990s, word of MIT’s enterprising theatrical work had made its way to the Royal Shakespeare Company, whose leadership saw MIT Theater as a <a href="http://shass.mit.edu/magazine/spring_09/thomas_hobbes">lab for formulating plays</a> dealing with science and cultural transformation.</p> <p>Similarly, MIT’s theater faculty — all practicing artists in demand around the globe — engage their students in the process of developing new works to be performed on the world’s leading stages. Of the program’s burgeoning range and popularity, senior lecturer Anna Kohler says: “It’s very exciting — and it’s a huge responsibility. We really needed this building to lift MIT Theater into the 21st century.”</p> <p><strong>A building for makers </strong></p> <p>The new building contains a 180-seat, two-story blackbox performance space, rehearsal spaces, costume and scene design shops, dressing rooms, and spaces for study, offices, and exhibitions. Studios are fitted with lighting grids and ample power for technical classes and to enable experiments with theater technologies. “The new facility gives students access to more industry-standard situations,” Scheib says. “Now when they take our design classes and our tech classes, it will be hands-on and at scale.”</p> <p>Brown adds, “Many theaters are built from the audience perspective, but this building is also built from the maker perspective. For example, the scene shop has natural light, the costume shop has natural light — even the green room has natural light. The act of making is considered and highlighted throughout the building.”</p> <p>MIT’s maker culture is also reflected in the building’s sturdy, serviceable materials, which convey a nothing-is-precious character that is conducive to experimenting. Sacrificial floors and layers of plywood on the walls can be peeled away with wear and tear.</p> <p><strong>Form follows philosophy</strong></p> <p>The space also speaks to the Theater Arts faculty’s priorities and vision for the program. “There’s a distinct performance philosophy behind this building’s flexibility,” says Scheib, who is known for integrating design and performance. “I tend to believe that all the elements in a performance need to operate as equals. Choreography, spoken text, music, scenery — each thing on stage needs to be as important as the performer in order to create a complete image or experience.”</p> <p>For instance, rather than an enclosed technical booth, there is a gallery above the stage, which puts the crew in the same space with the main action. Brown observes, “That reflects our approach to theater. We don’t want the technicians tucked away; to adequately run sound, you have to hear it live.”</p> <p>Kohler, who will direct the inaugural production in W97 — a performance of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ “Everybody,” based on the medieval morality play “Everyman” — says the new building’s flexible space is essential, given the theater faculty’s adventurous and diverse approaches to performance. “The space is multipurpose because we encompass many kinds of theater ideas.”</p> <p><strong>The continuous studio&nbsp; </strong></p> <p>While affording students greater access to space and equipment, W97 will also enable more collaborations and professional engagements. With a generous endowment from alumna Nancy Lukitsh that supports visiting theater artists and productions, MIT can now invite leading theater figures to campus to share their works and teach master classes.<br /> <br /> MIT’s own theater faculty will also be able to develop more of their works on campus, involving MIT students in the process. The flexible facility allows for more theater research focused on experimental work, as well as providing the campus with new space for debates, exhibitions, conferences, and installations.</p> <p>Beyond even these many new capacities, W97 is something more. The building is a manifestation of the MIT theater community’s belief in a large and animating idea that they call the continuous studio — a studio that supports the full spectrum of theater experience including theory, experimentation, innovation, and a sustained, creative practice. As Kohler puts it, “Beyond being a space where we can teach, experiment, and produce, this new building has given us a home for an idea — an idea of what theater can be.”</p> <p><em>Story prepared by MIT SHASS Communications<br /> Editorial Team: Sharon Lacey and Emily Hiestand</em></p> Of the new building MIT President L. Rafael Reif says, "Like the main group buildings at the heart of campus, W97 embodies and encourages MIT’s signature openness, flexibility, and boldness."Photo: Jonathan SachsArts, Theater, SHASS, Campus buildings and architecture, Classes and programs, Clubs and activities, Facilities, Cambridge, Boston and region Celebrating Walker Memorial’s 100th year http://news.mit.edu/2017/mit-celebrates-walker-memorial-student-center-100th-year-0829 Designed as MIT’s first student center, the campus landmark initially housed World War I military personnel. Tue, 29 Aug 2017 17:10:01 -0400 Robert Dimmick | MIT Alumni Association http://news.mit.edu/2017/mit-celebrates-walker-memorial-student-center-100th-year-0829 <p>Labor Day Weekend of 1917 marked the opening of MIT’s new student center, Walker Memorial — although not for its intended purpose. As part of the Institute’s contribution to the World War I war effort, 400 naval aviation students moved into the new building, taking over the gymnasium and balconies of the big hall for dormitory space, as well as the rooms on the second and third floors that had been built for student and faculty recreational use.</p> <p>The building’s namesake, former MIT President Francis Amasa Walker, is still the only MIT president to have served as a military general, so he likely would have approved. As <em>The Tech</em> of the day reported: “the building erected in memory of him will be devoted to military purposes before becoming what it is destined to be, the social center of Technology.”</p> <p>A hub for campus activities was considered the greatest tribute to President Walker, who was beloved by both students and alumni for his efforts to improve student life on MIT’s cramped Boston campus. But making that ideal student center a reality took two decades.</p> <p>When Walker died in 1897, the Alumni Association formed a committee to plan and fund the project, and, by 1902, the funds and land had been set aside. The project was postponed, though,&nbsp;when MIT announced plans to relocate from Boston. It wasn't until the Institute’s move to Cambridge 14 years later&nbsp;that construction on Walker Memorial finally became possible.</p> <p>It became a landmark for MIT students began even before it was finished. On Feb.&nbsp;9, 1917, the Class of 1918 gathered for “the first Class Photograph ever taken on the steps of Walker Memorial ... this spot will probably be chosen as a place to take all class pictures in the future,” the 1918 edition of&nbsp;<em>Technique</em> reported. The tradition holds generations&nbsp;later: Walker's steps are still used for alumni group portraits, most notably that of the 50th reunion class before they march&nbsp;in the Commencement procession as official Cardinal and Gray Society members in their distinctive red jackets.</p> <p>After the Army and Navy aviation cadets moved out in January of 1919, the building was formally inaugurated as a student center. Henry A. Morss, Class of 1893 and&nbsp;then president of the Alumni Association, formally presented Walker Memorial to MIT “for the students that the student body would thereby be united and the Technology spirit be fostered.”&nbsp;</p> <p>For many of those who have passed through Walker Memorial over the past 100 years, the most enduring images remain the <a href="https://listart.mit.edu/public-art-map/walker-memorial-mural" target="_blank">murals</a> in Morss Hall, which were&nbsp;painted by Edwin Howland Blashfield of the&nbsp;Class of 1869. Created and installed between 1923 and 1930, their allegories of alma mater receiving homage from scientific and academic disciplines have watched over&nbsp;countless MIT community functions, from dining hall breakfasts to the Assembly Ball and more.</p> <p>For most MIT alumni and students, Walker Memorial holds indelible memories. A&nbsp;century after its completion, the tribute to President Walker&nbsp;has&nbsp;been realized in the best possible way —&nbsp;with the building continuing to serve as a community gathering place.</p> The Tech announced Walker Memorial’s opening in 1917.Image: MIT ArchivesCampus buildings and architecture, Community, Facilities, History of MIT, Student life MIT is set to upgrade its cogeneration plant, improving campus resiliency http://news.mit.edu/2017/mit-upgrading-cogeneration-plant-to-improve-campus-resiliency-0807 Construction expected to begin this month. Mon, 07 Aug 2017 17:50:01 -0400 Kristin Lund | MIT Facilities http://news.mit.edu/2017/mit-upgrading-cogeneration-plant-to-improve-campus-resiliency-0807 <p>After months of preparation, MIT is planning to break ground this month on an upgrade project that will revitalize its Central Utilities Plant (CUP), a distributed energy resource (DER) 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. This in turn supports efforts in Massachusetts and neighboring states to build overall resiliency across the Northeast.</p> <p>How does the project support these efforts? Improved campus resiliency at MIT takes pressure off the region’s utility grid — a system experiencing increasing demands and the growing frequency of severe weather events. The flexibility of MIT’s system is based in part on the fact that the campus microgrid can be coupled with the regional grid or can run independently as needed. MIT’s ability to operate on self-generated power in emergency situations will help local utilities meet customer demand and provide more reliable services.</p> <div class="cms-placeholder-content-video"></div> <p>“Localized distributed energy resources are becoming more crucial to any forward-thinking energy strategy,” says Ken Packard, director of utilities at MIT. “When it’s upgraded, MIT’s smart microgrid will enable MIT to take most or all of our load off the regional grid when necessary. This reduces pressure on the region’s infrastructure and at the same time makes it possible for us to protect the campus from a superstorm or other power outage event. In addition, we are optimizing the plant to provide the cleanest possible energy, whether we are generating it on campus or receiving it from the grid, especially as the grid becomes less carbon intensive.”</p> <p><strong>A cleaner source for on-campus power</strong></p> <p>Since 1995, the CUP has relied on a single 22-megawatt (MW) gas turbine — like the turbine that powers a jet engine — to produce electrical and thermal energy simultaneously through cogeneration, a combined heat and power process. The upgrade project will replace this aging turbine with a new one and install a second 22 MW gas turbine, each equipped with a heat recovery steam generator. In addition, the upgrade includes changing fuel use scenarios for five existing boilers to eliminate the use of No. 6 fuel oil on campus and equip them to use cleaner fuels such as natural gas or No. 2 fuel oil. The plant will switch to using natural gas for all normal operations, relegating fuel oil to backup emergency use only. Both new turbines are projected to be in service by 2020.</p> <p>As it revitalizes the CUP and returns it to state-of-the-art condition, MIT expects to build campus resiliency by improving energy efficiency and increasing on-campus power capacity in support of MIT’s robust research activities. Resiliency is also built into the design of the upgrade, which anticipates evolving technologies and will enable the plant to incorporate future innovations that enhance campus sustainability.</p> <p>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 fuel oil use (except for emergencies). State-of-the-art emissions controls will contribute to the improvements. Starting in 2020, regulated pollutant emissions are expected to be more than 25 percent lower than 2014 emissions levels, and greenhouse gas emissions will be 10 percent lower than 2014 levels, offsetting a projected 10 percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions due to energy demands created by new buildings and program growth.</p> <p>The Institute’s preparation for the upgrade project involved a <a href="http://powering.mit.edu/project-permits" target="_blank">rigorous permitting process</a> that included working with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. On June 21, the project passed a major milestone when the DEP issued the final permit and plan approval stating that the new plant complies with state and federal air quality standards, enabling the project to move forward to construction.</p> <p><strong>Envisioning the upgraded plant</strong></p> <p>Upgrade plans for the CUP include building a new addition to the plant on the site of an existing parking lot along Albany Street (N10 Annex Lot). Carefully designed by Ellenzweig to fit the architecture of the surrounding community, the addition’s exterior will include windows that allow passersby to view the cogeneration plant’s operations.</p> <p>Housing new equipment, the addition will connect with the existing plant via two overhead bridges, one of which will contain a control room that enables operators to run both sections of the plant from a single location. A presentation space in the new addition will enhance the CUP team’s ability to engage with students and researchers on <a href="http://news.mit.edu/2017/mit-new-fund-allows-sustainability-researchers-use-campus-living-lab-0721" target="_self">living lab activities</a> and host learning opportunities for the broader community.</p> <p>As part of the project, the streetscape along the perimeter of the plant will be improved with new lighting on public walkways as well as new public seating, bicycle racks, trees, and other plantings. The enhancements are designed to invite pedestrian traffic, creating a stronger connection between the main campus and the north campus.</p> <p>The project also includes a rooftop system that will capture rainwater for use in the facility’s cooling towers, easing the burden on Cambridge’s storm water system. The perimeter site area will drain into rain gardens and through groundwater recharge.</p> <p>“What’s unique about the design of this building is that it integrates an elegant exterior with the fundamental needs of the process and machinery inside,” notes Dave Brown, program manager of Utility Projects. “The architects worked closely with the Power Group at Vanderweil Engineers to create a complex solution that looks attractive and simple from the street. Inside, we’ll have very high-tech equipment and state-of-the-art controls, all fitting together in a way that accommodates the process and incorporates innovations. Outside, the pedestrian path is enhanced, and you’ll have the ability to walk by, look in, and see the plant in action.”</p> <p><strong>Construction overview and activities</strong></p> <p>The CUP upgrade project team is expecting to begin construction this month. Key equipment is scheduled for installation in 2018, and testing and commissioning is planned for late 2019. Full operation of the upgraded plant is projected for 2020.</p> <p>In preparation for construction, the N10 and N10 Annex parking lots are closing, with permit holders relocated to other lots on campus. Construction activities expected to start in the next few weeks and continue through the spring of 2018 include site preparation and enabling, site excavation, utility work, and the construction of foundations. Pedestrian and vehicular navigation around the site will be maintained by short detours around the edge of the construction site. As the CUP upgrade project progresses, lane closures on the section of Albany Street in front of the construction site will be required for short periods of time. Police details will be on site to direct and maintain the flow of traffic and two-way access to the Albany Street garage will be maintained throughout construction.</p> <p>Community members with questions about the CUP upgrade project may <a href="mailto:powering-mit@mit.edu?subject=MIT%20CUP%20upgrade%20query">contact the project team</a>. Updates will be posted to the <a href="http://powering.mit.edu/" target="_blank">Powering MIT project site</a>.</p> Conceptual sketch of the upgraded Central Utilities Plant, as viewed from Albany StreetIllustration courtesy of Ellenzweig.Facilities, Campus buildings and architecture, Energy, Sustainability, Climate change, Renewable energy, Emissions, Oil and gas Letter regarding timeline of the Senior House decision http://news.mit.edu/2017/letter-regarding-timeline-senior-house-decision-0727 Thu, 27 Jul 2017 14:30:00 -0400 MIT News Office http://news.mit.edu/2017/letter-regarding-timeline-senior-house-decision-0727 <p><em>The following letter from Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart appeared in </em>The Tech<em> on July 26.</em></p> <p>To the editor,</p> <p>Given the high level of interest in facts surrounding the Senior House decision, I thought it&nbsp;might help to lay out the milestone events of the last year and share my thinking.&nbsp;I’ve also posted a detailed <a href="http://chancellor.mit.edu/sites/default/files/sh-decisionprocess-faq.pdf">set of FAQs</a>.</p> <p>One note: Since last summer, at the request of Senior House residents, we have not been&nbsp;publically sharing details about issues in the house. This has left many people wondering why&nbsp;our communications seem deliberately vague. While respecting student privacy, I will be as&nbsp;specific as I can.</p> <p>The milestones:</p> <p><strong>June 2016 – Our initial decision</strong></p> <p>Looking at data from the MIT registrar, we discovered that the percentage of Senior House&nbsp;students who were never graduating was much higher than for the student body as a whole&nbsp;(21.1% vs. 7.7%). Among a constellation of concerning issues, this prompted us to close the&nbsp;house to the incoming freshman class, and to launch an effort to promote each Senior House&nbsp;resident’s well-being and personal and intellectual growth. We called this the turnaround.&nbsp;Through the summer, we worked with Senior House students to design the turnaround process.</p> <p><strong>Fall 2016 – Launch of the turnaround</strong></p> <p>I appointed a turnaround team of 47 people, including 28 residents and several Senior House&nbsp;alums. Beginning in the fall, we met frequently, as a group and in subcommittees.&nbsp;MIT has a distinctive tradition of involving students in many important decisions about how the&nbsp;Institute is run; in designing the turnaround, this spirit of mutual respect and trust is exactly&nbsp;what we had in mind. We wanted student self-governance to prevail, and we were hopeful that&nbsp;it could produce a healthy result. In fact, as The Tech reported last December, I told house&nbsp;residents that I believed they were on a positive trajectory to have freshmen in the house in&nbsp;September 2017.</p> <p><strong>Spring 2017 – Progress derailed</strong></p> <p>Unfortunately, in the spring we received highly credible reports of unsafe and illegal behavior in&nbsp;Senior House. To understand the situation better, we began a formal review, consisting of&nbsp;interviews with house residents as well as extensive ongoing conversations that Dean Nelson&nbsp;and I had with both residents and house leaders.</p> <p><strong>April-May 2017 – The review</strong></p> <p>The review made clear that multiple students had engaged in unsafe, illegal behavior, on&nbsp;multiple occasions. Importantly, it revealed a prevailing environment that enabled and even&nbsp;encouraged such behavior. We also learned that some students who were troubled by the&nbsp;illegal behavior felt silenced by members of the Senior House community. Together these signs&nbsp;told us that Senior House self-governance was broken.&nbsp;We concluded that the turnaround had failed.&nbsp;We thought it might still be possible to restore self-governance and allow members of the&nbsp;Senior House community who were not involved in or accepting of the troubling behavior to&nbsp;create a fresh version of the house: a reset.</p> <p><strong>June 12, 2017 – The reset</strong></p> <p>Because a subset of residents was determined to keep Senior House unchanged, the only hope&nbsp;for a reset to succeed was to ask everyone to leave and reapply. So on June 12th, we did.&nbsp;However, as the process began, prospective new residents reported facing personal pressure&nbsp;from some Senior House residents and alumni about how they should behave, as well as an&nbsp;intensive campaign to reconstitute the Senior House status quo.&nbsp;Undermined in this way, the reset was bound to fail, too.</p> <p><strong>July 7, 2017 – Our decision to use the building as graduate housing</strong></p> <p>Our fundamental obligations to student safety and well-being forced us to choose a new path.&nbsp;Judging that a community of graduate students would be better able to withstand outside&nbsp;pressure and create a new culture of their own, we decided to use the building to house&nbsp;graduate students only.&nbsp;As I explained in a July 11 letter to undergraduates, we had run out of workable and realistic&nbsp;options. We had to close the house and start again.</p> <p>Both students and alumni have raised questions about whether a residential community should&nbsp;be disrupted because some of its members behaved badly. But I hope you can see that the&nbsp;issues ran deeper than that. This was not about any single incident, or just a couple of students&nbsp;who broke the rules. And it was certainly not a verdict on east side culture.&nbsp;More broadly, it was about a house environment that made it impossible for us to move&nbsp;forward constructively, even with those residents willing to work with us in good faith. And it&nbsp;was about a loss of trust, including with individuals we thought were committed to the&nbsp;turnaround.</p> <p>I know this decision has caused deep distress for many people. And it was not the outcome we&nbsp;spent a year striving to achieve.&nbsp;One of its painful consequences is the elimination of a space on campus that has been very&nbsp;important to our LBGTQ+ students. We are working actively with all residents to make sure&nbsp;they each find a welcoming living situation and to ensure that the staff in every residence is&nbsp;trained to understand issues they may face. We are also starting work with LBGTQ+ student&nbsp;leaders to find new ways to support their community.</p> <p>One final note: I have not referred to the 2015 Healthy Minds study. It was not relevant to any&nbsp;of our decisions this year. If you have questions about it, you can read more in the FAQs.&nbsp;I am certain some in the MIT community disagree with our conclusions. But I hope it is clear to&nbsp;everyone that we take to heart our responsibility for student well-being, pay close attention to&nbsp;all the input we receive, seek and weigh every available option, and make our best judgments –&nbsp;with our students at the center of the process, and at the center of our thoughts.</p> <p>Respectfully,</p> <p>Cynthia Barnhart PhD&nbsp;’88</p> Letters to the Community, Administration, Chancellor, Students, Undergraduate, Graduate, postdoctoral, Campus buildings and architecture Lessons from pre-industrial climate control http://news.mit.edu/2017/student-profile-alpha-arsano-0724 Graduate student Alpha Yacob Arsano wants to bring natural ventilation to the forefront of modern architecture. Mon, 24 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400 Dara Farhadi | MIT News Office http://news.mit.edu/2017/student-profile-alpha-arsano-0724 <p>Alpha Yacob Arsano is standing next to the MIT Chapel’s marble altar, admiring the view through the domed skylight above. Outside, water surrounds the cylindrical red-brick structure like a shallow moat. Inside the chapel, the brick walls ripple like waves. Tiny windows line the walls and face downward so guests can see slivers of the moat. When sunlight reflects off the water at a certain angle, it shines into the chapel and dances onto the walls.</p> <p>Arsano, who just earned a master’s in architecture studies and will continue in the fall in MIT’s PhD program in building technology, admires the different qualities of many buildings on campus. But none compare, in her mind, to the MIT Chapel. She says she is captivated by the structure’s simplistic beauty and its ability to seamlessly interact with components of the outside world in a spiritual, sustainable, and striking way.</p> <p>Bringing environmental elements — specifically, natural ventilation — into a built structure is also a key focus of Arsano’s own work. For the past two years, she has been developing a digital design tool for early-stage building projects that can inform architects and engineers about how well a natural ventilation system could work to provide fresh air and cooling to the building they’re planning.</p> <p><strong>Dispensing with air-conditioners</strong></p> <p>When a user inputs a building’s location, yearly climate and weather patterns, and some initial parameters such as the building type (residential, commercial, etc.) and materials, Arsano’s program, named “Clima +,” can predict how well the building should function with natural ventilation. For example, using Clima +, planners might find that an apartment complex in Phoenix, Arizona, could sustain its cooling needs for 50 percent of the year with natural ventilation.&nbsp;</p> <p>Although other tools claim to provide the same predictive information, Arsano and her advisor, Christoph Reinhart, an associate professor of architecture, were skeptical about these claims.</p> <p>“I found that they were not telling the full story of the predictability of natural ventilation potential,” Arsano says. “There were some missing links. For example, people, machines, computers, and lighting might influence indoor temperatures to be higher than outdoor temperatures.”</p> <p>Arsano believes Clima + addresses these details and provides a clearer prediction for a building’s maximum natural ventilation potential. She says this method should be useful for architects since it would provide guiding information as the building’s design progresses. Overall, she hopes that Clima + contributes to the rise of sustainable buildings that take advantage of the fresh air around them rather than relying solely on heating and air-conditioning systems. Arsano says sound research has also demonstrated the long-term cost efficiency of implementing sustainable and natural ventilation techniques.</p> <p>“We are overusing natural resources. Why not be efficient with the climate?” she says. “It is a misconception that building energy-efficient structures is more expensive. In the long-term it is much cheaper.”</p> <p>Arsano’s focus will remain on natural ventilation as she transitions into her PhD. However, she is thinking about investigating related topics, such as the implications of climate change. Prior to the advancement of mechanical technology in the 1900s, Arsano says natural ventilation was at the core of architecture. She hopes to bring this approach back to the forefront of the practice today.</p> <p>Before starting her master’s program at MIT, Arsano was a one of seven students from around the world accepted to join the Transsolar Academy in Stuttgart, Germany. Transsolar is a leading climate engineering firm that specializes in green building consultation. For a year, she learned the fundamental concepts of building physics and used digital design tools to develop environmentally responsive design ideas for a wine factory in Italy and a commercial urban corridor in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.</p> <p>Arsano says her time in Germany exposed her to the more empirical, scientific side of architecture and its focus on research methodology.</p> <p>“I really liked how we were working there. I wanted to take it further so I started to look for programs which had similar paths,” she says. “[MIT] was really fascinating because students aren’t just taking courses; they also become part of a research group. I was looking for that.”</p> <p><strong>Gender parity</strong></p> <p>Arsano grew up in Addis Ababa. Her childhood was filled with outdoor activities that gave her the opportunity to engage in the city life. She says these experiences helped form her interest in the physical and cultural facets of the city, which she explored during her undergraduate studies in architecture. She also remembers making visits to see family in the more rural parts of Ethiopia, where she was struck by the differences in lifestyle compared to her home city.</p> <p>“The difference between developed and developing countries is urbanization. You might not find electrical lights in some places or even [piped] water,” she says. “The vernacular houses [built with traditional methods and local materials] are how people live together. Even for me, it was a cultural difference.”</p> <p>Arsano says living in Germany for a year was a delightful new experience. Participating in a program where half of the fellows were women was also unusual. When she started school at the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture in Addis Ababa, women made up one-fourth of the class of architecture students, she estimates. When visiting construction sites, she noticed that most of the workers and civil engineers on site were men. She believes the gender balance is starting to shift, but she still considers equal opportunity for women to be a critical issue in architecture.</p> <p>While at MIT, Arsano has volunteered for the Association of Ethiopian Women in Boston and spoken at community events about questioning cultural norms by using lessons from the scientific method.</p> <p>“If I want to go into construction, by default I might think it’s not for women, but I have to question that. What’s the limitation? Why can’t I be a construction worker? Why can’t I establish a construction company? What are my challenges? I can try this. I can do this. Maybe step by step. The purpose of questioning and investigating will help us get free from those limitations or those limitations that we think are there,” Arsano says.</p> <p>Arsano’s outreach work in Boston’s Ethiopian community has extended to children’s education as well. At the invitation of a fellow Ethiopian engineer, Sintayehu Dehnie, Arsano and several other MIT students have been participating in a program for children ranging from 4th grade to high school.</p> <p>“I engage with the community when I get the chance,” says Arsano. “Children ask you the weirdest questions ever. They ask questions you cannot answer. I really like mapping children’s minds.”</p> <p><strong>Contemplating the chapel</strong></p> <p>The MIT Chapel is empty except for two other people. One man walks up to a section of the brick-wall where the bricks have been laid so that it appears the wall has Rubik’s cube-sized holes between each brick.</p> <p>The man, a visiting architect from another country, asks Arsano if she knows whether these holes serve a practical purpose. She isn’t sure. Without knowing Arsano or her work, the man postulates that they might allow fresh air from outside to come through. “Could be,” Arsano replies.</p> <p>She walks outside to check the other side of the wall for evidence that the pores go all the way through. It appears that they don’t — perhaps a missed opportunity for the MIT Chapel to reap the benefits of natural ventilation.</p> “We are overusing natural resources. Why not be efficient with the climate?” Alpha Yacob Arsano says. “It is a misconception that building energy-efficient structures is more expensive. In the long-term it is much cheaper.” Image: Jake BelcherResearch, Profile, Graduate, postdoctoral, Architecture, School of Architecture and Planning, Students, Campus buildings and architecture, Cities, Climate change, Sustainability, Women, Women in STEM, Ethiopia, Africa New fund makes MIT a living sustainability lab http://news.mit.edu/2017/mit-new-fund-allows-sustainability-researchers-use-campus-living-lab-0721 MIT Office of Sustainability announces awards to multi-departmental projects that test management, design, and operations solutions on campus. Fri, 21 Jul 2017 15:50:01 -0400 Frankie Schembri | Office of Sustainability http://news.mit.edu/2017/mit-new-fund-allows-sustainability-researchers-use-campus-living-lab-0721 <p>The MIT Office of Sustainability (MITOS) has announced the recipients of the first-ever Campus Sustainability Incubator Fund, with $200,000 awarded between four multi-departmental projects, all of which use the MIT campus as a test bed for research in sustainable operations, management, and design.</p> <p>The four project teams are lead by Kripa Varanasi of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Randy Kirchain and Jeremy Gregory of the Concrete Sustainability Hub, Lisa Anderson of the Department of Chemical Engineering, and Danielle Dahan of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.</p> <p>“The seed funds will enable researchers to explore the physical facility and social context in which they are working, living and learning,” says Julie Newman, MITOS director and convener of the fund’s Advisory Committee. Newman calls the MIT campus&nbsp;a “rich environment for creating and testing sustainability solutions” at both the individual and building level to ensure they work at a city and global scale.</p> <p>The selection committee included members from the Department of Architecture, the Environmental Solutions Initiative, the Sandbox Innovation Fund Program, the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and the MIT Sloan School of Management, among others. To be considered for funding, project teams needed to have student, faculty, and staff membership,&nbsp;a robust methodology for measuring outcomes, and a timeline for moving the needle&nbsp;on a measurable on-campus metric.</p> <p>“We were looking for projects that take advantage of the interactions unique to MIT while making a measurable impact on how our campus runs day to day — those that foster collaborations between diverse stakeholders, including junior researchers, and bridge between MIT’s academic and operational departments,” Newman says.</p> <p><strong>Water recapture at MIT’s power plant </strong></p> <p>Department of Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Kripa Varanasi is receiving funding to test a water recapture device developed by&nbsp;his research group,&nbsp;installing it on the MIT Central Utilities Plant (CUP) cooling towers. Varanasi and his graduate students, Maher Damak and Karim Khalil<strong>, </strong>are collaborating with plant engineers Patrick Karalekas and Seth Kinderman&nbsp;and plant manager Jon Sepich at the CUP.</p> <p>“Power plants consume a large portion of the water used on campus and around the world,” says Varanasi. “Testing our device at the CUP provides us with an invaluable pilot opportunity to scale-up, debug, and de-risk the technology before launching the product to the broader power plant industry.”</p> <p>The Varanasi research group has developed a technology that uses electric fields to force escaping steam plumes from power plant towers into a device placed atop the cooling tower outlets. The device captures the water and reintroduces it&nbsp;back into the cooling cycle,&nbsp;reducing water losses for the plant.</p> <p>The team will install their lab-scale prototype on the cooling towers of the CUP to test the device for efficiency and durability, and to optimize its performance. The researchers estimate that their device can save 15 million gallons of water per year, reducing MIT’s operational costs for the CUP.</p> <p>“The team at the CUP is excited to have this opportunity to work with the academic community and contribute to MIT’s mission,” plant manager Sepich says. “If we can help Professor Varanasi and his team be successful, then this will not only have a positive environmental and economic impact on the CUP’s operation but on the power industry as a whole. We see the CUP as a valuable testing ground for energy and resource conservation measures, and we hope this is the first of many such endeavors.”</p> <p><strong>Modeling the environmental impact of buildings at MIT </strong></p> <p>Two research scientists in the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub, Jeremy Gregory and Randy Kirchain, are receiving funding to implement a quantitative approach to evaluating&nbsp;the life cycle economic and environmental impacts of proposed new buildings on campus.</p> <p>While life cycle assessments are already conducted at MIT to calculate buildings’ environmental impacts during the design phase, Gregory’s research team has developed a new method that can be implemented earlier in building design and planning stages than current analyses. It can be used to quantify both embodied impacts (building materials and construction) and operational impacts (energy consumption), mitigating the environmental and economic impacts of new construction projects on campus.</p> <p>“We are excited to have the opportunity to implement our research in MIT’s building design process in order to improve our approach and reduce the life cycle environmental and economic footprint of MIT’s campus,” Gregory says.</p> <p>The project team includes three members of the Department of Facilities: Director of Campus Construction Richard Amster, Director of Systems Performance and Turnover Wade Berner, and Sustainability Project Manager Randa Ghattas.</p> <p><strong>Evaluating the benefits of recycling laboratory gloves</strong></p> <p>The third recipient is Lisa Anderson, a research scientist in the Department of Chemical Engineering. Anderson&nbsp;will use her funding to investigate the net environmental benefit of recycling laboratory gloves and to explore the feasibility of expanding a pilot program launched by the department through MIT Green Labs last year.</p> <p>During the six-month pilot program, participants collected more than 400 pounds of lab gloves from about 30 researchers in 10 labs. The team plans to study the feasibility of rolling out a larger glove recycling program at MIT, contingent on the results of a detailed analysis the team will conduct to compare the benefits of material recovery with the burden of the glove recycling process. If there is a net environmental benefit to glove recycling, Anderson hopes to help establish an Institute-wide program.</p> <p>“Everyday when I walk into the lab, I ask myself: How do I balance research with sustainability?” Anderson says. “I think about all the resources that go into making scientific discoveries and pushing new technologies forward. Over half of a research grant can go towards overhead, such as paying for heating and cooling, that many researchers take for granted. I’m trying to bring sustainable practices into the research lab by repurposing a common consumable, uncontaminated lab gloves.”</p> <p>Anderson will collaborate with chemical engineering graduate students Thomas Carney and Kosi Aroh, Department of Facilities Recycling Manager Ruth Davis, faculty and researchers from the Departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering, as well as several members of MIT’s Environmental Health and&nbsp;Safety Office and Green Labs program.</p> <p><strong>Eliminating wasted energy with machine learning</strong></p> <p>Danielle Dahan, a graduate research assistant at the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, is receiving funding to collaborate with Professor Christopher Knittel of MIT Sloan, Wade Berner of MIT Facilities, and undergraduate Manuel Mundo to investigate the effectiveness of the fault detection and diagnostic (FDD) software used by MIT and other universities&nbsp;to prevent energy waste in HVAC systems.</p> <p>For several years, MIT’s FDD system has been collecting data on over 70 campus buildings, alerting staff when an energy-wasting fault&nbsp;is detected. Dahan will apply machine learning and data analysis techniques to this data in order to understand the actual energy savings associated with correcting different types of system faults. The project will aid MIT Facilities in determining which faults to prioritize and help inform a cost-benefit analysis of installing FDD systems in more campus buildings.</p> <p>“FDD systems have the potential to detect problems in HVAC systems that go unnoticed for years, wasting significant amounts of energy,” Dahan says. “This research allows us to quantify the impact of these systems and help inform policy and code requirements that promote the adoption of energy saving technologies.”</p> <p><strong>Expanding the living laboratory </strong></p> <p>The fund was made possible through a gift from Malcom M. Strandberg, a software engineer and supporter of sustainable technology who is inspired by his late father, longtime MIT Physics Professor Malcom W.P. “Woody” Strandberg PhD ’48. Strandberg&nbsp;has directed other parts of his gift to MIT’s D-Lab, to the MIT Office of Engineering Outreach’s STEM program, and to sustainability projects at the Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center.</p> <p>Using the campus as a living laboratory to test sustainability solutions is one of the central tenets of MITOS. The winning projects also align with the recommendations of MIT’s Sustainability Working Groups for&nbsp;on-campus sustainability priority areas: building design and construction, stormwater and land management, materials management, and green labs.</p> <p>“Traditional laboratories are highly-controlled environments. The living laboratory, however, thrives on open systems, uncertainties, and diversity, but is still a place for robust science with detailed data collection and measurable outcomes,” says Paul Wolff, the Living Lab project manager at MITOS. “The campus becomes a rich environment for learning and discovery under this framework, and we hope to enable more projects to take advantage of this.”</p> <p>The next round of applications for funding will open in 2018. For more updates and information please visit&nbsp;the <a href="http://sustainability.mit.edu/campus-sustainability-incubator-fund">Campus Sustainability Incubator Fund</a>&nbsp;online.</p> The Varanasi research group visits the MIT Central Utilities Plant cooling towers, where they will test their water-recapture technology with support from the new Campus Sustainability Incubator Fund. Photo: Paul Wolff/MITOSAwards, honors and fellowships, Campus buildings and architecture, Civil and environmental engineering, Climate change, D-Lab, DMSE, Environment, Faculty, Grants, Funding, Machine learning, Staff, Sustainability, Facilities, Collaboration, Research The art of construction: Chemistry lab takes center stage in an artist’s exhibition http://news.mit.edu/2017/art-of-construction-chemistry-lab-takes-center-stage-in-artist-exibhition-angel-chen-0710 In search of a space under construction in which to stage an art installation, grad student Angel Chen was drawn to Building 18’s fourth floor lab renovation. Mon, 10 Jul 2017 17:20:00 -0400 Danielle Randall | Department of Chemistry http://news.mit.edu/2017/art-of-construction-chemistry-lab-takes-center-stage-in-artist-exibhition-angel-chen-0710 <p>From many perspectives, a construction site represents a headache — an area in flux, hovering between functional and unusable, a source of financial and emotional stress. When will the work be completed? When can the area return to its finished state? And will it be done by the estimated, yet counted upon deadline, for the estimated, yet counted upon budget? To perceive a space mid-renovation in any other way — to take it even further and actually be inspired, as opposed to daunted — requires a truly unique vision. <a href="http://act.mit.edu/people/students/angel-chen/" target="_blank">Angel Chen</a> MS '17, a recent master’s degree recipient from MIT’s <a href="http://act.mit.edu/" target="_blank">Program in Art, Culture, and Technology</a> (ACT), not only possesses that vision, but defines it.<br /> <br /> Chen, who received her bachelor’s degree in philosophy and computer science from McGill University in 2009, came to MIT in 2015, and made quite an impact over the course of her time in ACT. The 2017 second-place recipient of MIT’s Harold and Arlene Schnitzer Prize in the Visual Arts, Chen’s art practice at MIT has revolved around understanding complex and technical systems. “[ACT] supports my background and interest very well because it encourages experiments in new modes of relating a critical art practice to culture and to technology,” she explains.</p> <p>When it came time to execute her thesis work, Chen set off in search of a construction site on campus to stage an art installation. She pitched her idea to create an artwork that would explore the connection between building construction and nanoscale fabrication to Dick Amster, MIT’s director of campus construction. Amster then put her in touch with Janis Burke, manager of the Institute’s Committee for Renovation and Space Planning, who introduced Chen to four project managers and their respective renovation projects on campus.<br /> <br /> One of the projects in contention was the renovation of Department of Chemistry laboratory spaces on the fourth and and fifth floors of Building 18, overseen by campus construction project manager Meredith Fydenkevez. Fydenkevez was assisted by project coordinators Julie Azzinaro and Mike Morizio. Members of the project team also included Department of Chemistry’s administrative officer Richard Wilk and facilities administrator Brian Pretti. Columbia Construction Company was represented by project manager Mike Ausevich, assistant project manager Sarah Neff and field superintendent Erik Julio.</p> <p>Chen presented her idea to the project team, and they determined the project could accommodate her request to utilize the space during construction. Department of Chemistry’s senior administrative assistant Emrick Elias assisted by providing Chen daily access to the space, with construction beginning in May. The spaces will soon belong to Professor <a href="http://chemistry.mit.edu/people/kiessling-laura" target="_blank">Laura L. Kiessling</a>, and in order to accommodate her research group, they had to undergo a few changes. When Chen first viewed the fourth floor space in April, prior to the start of any construction, she was immediately drawn to it. “I was initially attracted to quality of the natural light I experience walking down the hallway. It makes you want to believe in something, or at least be hopeful for something,” she said.</p> <p>Chen also discovered a meaningful connection to the building as a whole: “My ACT studio is in an I.M. Pei building from 1985, and Building 18 is also designed by I.M. Pei, but in 1967. 1967 is also the year my program's predecessor, Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS), was created. Going in between these spaces inspired me to reflect on how artists and scientists came together to collaborate at different times in the history of the Institute.” Having landed on the perfect location, Chen began production on the art installation, entitled “Looking for Space: Arriving at a Laboratory Under Construction.”<br /> <br /> From April 18 through May 23, Chen was a daily fixture in the fourth floor construction site, arriving at various times of day, staying for intermittent amounts of time, and absorbing the environment as a whole as well as the minutiae that made up the space. “Every little interaction was very meaningful to me,” she says. “All the interactions together make up one very memorable and impactful moment. I did really enjoy being surprised by what would happen at any given day … running into people at the elevator, Brian and Meredith bringing me a MIT hardhat with my name on it, and the quiet but continuous alarm sound the cold room made when it was put to rest.”</p> <p>Ultimately, Chen’s project evolved into more than what she had originally intended; it became not only a place for an art installation, a site in transition/in flux/in limbo to be witnessed and photographed, but also a nest of sorts. Chen described the space’s evolution from her expectation to the ultimate result in the description of her installation as “a place to spend time in, to reflect on my position as an art student. By forming this nest, through every day interacting, observing, and learning, I encountered specific people, procedures, processes, traces, gossip and memories that together make up this place.”</p> <p>On May 22, Chen opened the installation for her fellow ACT classmates, as well as professors both from MIT and beyond, as a public display of her thesis work. Groups donned hard hats and walked through the renovation that had become Chen’s nest, observing the items she had carefully arranged amidst the chaos, dust, and debris of an ongoing construction zone. Chen’s goal for the scene was to instigate a different way of thinking. “My intention was to create a space that really urges people to look at a lab space differently, regardless of where they are coming from, through paying attention to different materials, to placements of objects, through trying to discern which things have been brought in by me from my studio, and through noticing traces of time as demonstrated by marks left by many different people, machines, and processes. That the lab is under renovation means that certain aspects — electrical outlets, walls — are quite literally open, adding to the mix of materials.”</p> <p>The exhibit was a multifaceted success, for Chen, for the Department of Chemistry, and for all who had the privilege of experiencing it firsthand. “This project,” Chen muses, “experimental in nature, has given me an incredible opportunity to develop artistic research and exhibition-making methods that I will take with me and continue to refine for years to come.” Chen’s work has inspired a thoughtfulness among those who work in Building 18. It has promoted the notion that the space that is experienced on a daily basis can be easily taken for granted. Moments are finite, and the lab renovation on the fourth floor of Building 18 will soon be complete, but Chen’s artistic vision helped to instigate an appreciation for the fleeting passage of time, and all of the tiny elements that make up an average day.</p> Nested cubes are assembled on a lab shelf in Buliding 18, nestled among snorkel fume hoods. The display was part of a thesis project by Angel Chen MS '17. Photo: Angel ChenStudents, Graduate, postdoctoral, Alumni/ae, Arts, Chemistry, Campus buildings and architecture, School of Science, School of Architecture and Planning, Technology and society Proximity boosts collaboration on MIT campus http://news.mit.edu/2017/proximity-boosts-collaboration-mit-campus-0710 Study: Being near colleagues helps cross-disciplinary research on papers and patents. Sun, 09 Jul 2017 23:59:59 -0400 Peter Dizikes | MIT News Office http://news.mit.edu/2017/proximity-boosts-collaboration-mit-campus-0710 <p>Want to boost collaboration among researchers? Even in an age of easy virtual communication, physical proximity increases collaborative activity among academic scholars, according to a new study examining a decade’s worth of MIT-based papers and patents.</p> <p>In particular, the study finds that cross-disciplinary and interdepartmental collaboration is fueled by basic face-to-face interaction within shared spaces.</p> <p>“If you work near someone, you’re more likely to have substantive conversations more frequently,” says Matthew Claudel, a doctoral student in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) and the MIT Lab for Innovation Science and&nbsp;Policy, and the lead author of a new paper detailing the findings.</p> <p>The study examines 40,358 published papers and 2,350 patents that stemmed from MIT research and appeared between the years 2004 and 2014. The study uses network analysis: The researchers mapped out a network of MIT collaborators and found that it revealed the importance of spatial relations on campus, above and beyond departmental and institutional structures.</p> <p>As such, the findings help confirm the importance of proximity on a campus where, through the years, many buildings have indeed been designed to encourage cross-disciplinary research.</p> <p>“Intuitively, there is a connection between space and collaboration,” Claudel observes. “That is, you have better chance of meeting someone, connecting, and working together if you are close by spatially.” Even so, he says, “It was an exciting result to find that across papers and patents, and specifically for transdisciplinary collaborations.” He adds, “In many ways, this data really confirms the Allen Curve.”</p> <p>That refers to pioneering work by Thomas Allen, a professor emeritus at the MIT Sloan School of Management and author of many studies about workspace. Allen found that collaboration and interaction diminish as a function of distance (in a way that produces a curve when plotted on a graph); even basic conversations are much less likely to occur among workers situated more than 10 meters apart. Many of Allen’s ideas are in his 1977 book, “Managing the Flow of Technology.”</p> <p>In this case, the researchers have extended Allen’s insights by identifying a similar curve; they plotted distance and collaboration on a campus-wide basis, not just within single buildings, and focused on interdisciplinary research.</p> <p>The paper, “An exploration of collaborative scientific production at MIT through spatial organization and institutional affiliation,” appears in the journal <em>PLOS ONE</em>. The co-authors are Claudel; Emanuele Massaro, a postdoc in MIT’s Senseable City Lab (part of DUSP); Paolo Santi, a visiting scientist at the Senseable City Lab; Fiona Murray, associate dean for innovation, co-director of the MIT Innovation Initiative, and the William Porter Professor of Entrepreneurship at MIT Sloan; and Carlo Ratti, a professor of the practice in DUSP and director of MIT’s Senseable City Lab.</p> <p><strong>Papers, patents, and proximity</strong></p> <p>Claudel initiated the research on the subject as part of his master’s thesis, which was itself cross-disciplinary, supported by both the Senseable City Lab and MIT’s Lab for Innovation Science and Policy. Ratti and Murray also served as supervisors for Claudel’s thesis. A basic impetus for studying architecture and collaboration, he explains, was his desire “to understand how that plays out on the MIT campus and [to see] if it holds up in the digital era,” when collaborators can communicate quickly by virtual means, whether by instant message, text, Skype, or email.</p> <p>The study exploits the fact that many MIT departments and programs are located in multiple buildings; a corollary is that many MIT buildings house multiple academic groups. (There are, for instance, 16 departments and programs in MIT’s Building 3.) This scattering of some areas of inquiry means distance between workspaces might affect how often researchers in similar fields collaborate with each other.</p> <p>The study examines the published output of 33 departments and programs at MIT, and shows that the effect of proximity on collaboration is slightly different for papers than for patents.</p> <p>When it comes to co-authoring papers, researchers located in the same workspace are more than three times as likely to collaborate compared to those who are 400 meters apart. The frequency of collaboration further drops in half when researchers are 800 meters apart.</p> <p>For patents, that curve is slightly less steep. Researchers in the same workspace are more than twice as likely to collaborate compared to those who are 400 meters apart. But the frequency of collaboration does not diminish as quickly, and only drops in half again when researchers are 1,600 meters apart.</p> <p>As Claudel interprets the findings, this shows that proximity, even at these middle distances, still has an incremental effect on work that ends up earning patents.</p> <p>“Physical space seems to be more defining for patent teams, and departmental affiliation seems to be more defining for paper-publishing,” Claudel says.</p> <p>As the paper notes, however, for both papers and patents there is “a persistent relationship between physical proximity and intensity of collaboration.”</p> <p><strong>Building for innovation</strong></p> <p>Among other data points, the study found that MIT’s Building 76, the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, has the highest rate of intra-MIT co-authorship — that is, the highest percentage of total publications that are written with other Institute faculty (roughly 32 percent).</p> <p>When it comes to patents, among buildings whose faculty produced over 100 patents in this time period, Building 32 (the Stata Center) and Building 76 have the highest rates of intra-MIT collaboration (31 percent and 27 percent, respectively).</p> <p>To a significant extent, that is by design, since both structures were intended to promote interdisciplinary research. The Stata Center houses faculty in eight departments and programs, ranging from computer science to linguistics; the Koch Institute was intended to place research scientists and bioengineering experts in close proximity as a way of encouraging innovations in cancer-fighting technology.</p> <p>MIT has a tradition of architecture built with those kinds of aims in mind, starting with its main building and its famous “Infinite Corridor,” which links a diverse set of researchers. MIT’s former Building 20, demolished in 1997, was also famous for providing malleable workspaces that could be reshaped by a diverse set of faculty. (The Stata Center, opened in 2004, was designed with open-space features in an effort to replicate Building 20’s effects.)</p> <p>Meanwhile the MIT.nano building, still under construction, is also intended to bring diverse groups of researchers together.</p> <p>“It’s an exciting space, and I think it has been designed with many of these principles in mind,” Claudel says.</p> <p>The researchers note that the current study could be extended in many ways — on other campuses, for instance, or over time, by studying the changes in collaborative activity as faculty are relocated to a new building or linked by cross-departmental initiatives. In any case, Massaro points out, “adding an architectural dimension to the field of scientometrics,” as the current paper does, could be a valuable “step toward empirical space-planning policy that supports collaboration within institutions.”</p> <p>In sum, studying precisely how architecture can enhance innovation is still a work in progress — but a growing body of evidence suggests it truly matters.</p> <p>“You can never predetermine what research will be novel and powerful and exciting,” Claudel says. “But you can create the conditions for collaborative innovation to happen.”</p> “If you work near someone, you’re more likely to have substantive conversations more frequently,” says doctoral student Matthew Claudel. Photo: Christopher HartingCollaboration, Architecture, Campus buildings and architecture, Invention, Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E), School of Architecture and Planning, Sloan School of Management