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SoMa Site 3 Lab Building at mit

Adaptive Reuse, Innovation and New Synergies


SoMa Site 3 Lab Building at mit
By Diana Carta -
AGC Interpane has participated in the project

Creativity, innovation and inclusiveness sum up the recently completed project by Perkins&Will: the Site 3 Lab Building on the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) university campus. Part of the South of Main Street (SoMa) Development, this renovation and addition to a historic building on Kendall Square continues MIT’s characteristic openness to innovation. Designed to create “spaces for all”, this mix of old and new is synonymous with a mindset that sets great store by the art of placemaking and identity in a complex, delicate setting such as Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The renovation and transformation of the original 238 Main Street building creates an effortless dialogue between the scale and language of the past and the flexibility necessary to allow for future developments. The new program’s spatial and functional organization encourages the integration of business, retail and research activities while its architectural design meets contemporary needs but at the same time fits into its historic context.

The new high rise flanking the preserved historic building comprises two volumes rotated at 90 degrees to each other. The five-story mass resting on the ground relates to the existing urban fabric and height of the historic building while the six-story upper mass rising at the eastern end of the lower block looks over toward the campus. The large terrace created by the rotation of the two blocks connects visually and perceptually with the open ground-level green spaces and at the same time signposts the entrance to the atrium. A harmonious amalgam of the older brick building and contemporary steel and glass, this 30-m-high central space is flooded with natural light streaming through large glazed openings. The hub of the building’s vertical and horizontal distribution circuits – the departure points of elevators and traversed by suspended walkways – this huge void only...

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