L eave it to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( MIT), based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to create a physical structure with enough thought behind it to complete a doctoral dissertation. With graduates such as former United Nations Secretary- General and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan and former Hewlett- Packard President and CEO Carly Fiorina, MIT Sloan School of Management was in dire need of a campus space to match its reputation for innovation in management theory and practice. Dean Richard Schmalensee, who stepped down in 2007, made it a major priority for nearly a decade to fundraise for, plan and design a space that not only had the look and feel of a world-renowned center of learning but also changed the way faculty and students interact. In 2007, construction crews broke ground on the 209,000 square- foot, multi- purpose management center, which is slated for completion in 2010 and will cost approximately $ 142 million. " The new building will unify the faculty in areas that encourage collaboration and, in the process, transform the way that our students and faculty work together," said Schmalensee at the groundbreaking ceremony. " MIT Sloan will truly have competitive facilities and a real campus for the fi rst time." The design, developed by Moore Ruble Yudell, Architects and Planners of Santa Monica, California and Bruner/ Cott Associates of Cambridge, Massachusetts, aims to unify MIT Sloan faculty under one roof; add additional classrooms, study rooms, and public spaces; provide a center for the school; blend in with existing campus and city structures; promote sustainability; and create a new eastern ' gateway' to the Institute at large. Colloquially known as Building E62, the new structure will stand six stories high over a three-story underground garage with a façade composed of stone- clad volumes joined by glass- fi lled bays. An elevated river court space framed by an entire glass wall will face Cambridge's Memorial Drive, and a raised garden space lined with trees will be able to host up to 250 people for outdoor events. In addition to aesthetics, the design will provide superior energy effi ciency and create healthy and comfortable environments through the artful handling of daylight, artifi cial light, and air. In addition, it will reduce the use of unhealthy building practices and materials. Sustainable elements that will be used include an insulating building exterior and window system, sun shading devices, photo- voltaic panels, and " green" sedum roofs designed to reduce peak rainwater runoff to the storm drain system. " A major goal of the new building project is to create a heart for the School. Paramount in our planning process is thinking about how our community functions— and how we can make it easier for that to happen," said Cindy Hill, director of capital projects, in the 2007 Spring/ Summer MIT Sloan newsletter. " We wanted more 152 October 08 www. bus- ex. com The ingenuity and unconventional thinking that defi nes this top- tier institution also defi nes the campus itself. Kate Sawyer reports Artfularchitecture
October 08 www. bus- ex. com 153 MIT Sloan School of Management common meeting places, a smoother process to fi nd a study room, and more pathways that take you right where you need to be." According to Hill, all principal participants in the project sat in the same room to discuss the design issues— if the architects proposed something the engineers couldn't achieve, it could be resolved immediately. " I've been to so many different schools with beautiful areas that would never work for our community— places where faculty members are tucked away in narrow hallways or in rabbit holes. We have a faculty committee thinking about how they want to be organized. Our faculty said, ' We like to see each other, so that we have a sense of closeness and intimacy.' Since this is an open- door community, we need to create clusters. A heavy door can make people feel that they must have serious business in order to walk through it," said Hill. Based on research by MIT Sloan professor Thomas Allen, the faculty offi ce clusters, which will accommodate 12 to 14 offi ces, are being installed to promote a broad range of interaction among faculty and graduate students alike. True to form, MIT has puzzled out a winning facility design that, perhaps surprisingly, provided an object lesson on the importance of community to all involved. " I will actually miss being involved in the building project," said Schmalensee. " I will miss spending time with alumni, because I got to know a lot of alumni over the years. I'll miss the sense that I can put my hands on the Institution and make it better. That's a good feeling, the ability to say, ' I can help fi x that.'"