Hayden Library Renovation, Building 14160 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA
Themes: Renovation and renewal
Enhancement of life and learning
MIT’s renewal of Hayden Library, a central element of the campus, transformed its spaces and services to better support research, learning, interaction, and community building.
Themes and priorities
Originally designed by Voorhees, Walker, Foley & Smith, Hayden Library first opened in 1951 and has served for nearly 70 years as a central element of the campus. MIT has renewed and restored the Library’s first two floors, updating the main reading rooms and office spaces to reflect the changing nature of the research library for today’s students and faculty.
“Libraries have a unique role to play at an institution like MIT, especially the physical spaces of the Libraries,” explains Chris Bourg, director of the MIT Libraries. “It was critical that the new Hayden Library and courtyard meet some core needs for the MIT community, including a place for working hands-on with collections, spaces for collaborative group work and community building, and accessible, welcoming spots for working or relaxing in beautiful surroundings.”
The design enables the first floor to serve as a dynamic, flexible community space for dialogue, with seating areas, The Courtyard Café, the Nexus (a multipurpose event and teaching space), and eight reservable study rooms to foster interaction and collaboration. Windows facing the courtyard fill the space with natural light. On the second floor, the reading room remains a place for quiet study, paired with improved office spaces, consultation areas, and the Oasis – envisioned as a technology-minimal zone for relaxing. Outside, the revitalized courtyard features a woodland garden, nine Katsura trees, seating areas, and a walkway. Building 14 also received infrastructure upgrades including systems improvements, code and accessibility upgrades, enlarged and renovated restrooms, an expanded new elevator, and updates to improve energy performance. Exterior work included restoration of the north and south windows, repairs to sections of the limestone walls, and refurbishment of the northeast entrance. The project’s scope and development were informed by the 2016 MIT Task Force on the Future of Libraries preliminary report and by community input gathered through surveys, open forums, and workshops held in spring 2019.
The project received LEED Gold v4 certification.
- 24-hour accessible first floor
- Second-floor reading room for quiet study
- Individual study spaces, collaboration spaces, and reservable study rooms
- Multipurpose event and teaching space
- Computing stations
- Expanded, upgraded, and inclusive restroom facilities
- Expanded, new elevator and new stairway
- Improved offices and front-of-house staff support/improvements
- Entrance repairs
- Code compliance and accessibility upgrades