New Vassar Street Residence Hall121 and 169 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA
Status: In design
Enhancement of life and learning
MIT is in the design phase for a new undergraduate residence hall on Vassar Street that will open up the West Campus and provide students with a central residential location.
Themes and priorities
As part of its mission to enhance the student experience, MIT is proceeding with a new undergraduate residence hall on the site of the West Garage parking facility (W45). As noted by Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart, this residence will “further unlock the potential of the Vassar corridor” and will place more students close to the heart of campus.
The residence hall’s design (influenced by the Architectural Principles Document developed by a team of MIT students, faculty heads of house, and staff) includes rooms arranged in “clusters” of 35-38 students in a mix of singles and doubles with shared community spaces such as lounges and study rooms. Throughout the building, stairways have been located and designed to encourage communication and travel between the clusters. Residents will also enjoy larger shared community spaces such as study lounges, music rooms, a private courtyard, and other flexible spaces. A dining facility on the first floor, open to the community, will include a kitchen area where students will have the opportunity to cook for themselves. The project will add 450 new dormitory beds and has a target completion date of Fall 2020.
Outside the building, inviting benches will be located along the edge of Vassar Street, and a tree-filled entry courtyard and a plaza area will provide green space and gathering opportunities.
In addition to enhancing the student life experience at MIT, the new residence will provide MIT with flexibility and capacity as it continues with its comprehensive renewal of campus housing.
School or Unit
Initial plans and concepts include:
- 450 new dormitory beds, 12 apartments for graduate resident tutors, 4 apartments for staff (Head of House, Associate Head of House, Visiting Scholar, and Area Director)
- Rooms arranged in clusters of 35-38 students with one graduate resident tutor in a mix of rooms that include singles, doubles, and shared community spaces
- Stairways located to facilitate interaction among room clusters
- Large shared community spaces including lounges, meeting rooms, music rooms, and flexible spaces
- Dining hall open to all residents and to the MIT community
- “Country kitchen” area where students can choose to cook for themselves
- Benches and lighting added along Vassar Street
- Green spaces include a tree-filled public entry courtyard, a private courtyard for residents, and a west plaza area
- The building’s exterior design includes diverse materials and patterning, varied window sizes and types, and additional architectural and sculptural elements to provide visual interest
Sustainable Design Elements
Initial plans include these elements:
- Green spaces added, including courtyards and a plaza
- Trees and other plantings added
- Green roofs incorporated into design
- Design includes stormwater management through underground detention beds as well as porous lawn and planted areas
- 34 short-term bicycle parking spaces and 243 long-term bicycle parking spaces are included in design
- Efficiency strategies of project include high performance building envelope, high performance heating and cooling, efficient lighting, low-flow plumbing fixtures, Energy Star appliances
- Project is targeting LEED Gold certification