Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel renovation, Building 17

A renovation of the landmark Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel is expected to create the most advanced academic wind tunnel in the nation.

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WBWT rendering (Imai Keller Moore Architects)

Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel renovation, Building 17

76 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA, 02139

Status: In construction

Themes: Innovation and collaboration
Renovation and renewal
Enhancement of life and learning

Completion: 2020

A renovation of the landmark Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel is expected to create the most advanced academic wind tunnel in the nation.

Overview

WBWT rendering (Imai Keller Moore Architects)
Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Status

In construction

Completion Date

2020

Themes and priorities

Innovation and collaboration
Renovation and renewal
Enhancement of life and learning

Since it first opened in September 1938, MIT’s Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel has been an instrumental tool in the development of aerospace, architectural, vehicular, sports, and other engineering systems. Testing at the facility has ranged from aircraft and ground structure aeroelasticity to the aerodynamics of subway station entrances, space suits, racing bicycles, and Olympic ski suits. After 80 years of service, the landmark facility is now undergoing a renovation and modernization project.

The new tunnel will incorporate state-of-the-art technologies and equipment that will expand its capacity while lowering its fan motor power consumption. With a planned test area volume of 1600 cubic feet and the ability to test speeds up to 200 mph, it is expected to be the largest and most advanced academic wind tunnel in the nation. Located at Building 17 on the site of the current tunnel (which will be dismantled), the new facility will retain the Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel name.

Renovation plans include updated control facilities, a full rehabilitation of Building 17, and infrastructure updates in Building 37 and in the Building 33 Hangar. The project will also create direct connections between the tunnel and AeroAstro workshops.

Image credits

Imai Keller Moore Architects

Details

Address

76 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA, 02139

School or Unit

School of Engineering (SoE)

Use

Academic

Project Team

Architect: Imai Keller Moore Architects, Watertown, MA.
Construction manager: Turner Construction Co, Boston MA.
MIT Team: Eric Ammondson, Robert P. Cunkelman, Christos Maravelias, Sonia Richards

Scope

Approximately 5,500 gsf

Map

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