MIT Vassar Street Residence Hall

2017–Ongoing | Cambridge MA

Client Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Architect Michael Maltzan Architecture
Associate Architect DiMella Shaffer
Structural Engineer Guy Nordenson and Associates
Associate Structural Engineer Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

The 156,000gsf Vassar Street Residence Hall stretches along approximately 500 feet of the southwestern edge of the MIT campus, adjacent to the Charles River. In keeping with the school’s tradition, the new residence will provide a facility for undergraduates to foster a close-knit community by providing a range of social spaces including cluster kitchens, lounges, practice rooms, maker space and a new cafeteria, in addition to the dormitories that accommodate 450 residents.

The five-level superstructure is flat-plate concrete, with 25ft column bays aligned to the layout of corridors and dormitories. Concrete surfaces are exposed to view in the common spaces as well as the dormitory ceilings. The narrow, western face of the building heroically cantilevers at the second level, and the cafeteria to the south features double-height space with an interior mezzanine. “Clusters” project perpendicularly from the rectilinear portion of the building, creating south-facing terraces and courtyards, which are screened by monumental cantilevered walls. The building is further articulated by sculptural staircases outboard of the primary building perimeter, and a cantilevered roof at the bike parking area, which are framed in steel. The building aspires to Passive House standards for energy efficiency and special care was taken to coordinate the details of the concrete superstructure with the strict requirements for passive façade panel fabrication and installation.