MIT Vassar Street Residence Hall

2017–2020 | Cambridge MA

Client Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Architect Michael Maltzan Architecture
Associate Architect DiMella Shaffer
Engineer of Record Simpson Gumpertz & Heger 
Consulting Structural Engineer Guy Nordenson and Associates
Awards 2022 International Architecture Awards Honorable Mention

The 170,000sf Vassar Street Residence Hall stretches approximately 500ft along the edge of the MIT campus adjacent to the Charles River. The new residence provides a facility for undergraduates to foster a close-knit community by providing a range of social spaces. In addition to the dormitories that accommodate 450 residents, there are communal kitchens, lounges, practice rooms, a maker space and a new cafeteria.

The five-level building has a flat-plate concrete superstructure, exposed in communal space and dormitory ceilings, with 25ft column bays aligned with partitions. The narrow, western face of the building cantilevers at the second level. The cafeteria to the south features double-height space with an interior mezzanine. Volumes project perpendicularly from the rectilinear portion of the building, creating south-facing terraces and courtyards screened by cantilevered walls. The building also features sculptural staircases outboard of the primary building perimeter and a cantilevered roof at the bike parking area, which are framed in steel. Passive House standards for energy efficiency guided the concrete superstructure’s façade panel fabrication and installation.