As a central component of MIT’s Kendall Square development, the Site 4 project comprises a new graduate residential tower rising from a complex base, integrating two existing historic buildings. While the tower above introduces a new icon within the skyline of Cambridge, the base negotiates the physical and programmatic relationship between “town-and-gown” to activate the site. The building serves as a gateway to a new public open space that punctuates the east entry to the MIT campus. The ground floor of each existing historic building has been lowered to the level of the sidewalk on Main Street, providing accessibility and a seamless connection between the Institute and the City. As a building with no “back,” each facade provides access to the public and private programs: graduate housing, the MIT Welcome Center, a childcare center, the MIT Innovation HQ, the MIT Admissions Department, and retail spaces. These entries engage Main Street, the Kendall Square Gateway, the new Open Space, and Hayward Street. The tower is oriented north/south to allow optimal light onto Main Street as well as to frame views from neighboring buildings towards the Charles River. The tower slab cantilevers over the Open Space, which includes terraces and children’s play spaces connecting the building’s users to the MIT community and the City of Cambridge. The project was designed to achieve LEED Gold certification as well as a 100-year life cycle. This long-term investment led to a focus on climate-resilient design, resource sustainability, simplicity of maintenance, and flexibility of use.


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