Modernizing MIT: An innovative approach to site design and detail

Modernizing MIT is a site-based design studio exploring the relationship between modern landscape design and significant works of architecture located throughout the campus of MIT. Students will be challenged to create \”modern\” landscapes that embrace the architectural context and celebrate MIT\’s mission and history. Last year, we redesigned the central core of the western half of MIT. This year we will focus on three new sites described below (students will choose one). The design process will be inspired and strengthened by frequent site visits, weekly critiques, and rigorous contextual research.Site One is the existing rail corridor located on the northern part of the campus, running from Steven Holl\’s Simmons Hall in the west to the cogeneration plant across Massachusetts Avenue to the east. Rail service will reopen with a new stop at MIT, presenting new opportunities for regenerating the corridor.Site Two is the redesign of MIT\’s Killian Court. This landmark pedestrian entrance opens to the river and Boston, and is enclosed on three sides by the historic MacLaurin Building. The solutions will explore how a \”modern\” landscape responds to a landmark architectural context in a way that celebrates MIT\’s mission.Site Three is an inwardly focused site located east of the Killian Court. Site edges are mostly formed by solid facades of Neoclassical and modern buildings with I.M Pei\’s Dreyfus and Green Building in the center.The studio will be divided into three phases: Analysis and Conceptual Design, Schematic Design, and Detailed Site Design and Detailing. Phase One includes a series of conceptual studies that evolve from a concentrated analysis. Phase Two will focus on refined landscape designs that reverberate from the existing architecture. Technical plans and details will be developed and incorporated in concert with the site plans. Phase Three will focus on the development of a series of technical drawings and details with supporting graphics and models.A prominent artist will be joining the studio for a presentation and workshop during the schematic design phase.