Milestones in the Process

September 2014

Architectural teams selected for several sites within Kendall Square

In a July 2014 letter to the MIT community, Provost Schmidt, together with President Rafael Reif, Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart, and Executive Vice President and Treasurer Israel Ruiz, outlined a proposed parcel assembly and open space approach for the future of the east campus and Kendall Square area. In his letter, the Provost recommended that MIT advance the proposed plan, which is designed to achieve the vibrancy and integration that are essential for this critical gateway area of the campus.

Based on this body of work, MIT issued Requests for Proposals and in September 2014 initiated work with several design teams to create building concepts for the east campus.

Learn about the architectural firm selections and view a map of the sites.

May 2014

Report issued from Graduate Student Housing Working Group

The final report recommended adding new housing to accommodate 500-600 graduate students and creating ‘swing housing’ as capital renewal activities proceed on campus. MIT leadership asked the East Campus Steering Committee to assess the feasibility of addressing some of the housing needs in planning for the Kendall Square area and proposed initiating a West Campus planning effort which would, among other things, consider locations for new graduate housing and swing housing in that area.

Final Report to the Provost of the Graduate Student Housing Working Group (May 2014)

Fall 2013

East Campus/Kendall gateway study begins

In the fall of 2013, MIT commissioned an urban design study and assembled a team led by Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects and Michael Van Valkenburgh Landscape Architects. The team used the analysis developed by Elkus|Manfredi Architects and the City of Cambridge during the rezoning effort and the work of the School of Architecture and Planning faculty design group in addition to input from the community as a foundation for developing its concepts. After hosting a series of forums to gather MIT and Cambridge community ideas, the design team submitted their final report in March 2014.

Summer 2013

Kendall Square initiative moves toward design phase

Following the Cambridge rezoning decision in April 2013 and in response to the recommendations of the Task Force on Community Engagement, Adèle Santos, then dean of the School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P), led a faculty design group through an informal exploration of design typologies for a Kendall Square initiative. Building on the work of the three-year community process, the group focused primarily on developing additional design goals and planning principles that should be achieved in future urban-design proposals.

April 2013

City of Cambridge approves MIT’s zoning petition

On April 8, 2013, the City of Cambridge approved MIT’s petition to transform 26 acres of Institute-owned property in the Kendall Square/east campus area in order to bring new vibrancy to the Kendall Square Innovation District. The new zoning preserved existing academic development potential and enabled the creation of new housing, retail, lab, and commercial space, as well as more engaging open space and wayfinding.  

The full text of the new zoning language and MIT’s letter of commitment:

About the Cambridge zoning process:

October 2012

The Faculty Task Force on Community Engagement in 2030 Planning, appointed by then-Provost Chris Kaiser, released a report recommending that a comprehensive urban design plan for the east campus be completed if and when MIT received zoning approval for this area from the City of Cambridge.

  • The report supported MIT’s plan to file rezoning petition and offered recommendations for moving forward (article)
  • Report of the Task Force on Community Engagement in 2030 Planning on Development of MIT-Owned Property in Kendall Square (October 12, 2012) (PDF)

April 2011

Prellwitz Chilinksi Associates: “Kendall Square in Process” report

MIT worked with David Manfredi of the Boston architectural firm Elkus|Manfredi Architects for over a year to help create initial development concepts for Kendall Square. In addition, the Institute commissioned David Chilinski of the Cambridge architectural firm Prellwitz Chilinksi Associates to explore how MIT and other property owners might fulfill the promise of Kendall Square through redevelopment and placemaking. Building on this discovery process, Prellwitz Chilinksi Associates issued a report titled “Kendall Square in Process,” showing how ground floor retail and entertainment, urban plazas, wayfinding, and lighting and transit patterns could be integrated into the business and academic environment in a way that meets the needs of local residents, employees, and MIT students, faculty, and staff.

September 2010

Institute to host community brainstorming sessions on Kendall Square (article)

Meetings designed to solicit ideas for publicly accessible space in Kendall Square

May 2010

MIT explores plans for enlivening Kendall Square (article)

Discussions begin within MIT and Cambridge communities


MIT initiated work with Elkus|Manfredi Architects to create a conceptual approach to development in the east campus. Over the next three years, the Institute engaged in a community-wide effort to align the interests of a broad group of stakeholders around a future vision for the area.

About innovation in Kendall Square