East Campus Urban Design Study

As recommended by the Faculty Task Force on Community Engagement in 2030 Planning, MIT commissioned an urban design study to help us envision the future of our east campus and the Kendall gateway area. An important element of the study process was the gathering of thoughts and ideas from the MIT and Cambridge communities.

Goals of the study

The overarching goal of the East Campus Urban Design Study was to help MIT create a long-range development framework to shape future academic, residential, and commercial uses for its properties in the Kendall Square area, with the goal of creating a vibrant gateway for MIT’s east campus.

Specific goals for the Kendall Square initiative include:

  • Create a gateway that is emblematic of MIT in the 21st century, and that engages and enriches Kendall Square
  • Enhance the existing Kendall Square innovation cluster by providing space for new innovative academic initiatives and commercial enterprises
  • Create a lively and sustainable urban environment by developing a destination gathering and arrival place with amenities, services, and active streetscapes for all
  • Establish a vibrant new gateway and connective links between MIT, the central business district, and the Cambridge community
  • Create an overall development plan that is comprehensive, feasible, and economically viable

Developing the study

After commissioning the urban design study, MIT assembled a project team lead by Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects and Michael Van Valkenburgh Landscape Architects. As a foundation for developing its recommendations, the team relied on analysis developed by Elkus|Manfredi Architects and the City of Cambridge during the rezoning effort, the work of a School of Architecture and Planning faculty design group tasked with examining the Kendall area, and input from the community. After hosting a series of forums to gather MIT and Cambridge community ideas, the design team submitted their final report in March 2014. 

Final report documents, March 2014

Design team selections

A steering group, co-chaired by Provost Schmidt and Executive Vice President and Treasurer Israel Ruiz, will guide the next steps in the context of the recent findings of the Graduate Student Housing Working Group. (The Working Group issued their final report in May 2014.)

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 gateway area.