MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts
With a floor area of 400,000 sq. ft., MIT’s new centra for Brain and Cognitive Sciences is the largest such facility in the world.
The sit the Kendal Square of the MIT campus, straggling to pieces of land separated by a railroad track. So, also the program – the complex houses three major research institutes, the Picower Centre for Learning and Memory, the McGovern Institute of Brain Research, and MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. The brief stipulated that each of these institutes has its own separate identity, and its own entrance from the street level. Yet, once inside the complex, all three are melded into one continuous system, that maximises the flexibility and interaction between scientists, so essential to culture of MIT, and to the cutting-edge research that will be done here in the decades ahead.
Commenting on the project, MIT’s President Charles Vest said: “The facilities reflect the benefit of a special partnership: the extraordinary urban design sensibilities of the lead designer, Indian architect Charles Correa, who has created limestone and glass forms of immense power and elegance, and the extensive experience of Goody Clancy and Associates in designing academic buildings and laboratories noted for their effectiveness and efficiency. Their combined efforts will constitute one of the finest facilities in the world measured on any dimension.”
With its outer skin of glass and a beautiful beige Portuguese stone (that seem to reflect all the ambient light in the sky and in the surrounding streets), the BCSC succeeds not only as a piece of architecture, but as a seminal example of urban design that enhances the surrounding buildings of Kendal Square as well.