CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 25, 2007 — A groundbreaking ceremony on May 15, 2007 for a new management facility at the MIT Sloan School of Management marks the culmination of nearly a decade of fundraising, planning, and design efforts by John C Head III Dean Richard Schmalensee who steps down from his nine-year role in June 2007.
MIT President Susan Hockfield will co-host the 4pm ceremony with Schmalensee, which kicks off the first phase of construction on a landmark, 209,000 square-foot, multi-purpose management center slated for completion in 2010.
The building initiative has been a major priority throughout Schmalensee’s term as dean. “The new building will unify the faculty in areas that encourage collaboration and, in the process, transform the way that our students and faculty work together,” says Schmalensee. “MIT Sloan will truly have competitive facilities and a real campus for the first time.”
Schmalensee, who will wield the ceremonial shovel, will be joined by the building’s lead donors, e-Trade and International Securities Exchange founder William A. Porter and his wife Joan, who presented MIT with a gift of $25 million, the largest for the project. Once completed, the new building will house the William A. Porter Management Center for Management Education in honor of the entrepreneur and a 1967 graduate of the MIT Sloan Fellows program. “My wife and I decided to give one major thing that would have significant meaning for humankind,” says Porter. “And trying to leverage the Institute’s technological capability through entrepreneurship for the betterment of the human condition is it.”
The goals behind the proposed design developed by the architectural team of design firm Moore Ruble Yudell, Architects and Planners of Santa Monica, CA, and executive architect firmá Bruner/Cott Associates of Cambridge, MA, is to unify MIT Sloan faculty under one roof; add additional classrooms, study rooms, and public spaces; provide a center for the school; blend in with existing campus and city structures; promote sustainability; and create a new eastern “gateway” to the Institute at large.
“The new MIT Sloan project will be a good neighbor to its context as well as to the city of Cambridge,” says Buzz Yudell, a principal and founding partner at Moore Ruble Yudell. “The scale of the building is carefully woven into its district and the design of new exterior gardens and plazas will be welcoming, while enhancing the pedestrian experience along adjacent streets.”
The proposed structure— currently known in typical MIT-number fashion as Building E62— will stand six stories high over a three-story underground garage with a fašade composed of a series of stone-clad volumes joined by glass-filled bays. An elevated river court space framed by an entire glass wall will face Cambridge’s Memorial Drive. A raised garden space lined with trees on the Main Street side will be able to host up to 250 people for outside events.
Based on research by MIT Sloan Professor Thomas Allen, the creation of faculty office clusters - which will accommodate 12 to 14 offices - are being installed to promote a broad range of interaction among faculty and graduate students. Open stairwells will connect two floors on alternating sides of each floor. Classrooms will be located on the second level, and Executive Education classrooms and supporting amenities will be built on the Ground Level as a suite with access from a central lobby. The first floor will also include a community dining area.
The curving form of the dining area and public spaces on the lower levels will create a significant open space along Memorial Drive overlooking the Charles River. At the ground level, a gently arcing gallery will be designed to orient toward the garden court.
The current design is striving for a high-performance building that will provide superior energy efficiency and create healthy and comfortable environments by design, through intelligent handling of daylight, artificial light and air, and reduction of unhealthy building practices and materials. Sustainable elements under consideration include an insulating building exterior and window system, sun shading devices, photo voltaic panels, and “green” sedum roofs designed to reduce peak rainwater runoff to the storm drain system.
“I will actually miss being involved in the building project,” says Schmalensee. “I will miss spending time with alumni, because I got to know a lot of alumni over the years. I’ll miss the sense that I can put my hands on the institution and make it better. That’s a good feeling, the ability to say, ‘I can help fix that.’”
Schmalensee played a key role in spearheading new and experimental curricula during his nine years as dean. In response to critics’ concerns that the MBA degree lacks grounding in the real world, MIT Sloan introduced such new initiatives as the Global Entrepreneurship Laboratory, the Laboratory for Sustainable Business, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation certificate program, and Conversations with Jack Welch, taught by the former CEO of GE. Schmalensee has referred to this phase as “being in beta” - that of a test phase in the high tech field before a product launch - one that he hopes to see grow to fruition under a new roof.
Schmalensee, a former economic advisor to the first President George Bush, joined the MIT faculty in 1977. He served as deputy dean at MIT Sloan from 1996 to 1998 before being named dean. After stepping down in June, he will continue his role as a professor of Economics and Management at MIT Sloan. He holds an SB in Economics, Politics and Science, and a PhD in Economics from MIT.
For over fifty years, the MIT Sloan School of Management, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has been one of the world's leading academic sources of innovation in management theory and practice. With students from more than 60 countries, it develops effective, innovative, and principled leaders who advance the global economy.