The new heart of MIT Sloan

Taking a closer look at what makes E62 both a house and a home

HillCindy Hill, MIT Sloan's director of capital projects

Now that E62, MIT Sloan’s newest building, and the gateway to the Institute’s East Campus, is complete after three years of construction, it’s easy to be awed by the some of the building’s features such as the 155-million-year-old Solnhofen limestone walls with embedded fossils.

But if there’s a “must see” feature that Cindy Hill, Director of Sloan Capital Projects, would like to highlight, it’s E62’s many gathering spaces that will support the entire School community. “There are all different ways that people can enjoy being together in the space. Go to the gallery on the Memorial Drive side, which encompasses the first and second floors. There is open dining that spills out into the space and there are grand staircases which are really lovely ways to get up to the second floor,” she said.

There are 35 group study and breakout rooms adjacent to the six new classrooms and a beautifully appointed faculty/staff lounge on the fifth and sixth floors. Conference rooms and coffee locations on the faculty floors serve as natural gathering spaces. “What I have heard from the faculty moving in is that people are doing what we hoped they would do. They are walking comfortably through the space and are bumping into other faculty whom they might not have had the chance to talk with before,” Cindy said. Approximately 250 faculty, staff, and PhD students were moved into E62 over the summer. There is room for growth should MIT Sloan expand in the future.

MIT Sloan students will benefit from having a central location in East Campus. “It gives students a home,” Cindy said. “This is where you will find the most people at any time during the day. There are many places to just sit and talk or quietly study. In the same way that we want faculty bumping into each other, we want students to have that opportunity, too. There are lots of ways that they can study, collaborate, and network [in E62].” All MIT community members are welcome to visit the Siteman Dining Room on the first floor, where breakfast, lunch, and a light supper will be served on weekdays.

E62 was designed to fit in with the rest of East Campus with its warm colors and low buildings. The architects, Moore Rubell Yudell, chose a light-colored limestone after looking at a number of samples which they compared to E52’s colors. The architects also wanted a building that would not stand too tall, so that its residents would not be spread across too many floors, and because the neighborhood is filled with low buildings. The inside design features clean lines, light maple wood, and low upholstered benches and sofas, so as not to obstruct the Charles River view.

Outside, nearly 30,000 square feet of green space has been added to MIT’s campus. The North Garden at the Main Street entrance is now home to a new piece of MIT artwork, the sculpture, “Ring Stone,” carved by Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang. “Ring Stone” is 39 feet long and weighs approximately 14 metric tons. Cai carved the sculpture from one block of granite in Quanzhou and then shipped it here as part of MIT’s Percent-for-the-Arts program. The rings symbolize interconnectedness and the five Japanese black pine trees growing out of the sculpture were chosen for their small stature because they will not grow large enough to split the rings.

Cindy said Cai created Ring Stone after speaking with MIT Sloan about its culture, mission, and purpose. “I think the theme of interconnectedness is really very important to us,” Cindy said.

E62 will be the most energy-efficient building on campus and will be LEED certified. Among the building’s many sustainable features are light and shade sensors in offices which will conserve energy and chilled beams and radiant panels which will regulate temperature, and a building envelope that is designed to be highly insulated and airtight. Classrooms have been designed for flexibility – the flat rooms have high ceilings so they could be tiered in the future, and the tiered rooms could someday be converted to flat classrooms. Other features include terrazzo flooring, an epoxy resin matrix mixed with aggregate chips, which are actually fragments of glass from crushed beer bottles. In keeping with the theme of sustainability, bike racks can be found on the P1 level of the E62 underground garage, near the elevator.

Finally, the number E62 has some significant meaning and positive Feng Shui. In Chinese, 6 connotes “progress” or “profitability” and 2 means “easy to achieve.”

Article courtesy of News@MITSloan