• Ground was broken for the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, which was designed by the Cambridge-based architectural firm Ellenzweig, in March 2008.

    Ground was broken for the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, which was designed by the Cambridge-based architectural firm Ellenzweig, in March 2008.

    Photo: Patrick Gillooly

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  • This stereograhic panorama gives a 360-degree view from the center of the North Courtyard.
“It really has no back door,” Facilities Senior Project Manager James May said of the new facility, which features four ground-level entrances that link the building to the MIT campus and Kendall Square.

    This stereograhic panorama gives a 360-degree view from the center of the North Courtyard. “It really has no back door,” Facilities Senior Project Manager James May said of the new facility, which features four ground-level entrances that link the building to the MIT campus and Kendall Square.

    Photo: Patrick Gillooly

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  • As senior project manager for the Koch Institute, May collaborated with researchers and architects to make sure the researchers’ technical requirements were included in the building’s design. He and his colleagues also helped ensure that the new facility would create a vibrant street front in Kendall Square, as well as an inviting green space for the MIT community.

    As senior project manager for the Koch Institute, May collaborated with researchers and architects to make sure the researchers’ technical requirements were included in the building’s design. He and his colleagues also helped ensure that the new facility would create a vibrant street front in Kendall Square, as well as an inviting green space for the MIT community.

    Photo: Patrick Gillooly

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  • Located on the former site of a parking lot, the construction of the new building, also known as Building 76, created new outdoor space that is informally known as the North Courtyard.

    Located on the former site of a parking lot, the construction of the new building, also known as Building 76, created new outdoor space that is informally known as the North Courtyard.

    Photo: Patrick Gillooly

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  • Improving the look and feel from Main Street was a key design goal. The glass-enclosed corridor of the Koch Institute that faces Main Street will feature a gallery displaying scientific images submitted by members of the MIT community. The design team tried to balance the urban feel of the street front by planting dozens of tall trees along the wide sidewalk.

    Improving the look and feel from Main Street was a key design goal. The glass-enclosed corridor of the Koch Institute that faces Main Street will feature a gallery displaying scientific images submitted by members of the MIT community. The design team tried to balance the urban feel of the street front by planting dozens of tall trees along the wide sidewalk.

    Photo: Patrick Gillooly

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  • Despite proposals to position Building 76 at the exact corner of Main and Ames streets, the building’s architect “was adamant that we preserve the view of the dome because it’s something that everyone recognizes as a part of MIT,” says May. As a result, the building is located several yards from the intersection.
This image also shows one of the building’s glass stairwells that is meant to function like a lantern when it’s dark. “It becomes sort of like a landmark at night,” says May.

    Despite proposals to position Building 76 at the exact corner of Main and Ames streets, the building’s architect “was adamant that we preserve the view of the dome because it’s something that everyone recognizes as a part of MIT,” says May. As a result, the building is located several yards from the intersection. This image also shows one of the building’s glass stairwells that is meant to function like a lantern when it’s dark. “It becomes sort of like a landmark at night,” says May.

    Photo: Patrick Gillooly

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  • Adding trees and other plantings to the site was essential to creating the new green space. Landscape architectural firm Reed Hilderbrand Associates Inc. of Watertown planted red oaks and swamp white oaks near the Stata perimeter in order to repeat the landscaping that already surrounds Stata. The firm also planted London plane trees and a hybrid of American elms, as well as dogwood and witch hazel that will bloom in the spring.

    Adding trees and other plantings to the site was essential to creating the new green space. Landscape architectural firm Reed Hilderbrand Associates Inc. of Watertown planted red oaks and swamp white oaks near the Stata perimeter in order to repeat the landscaping that already surrounds Stata. The firm also planted London plane trees and a hybrid of American elms, as well as dogwood and witch hazel that will bloom in the spring.

    Photo: Patrick Gillooly

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  • The diagonal pathways of the North courtyard are meant to connect the new building to major destinations on the MIT campus like the Infinite Corridor, the Stata Center and Building 68, which is home to the Department of Biology. The courtyard is designed to have as little asphalt as possible in order to create enough space for people to play football or toss a Frisbee.

    The diagonal pathways of the North courtyard are meant to connect the new building to major destinations on the MIT campus like the Infinite Corridor, the Stata Center and Building 68, which is home to the Department of Biology. The courtyard is designed to have as little asphalt as possible in order to create enough space for people to play football or toss a Frisbee.

    Photo: Patrick Gillooly

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  • Known as the Promenade, the new sidewalk that runs along the Stata amphitheater to the intersection of Main and Vassar streets is what May calls a “super-highway pedestrian path” that serves as the formal connection between MIT and Cambridge. He imagines traditions being established along this space, including processional and hooding ceremonies at graduation time. The spot is also a logical summer location for the MIT Produce Market that is held every Tuesday.

    Known as the Promenade, the new sidewalk that runs along the Stata amphitheater to the intersection of Main and Vassar streets is what May calls a “super-highway pedestrian path” that serves as the formal connection between MIT and Cambridge. He imagines traditions being established along this space, including processional and hooding ceremonies at graduation time. The spot is also a logical summer location for the MIT Produce Market that is held every Tuesday.

    Photo: Dominick Reuter

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Slideshow: the Koch Institute transforms East Campus environs

Ground was broken for the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, which was designed by the Cambridge-based architectural firm Ellenzweig, in March 2008.

Completion of cancer-research building opens green space for community use and creates vibrant streetscape.


By the end of the year, about 600 researchers should be moved and settled into their new headquarters at the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. And with the building's recent completion come added benefits: a reopened and remodeled courtyard available for community use and a vibrant streetscape in the Kendal Square area.

The new Koch Institute — a seven-story, 365,000-square-foot building that will house 25 faculty labs — stretches along Main Street between Ames and Vassar streets, and forms the northern perimeter of the revamped green area between Koch, the Stata Center, and Buildings 66 and 68.

Lined with new trees and plantings, the green space, informally known as the North Courtyard, will provide outdoor dining opportunities for the MIT community as soon as a café opens in the Koch Institute. Just as important as creating the new courtyard was designing a vibrant streetscape along Main Street, according to Koch Institute Senior Project Manager James May, an architect with the Department of Facilities.

MIT News recently toured the Koch Institute's exterior areas with May, who provided insight into the seven years of planning that went into designing what is considered to be the new gateway to the eastern edge of MIT’s campus.

“Whereas Killian Court is like MIT’s formal living room that is used for special occasions," May says. "I think of the North Courtyard as the informal family room that is used all the time."


Topics: Campus buildings and architecture, Campus Dining, Community, Faculty, Koch Institute, Staff, Students, Cancer, Facilities, Kendall Square

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