MIT Media Lab

MIT Media Lab

Maki and Associates in assocation with Leers Weinzapfel Associates, 2009

Harleston Parker Medal, 2012

This building is composed of a series of interlocked two story volumes that define different work areas while allowing interactions between. Investigators can focus on their activities while having opportunities for inspiring distractions. The robust workbenches and laboratory furniture designed by MKS Design provide the backbone for the lab's wide range of tools and equipment. They represent Dean William Mitchell’s desire to take an intentional step away from the makeshift character of garage settings to ensure that they did not become a distraction through clutter.

The circulation paths were conceived to ensure a seamless continuity of movement to and from the Wiesner Building next door. Together, the buildings preserve the idiosyncratic, interdisciplinary and interactive work style that had developed over time. Stairs and walkways are threaded around the labs, creating a dynamic path from the street to penthouse meeting and presentation spaces, with lounges, offices and lots of overlooks along the way. The result is a kind of interiorized urbanity that allows felicitous meet-ups, and views into other labs that can spark unexpected conversations and discoveries.

The exterior expresses the interior spatial structure, with glazing and metal scrims overlapping to create a thoughtfully articulated - if somewhat restrained – urban building. A floating volume above the entry and an upturned roof at the penthouse defy gravity just enough to give the building a sense of lightness.

Source: HPM Jury comments