Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Projects : research  
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
McGovern Institute and Picower Center
Cambridge, MA
22,000 gsf

This renovation project took place in a seven-story, 148,000 sf former office building at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Originally built as a candy factory, Building E-19 has concrete, mushroom-column construction and a floor-to-floor height of only 11 feet. Space on the third and fifth floors was renovated to provide 18,500 sf of research laboratory space and 3,500 sf of headquarter offices for the McGovern Institute for Brain Research and Picower Center for Learning and Memory.

A significant project driver was MIT's immediate need to accommodate newly hired researchers and recruit additional researchers, which necessitated a highly aggressive project schedule. Following a building assessment study, program confirmation, design, and construction documents were completed in a time-span of less than five months, and were overlapped with construction activities to deliver the laboratory space less than nine months from the project start. Ellenzweig worked with MIT and the construction manager to develop a design, review, and delivery process that would meet the tight schedule while providing a high level of design quality - all while responding to the needs of the researchers and maintaining firm budget control.

The design of the completed laboratories provides a high degree of openness to support communication among researchers and access to natural light, combined with a simple and maintainable palette of finishes and high-quality artificial lighting. An approach to security was developed that provides for controlled access to corridors and laboratories that support behavioral experiments using animals. A high degree of flexibility was achieved in the labs by the use of the modular, demountable lab casework system, and by providing adequate laboratory services to accommodate changes.

Ellenzweig provided existing building assessment, feasibility study, programming, architectural design, laboratory planning and design, and construction administration services.