Monday, January 10, 2011

MIT Media Lab : By Maki and Associates

Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Maki and Associates
Post By:Kitticoon Poopong
Photo © Courtesy of Anton Grassl/Esto--Maki deploys several cladding strategies to identify different interior uses on the elevations.

Fumihiko Maki skillfully combines sectional complexity and transparency to create a fitting new home for MIT’s Media Lab.
In the world of architecture, it isn’t unusual for projects to fall victim to shifting priorities or changing financial circumstances and subsequently stall or be shelved indefinitely. When, and if, such schemes are resurrected and built, they sometimes seem dated or irrelevant. But for the new Media Lab building at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, realized more than a decade after architect Fumihiko Maki was given the commission, the long hiatus between design and construction has not made the project—which has an unusual degree of sectional complexity—any less appealing.
Photo © Courtesy of Anton Grassl/Esto--The stair stringers swell at the center and taper where they meet floor slabs. The shape, derived from their moment diagrams, conceals intermediary landings.
Photo © Courtesy of Anton Grassl/Esto--Occupants and guests can ascend from the lower atrium in glass-enclosed elevators or by way of boldly painted and subtly sculpted staircases.
Maki’s firm, with Boston-based Leers Weinzapfel Associates as architect of record, was hired in the late 1990s, when the digital revolution was in full swing. The university wanted to expand the Media Lab, responsible for several inventions for wireless networks, field sensing, and Web browsers, into a new structure connected to its original home on the Cambridge campus: the I.M. Pei–designed Wiesner Building, completed in 1985.
Photo © Courtesy of Anton Grassl/Esto--The Media Lab's sectional configuration and generous use of glass provide diagonal and horizontal views through the building.

Photo © Courtesy of Anton Grassl/Esto--Bridgelike walkways define circulation through the interconnected atria.
But when corporate donations dried up in the wake of the dot-com bust, the university mothballed the completed working drawings. Then, three years ago, after MIT secured new funding sources and the architects scaled back the project with changes that included eliminating basement research space, contractors broke ground. The $90 million, 163,000-square-foot building opened in March.
Photo © Courtesy of Anton Grassl/Esto--The building's lobby doubles as a gallery.
The program called for a facility about one-and-a-half times larger than Wiesner to house the Media Lab and facilities for a range of art, design, and technology-related programs in the School of Architecture and Planning (of which the Media Lab is a part), but on a plot about 25 percent smaller than that of the lab’s existing home. Gary Kamemoto, a Maki and Associates director, jokes that the university chose the Tokyo-based firm since it was accustomed to designing buildings for tight urban sites in Japan. But MIT’s goals were larger than squeezing as much program as possible into a compact package. From the Pritzker Prize–winning Maki, whose designs are known for their clarity and attention to detail, the Media Lab hoped for a structure that would promote visual and social connectivity, both among its research groups and with the outside world. The Media Lab wanted a building that would support its cross-disciplinary work, which runs the gamut from digitally controlled prosthetics to folding electric vehicles to devices that help the autistic communicate.
Photo © Courtesy of Anton Grassl/Esto--Each lab space has at least one exterior exposure and a double-height work space surrounded by mezzanine-level offices.

Maki’s response was to create a deceptively straightforward plan diagram. Within the building’s steel-framed structural grid, which resembles a tic-tac-toe board, research laboratories flank a central atrium. But the three-dimensional reality is much more complex. The laboratories, seven in total, are double height and vertically offset from each other. The atrium is not a single space, but a set of two interlocking voids that span five of the building’s six levels. This Rubik’s Cube–like assembly, along with generous interior glazing, creates unexpected horizontal and diagonal sight lines. 
Photo © Courtesy of Anton Grassl/Esto--The open layout of the atelier like research spaces provides plenty of room for the research groups' messy vitality.
In an inversion of the typical organization of academic research buildings, the Media Lab has those facilities that will be used regularly by the wider university community on the top floors, including a café, a 100-seat amphitheater-shaped auditorium, a multipurpose hall, and a skylit space for receptions. This configuration makes the most of the site, just a block from the Charles River, and the building’s potential to capture views of the water and the Boston skyline.
Photo © Courtesy of Anton Grassl/Esto--Each lab space has at least one exterior exposure and a double-height work space surrounded by mezzanine-level offices.
The spatial arrangement also draws visitors, as well as regular occupants, through the entire building. Some will arrive from the north, through Wiesner, to which the new structure is connected on several floors. But most will enter at either the southwest or the southeast corners, and traverse a light-filled lobby that doubles as a gallery. To reach the upper-level public spaces, they can then ascend in glass-enclosed elevators or travel through the interconnected atria by way of bridgelike walkways and a series of stairs boldly painted and subtly sculpted to punctuate the otherwise Minimalist space. 
Photo © Courtesy of Anton Grassl/Esto--With sectional manipulation and glazing, Maki has created a visual connection between a fifth-floor café and the rooftop terrace.
The circulation route from the entry lobby to the top floor takes lab users and guests past the atelierlike workshops, which vary from 5,000 to 8,500 square feet but share the same basic configuration. Each has an open area, roughly 40 foot square and about 21 feet tall, surrounded by mezzanine-level glass-fronted faculty offices. All the research spaces have at least one exterior exposure, entirely glazed, in addition to the glass partitions between the labs and the adjoining social spaces.
Photo © Courtesy of Anton Grassl/Esto--The sixth floor contains several spaces that will be used by the wider MIT community, including an amphitheater-shaped lecture hall and a conference room. A rooftop terrace commands views of the Charles River and the Boston skyline.
Precisely detailed screens of aluminum pipe louvers help designers comply with local energy codes that limit facade area to no more than 50 percent glass. The elements, which shade insulated low-E glazing, mitigate heat gain. They also allow occupants to see the surroundings while providing passersby with views of the activity within, especially at night.
Photo © Courtesy of Anton Grassl/Esto--The sixth floor contains several spaces that will be used by the wider MIT community, including an amphitheater-shaped lecture hall and a conference room. A rooftop terrace commands views of the Charles River and the Boston skyline.
The portions of the facade enclosing more public programmatic elements are also almost entirely glazed, but Maki has given those areas a different treatment. They are clad in low-iron glass with a fine ceramic frit. The two basic glazing systems, along with extruded-aluminum cladding for areas that required opacity, identify different interior uses while endowing the elevations with an elegant restraint. The only overtly expressive exterior elements can be found at the crown, where Maki has enclosed the lecture hall in an aluminum-clad cylinder and has gently curved the edge of a sloped roof and extended it to shelter a top-floor terrace.
Photo © Courtesy of Anton Grassl/Esto--Though much of the building has a distinctive veil of pipe-louver screens, passersby are still able to see the activity inside, especially at night.

ground floor plan--drawing Courtesy of Maki and Associates
The Media Lab project has the level of refinement and thoughtful planning that is Maki’s hallmark. But it is not delicate or fragile. Instead, it exudes an alluring but quiet strength that holds its own amid its occupants’ creative clutter. “It is not a precious building,” says Frank Moss, the Media Lab’s director. “It does invite us to come and live in it.” 
third floor plan--drawing Courtesy of Maki and Associates

sixth floor plan--drawing Courtesy of Maki and Associates
section A-A--drawing Courtesy of Maki and Associates

exploded axo--drawing Courtesy of Maki and Associates

The People

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Maki and Associates
13-4 Hachiyama-cho, Shibuya-ku
Tokyo, Japan 150-0035
Tel.  ++81. 3. 3780-3880
Fax.  ++81. 3. 3780-3881
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Fumihiko Maki, Principal in Charge
Gary Kamemoto, Director in Charge
Design Team:  Tatsutomo Hasegawa, Tomoya Sugiura, Michel van Ackere, Atsushi Tokushige,
Jun Takahashi, Masaaki Kurihara, Jun Imaizumi, Naomi Maki Kobayashi, Ryuji Takaichi, Brendon Levitt, Benjamin Albertson, Masahiro Ikawa

Architect of record
Leers Weinzapfel Associates
Andrea P. Leers, Principal in Charge
Joe Pryse, Margaret Minor, Jim Vogel, Vaughn Miller, Matt Petrie, Belinda Watt, Michael Bardin, Randy Whinnery, Kiwon Kim

Structural (Engineer of Record):  Weidlinger Associates, Inc.,
Structural Design:  SDG – Structural Design Group
MEP:  Cosentini Associates

Civil:  Green International
Landscape:  Strata Design Associates, Inc.
Code:  Arup
Accessibility:  Kessler McGuinness and Associates, LLC
Geotech:  McPhail Associates
Curtainwall:  Cupples International Inc. & YKK AP, R.A. Heintges Architects
Lighting:  Lam Partners, Inc.
Elevator:  Robert Seymore & Associates, Inc.
Security & Telecom:  Cosentini Associates
Environmental:  Viridian Energy & Environmental, Inc.
Acoustic:  Cavanaugh Tocci Associates, Inc.
Wind/Smoke Studies:  RWDI
Lab Consultant:  RFD
Kitchen:  Food & Wine Research, Inc.
Hardware:  Campbell-McCabe
Waterproofing:  Thompson & Lichtner Company, Inc.
Specifications:  Steven R. McHugh

General contractor
Bond Brothers Inc.

Construction Manager
George B.H. Macomber Company

Anton Grassl Photography, ESTO
Tel.  617. 261-7678
Email:  agrassl@iprimus.com
Andy Ryan Photography, Inc.
Tel.  617. 306-1305
Email:  andy@andyryan.com
Maki and Associates
Tel.  ++81. 3. 3780-3880
Email:  garyk@maki-and-associates.co.jp

Maki and Associates, Zy & Partners

CAD system, project management, or other software used
Vector Works, AutoCAD

The Products

Structural system
Steel Moment & Brace Frame above grade, Concrete Post & Beam below grade

Exterior cladding

(Stone Cladding):  Basaltina S.R.L.
Custom Glass Curtainwall:  McMullen
Custom Extruded Ribbed Aluminum Wall Paneling:  Doralco
Custom Aluminum Pipe Screen Louvers:  Doralco
Exterior Wall Assembly/Installation:  Karas and Karas
PPG Duranar XL Custom PVDF Coating (Maki Silver)

Sarnafil Membrane Roofing
Bemo Standing Seam Aluminum Roofing
Karas  and Karas Composite Aluminum Awnings

Schuco Awning Windows

Saint Gobain, TGP (Technical Glass Products), Pilkington, Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope, Viracon
LinEl Signature Insulated Laminated Glass w/White PVB Interlayer

Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope
Custom Steel Door Frames at Labs & Offices:
Metal doors:
Phillip Manufacturing Company
Galeno & Associates
Wood doors:
Algona Hardwoods Inc.
Galeno & Associates Inc.
Sliding doors:
Galeno & Associates Inc.
Fire-control doors, security grilles:
Cornell Roll-up Doors
Total Door Fire Doors
Special doors (sound control, X-ray, etc.):
Schuco Exterior Aluminum Doors

Exit devices:
Von Duprin
Elmes, Rockwood
Security devices:
Indala, Sentrol, Locknetics
Cabinet hardware:

Interior finishes

Acoustical ceilings:
Suspension grid:
Demountable partitions:
Thrislington Toilet Partitions
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork:
Millwork One
Paints and stains:
Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, Tnemec
Knoll Fabric Wall Covering
Xorel Fabric Panel
Topakustic Wall Panel
Capco Custom Perforated Steel Wall Panel
Plastic laminate:
Formica, Wilsonart
Special surfacing:
Dupont Corian c
Solid Surfacing
Dot Point Glazing Glass Balustrades at Labs:
InKan Limited
Custom Spiral Stairs and Perforated Metal Balustrades at Labs:
Spiral Stairs of America & CAPCO Steel
Floor and wall tile:
Daltile Mosaic Tile at Kitchens and Lavatories
Cementitous Terrazzo Floors:
Specialty Flooring at Lobby/Exhibition Space
Precast Two-part Terrazzo Stair Treads/Riser Assembly:
Wausau Tile at Atrium Feature Stairs
Resilient flooring:
Burke, Dex-O-Tex
Karastan, Mohawk Industries, Constantine Commercial

Office furniture:
Furnished by Owner
Reception furniture:
Capco Steel & Saint Gobain Glass Custom Glass and Stainless Steel Counter
Fixed seating:
Skeie Lecture Hall Seating
Furnished by Owner
Furnished by Owner
Furnished by Owner
Other furniture (use additional sheet if necessary):
Furnished by Owner

Interior ambient lighting:
Lithonia, Lighting Services Inc., Ledalite, Befler, LiteControl
Altman, Kirlin Co., Edison Price Lighting, Engineered Lighting Products, Lightolier, Lytespan, Concealite, Gardco Lighting, ETC Architectural
Task lighting:
Elliptipar, RSA Lighting
BEGA, Erco
Design Plan, Erco
Lutron, Wallstopper

Schindler Elevators, Eklunds and Gunderlin Ltd. Innovation Industries
Add any additional building components or special equipment that made a significant contribution to this project
Integral Color Precast Concrete Roof Pavers:
Roof Terrace Wood Floor Decking:
Ipe Board Deck by Millwork One
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