The primary objectives of the project were to update, refurbish, and improve the performance of two of the most historically significant structures on the MIT campus while burnishing and enhancing their original character. The goals were to improve practice space and provide better public amenities for patrons of the auditorium; to address code and building systems deficiencies; and to resolve technical envelope failures and underperforming details, including the deterioration of the original curtain walls of both buildings. The biggest challenges were technical: recreating the effect of 60-year-old concrete in the Chapel moat, finding ways to improve curtain wall performance, and burying systems components within structures with no available chase space. Perhaps the most technically challenging issue for both buildings was curtain wall restoration. The glazing systems and details were unique for each building, as were the respective modes of deterioration and technical challenges. Full-scale mock-ups of panels with alternate glazing options were prepared for performance testing by the contractor and aesthetic review by a select committee of the MIT architecture faculty.
The project teams for each building collaboratively developed stewardship plans designed to restore and enhance Saarinen’s vision without a trace of modem intervention.
EYP; also Simpson Gumpertz & Heger; Reed-Hilderbrand; Building Conservation Associates Inc.; VHB; Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design; Lee Kennedy Co. Inc.