Merit - Excellence in Architecture for a New Building

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT.nano, Building 12
Massachusetts Institute of Technology - MIT.nano, Building 12
Jury Comments
“ “. . . construction in a tight site, highly sustainable, and well connected to the existing campus while distinct and innovative . . . strong visual connections from soft/group spaces to exterior . . . this project exudes confidence of purpose . . .””


    • Site – 101,110 sq ft; Building — 216,000 gsf
    • LEED Platinum
    • Nanotechnology, physical sciences, and engineering are housed under one roof.
    • The transparent veil showcases discovery within.
    • Open stairs connect floors vertically.
    • Strategically located soft spaces encourage collaboration on every floor.
    • A former service yard was transformed into a welcoming entrance.
    • Maximized floor-to-floor heights permit maintenance and adaptability of mechanical systems.


MIT.nano is prominently located steps from the Infinite Corridor and the Great Dome, at the heart of the campus. The building is home to a cluster of world-class laboratories, including class 100 and 1,000 cleanrooms, imaging suites, nano-makerspace, and chemistry teaching laboratories. The research space enables and enhances the work of dozens of academic groups from various disciplines. MIT.nano strategically integrates into the renowned Infinite Corridor and weaves into its iconic context through massing, materials, pedestrian pathways, and landscape. Transforming a former service yard, MIT.nano is designed as a stone box housing the labs at the core wrapped with a glass veil. The stone box articulation picks up on the historic building’s stone exterior, while its shimmering glass facade creates a continuous visual dialogue between the old and the new.

Achieving LEED Platinum certification required an integrated sustainability approach that included community engagement, focus on water conservation and stormwater management, resiliency in anticipating flooding and program changes over time, wellness, and safety of all users, especially within a cleanroom’s hazardous environment. By investing in a shared core facility, MIT has eliminated the duplication of costly tools and processes across the campus while maximizing collaboration and engagement across disciplines. MIT set the goal to showcase the most energy efficient research cleanroom in the country. It achieved 51 percent energy cost savings and 50 percent greenhouse gas emissions reduction through extensive benchmarking and incorporation of numerous energy conservation measures. Additionally, a Construction Waste Management Plan with exemplary performance goals was developed and implemented, resulting in the diversion of 90 percent of construction waste from landfills and earning the project a LEED Exceptional Performance credit.

MIT.nano is a shared tool set, belonging to no individual school or department. The building contains no faculty or student offices. Instead, the facility offers shared research environments, centered around two levels of technically sophisticated cleanrooms, available to researchers and students across disciplines. MIT.nano is one of the largest commitments to research in MIT’s history, and this unprecedented investment reflects just how indispensable nanoscale investigations are to the future of research, both at MIT and beyond. In just its first two years of operation, the facility is already supporting 600 trained users from more than 30 departments, labs, and centers.

Project Team

HGA, BR+A Consulting Engineers; LeMessurier Consultants, Inc.; Turner Construction Company; Pressley Associates; Kleinfelder; Acentech