The MIT Visitor Center opened this month at Building E38, steps from the Kendall / MIT MBTA subway station in Cambridge, MA. Visitors and members of the MIT community can stop by the center to orient themselves and get other information about the campus and the area. Later this fall, prospective students and their families will be able to attend in-person information sessions in the centre’s 200-seat auditorium, which will also be available to the Cambridge community.
“This open, bright and welcoming space allows us to create an even better visiting experience for our prospective students and their families,” said Stu Schmill, Dean of Admissions and Student Financial Services. “Being in the heart of Kendall Square and sharing space with MIT InnovationHQ, MIT’s Open Spaces Programming Team, Office of Sustainability and others in E38 will allow visitors to experience vibrant nature, open and community-based approach to MIT. ”
A gift from Tina Moghadam and Hamid Moghadam ’77, SM ’78, the center was originally scheduled to launch in the summer of 2020, but the opening was delayed due to the pandemic. The center is the result of an iterative process guided by a working group made up of representatives from across the Institute, including the Innovation Initiative, MIT Admissions, the Office of the Executive Vice President and Treasurer (EVPT), Open Space Programming, Institute Office of Communications, Campus Construction, Campus Planning, Institute Events, the MIT Museum, and the MIT Press.
“It’s exciting to see the center and open space come to life as part of MIT’s Kendall Square walkway,” said EVPT Glen Shor. “Visitors will come quickly to see what MIT is all about and how to navigate our vibrant campus. “
“Only at MIT”
In creating the center, the goal was for visitors to know immediately that they had entered the MIT campus. The artwork, lighting and interiors are inspired by the concept of “only at MIT”, evoking the eclectic culture of MIT.
The lobby’s “Welcome Wall” features a photo of MIT’s Grand Dome, covered in colorful doodles by artist Lydia Krasilnikova ’14, MEng’16, who also illustrated the MIT Admissions website and the freshman app. .
The rotating story wall on the first floor is currently showcasing the work of the Borderline student group, who have created artwork depicting what it means to be an MIT student. When viewed with the Artive app, the mural is transformed into dynamic and moving images.
Arthur Ganson’s delightful kinetic sculpture is also on display “Margot’s cat. “By pressing the pedal, the sculpture comes to life, as a dollhouse-sized chair bounces off a cat figurine, evoking the convergence of engineering, creativity and playfulness – A familiar triad at MIT.
The fabric frieze above the room will soon host a light installation by Soso Limited, an interactive agency founded by MIT alumni, which uses Processing, a graphical programming language developed by researchers at MIT.
And for visitors wanting to snap a photo of their campus visit, a selfie wall with a three-dimensional MIT sign provides an Instagram-ready backdrop.
A community green space
Beyond the centre’s floor-to-ceiling windows are two acres of open space with trees and plantations – a space where visitors can have lunch, take a break from the urban environment, and enjoy the nature around them.
The area acts as an extension of the Infinite Hallway, connecting Kendall to the rest of the campus. “We’ve already seen people cross paths, as they do in Infinity, exchange ideas and reconnect,” says Jessie Schlosser Smith, Director of Open Spaces Programming.
Since the space launch in August, Smith and his team have hosted nearly a dozen free public events, including movie nights, a series of ‘lunch breaks’ on Tuesdays with performances, talks and activities. practices, as well as Saturday morning programs for families. .
The programming brings activity to the public space and shows the wide range of experiences and interests of the MIT community, telling a more complete story and providing a window into an MIT that members of the local community could. to not know.
“Having this beautiful outdoor space has been amazing, precious and useful during the Covid time,” Smith said. “In partnership with local artists and non-profit organizations, we develop programs that promote inclusive interactions and community bonds. Our Cambridge neighbors are encouraged to take advantage of our public spaces. We want to create a welcoming and inclusive environment through our programming and expand the reach of MIT. “
Earlier this month, a local artist Silvia lopez chavez led a community art project where participants were invited to reflect on the experiences, challenges and hopes of the past year. Their reflections will be incorporated into a temporary mural that will be displayed on the building’s glass facade on Main Street to be unveiled on October 27.
“With the opening of the Visitor Center, Open Space, MIT Press Bookstore and, later, the MIT Museum, the entrance area will soon live up to its promise to advance Kendall’s trademark connect and connect vibe – with a focus on welcoming everyone from MIT, Cambridge, the region and beyond, ”says Sarah Gallop, co-director of the government and community relations office from MIT.
The MIT Visitor Center is open to the public, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., excluding MIT holidays. Visit openspace.mit.edu to learn more about upcoming MIT Open Space programming events.