Like a phoenix, Building 31 is reborn and rises — spectacularly by Mark Veligor
About 100 yards west of the Great Dome, one can stand outside the Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel and gaze upon nearly $650 million of active MIT construction projects.
The three projects visible from this vantage point — renovation of Building 31, the Sloan Laboratories for Aircraft and Automotive Engines; Building 9, the Samuel Tak Lee Building; and MIT.nano (the new Building 12) — have hundreds of construction workers, tradespeople, and facilities personnel working around the clock to deliver renewed, modern space for MIT’s students, staff, and faculty. Most central to the AeroAstro mission is the $52 million Building 31 transformation. The total gutting of Building 31 will clear out much of the legacy equipment no longer used for research, and make space for cutting-edge research in autonomous systems alongside the legendary anchor tenancy of the Gas Turbine Lab. Shared between AeroAstro and Mechanical Engineering, the renovation will add nearly 7,000 square feet of useable space, more than doubling occupant capacity. “The original Sloan Automotive Lab was constructed in 1928 with multiple additions over the next three decades,” said the renovation’s lead architect Jon Keller, of Imai Keller Moore Architects. “With each addition, new floors were added here and there, and not on the same level as each other. This makes accessibility and connectivity a challenge.” Keller noted that the building’s infrastructure was antiquated and required updating on all fronts including structural, fire safety, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing. “With these needed improvements, there was great opportunity to create a unique research environment in the center of campus with new labs and offices for both AeroAstro and Mechanical Engineering,” Keller said.
Like a phoenix, Building 31 is reborn and rises — spectacularly
Published on Nov 18, 2016
Annual magazine review of MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics Department research and educational initiatives.