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Big New Home For the Ultrasmall

60 Vassar St REAR, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA
About Big New Home For the Ultrasmall

MIT.nano is one of the largest commitments to research in MIT’s history and the LEED Platinum Certified building is prominently located steps from the Infinite Corridor and the Great Dome, at the heart of the campus. The award-winning 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. The core imaging facility contains some of the most precise microscopes that require very low vibration, acoustic and electromagnetic interference.

Nanoscale research facilities use significantly more energy than any other type of building. Maintaining a cleanroom research environment requires air filtration, temperature stability, humidity control, and extraordinary ventilation (up to 260 air changes per hour). MIT set the goal to showcase the most energy efficient research cleanroom in the country. Through extensive benchmarking and the incorporation of numerous energy conservation measures, it achieved a 51 percent energy cost savings and a 50 percent greenhouse gas emissions reduction.

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 the hazardous environment of a cleanroom. By reusing an existing building site MIT.nano revitalized a major precinct at the heart of the campus, transforming what was a service yard with new pedestrian pathways and landscapes. By investing in a shared core facility MIT eliminated duplication of very expensive tools and processes across the campus while maximizing collaboration and engagement across disciplines.

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  • Areas of Expertise

    Architecture,Engineering,Science and Technology,Sustainable Design,Technology

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Project Details

Project Type

New Build


Education (Higher/3rd level),Science/Lab Centers

Square Footage

216,000 SF


LEED Platinum

Construction Status