Relax. Recharge. Rejunevate.
LOUNGES FOR MUCH MORE THAN LOUNGING. Yes, lounges are intended to encourage students to relax and recharge. At MIT, they are also places to exchange ideas, brainstorm, do p-sets, and network. Our vision for updated and new lounge space incorporates the building’s first four floors, inspired by the recent renovation of the fifth-floor Athena Cluster. This room’s popularity among students serves as a guide for what is aesthetically possible and an indication of the need for more student space throughout the building.
TRANSFORMING THE FIRST FLOOR. As the old saying goes, “First impressions matter.” The current design and configuration of the first floor, which dates to the late 1980s, doesn’t reflect what MIT is to our students, community members, and visitors. A case in point is an underused retail facility adjacent to the stairwell atrium, which will be opened and integrated with existing lounge space to create a highly flexible lounge space that’s also suitable for events.
REVITALIZING THE BUILDING CORE. The centerpiece of the 1988 renovation was a dramatic stair atrium that opened the building’s core and injected light into the interior. The second-floor Stratton Lounge, with its dramatic two-story windows facing the Kresge Oval, is arguably the building’s centerpiece. In our plans, a renovated Stratton Lounge would be clad in warm wood and living walls that continue into the balconies surrounding the Atrium. The stairwell itself will be revitalized, replacing the faded linoleum and grey walls with light-reflecting paint and updated flooring, all surrounded by modernized railings and lit from overhead by new sculptural fixtures.
THE FOURTH FLOOR FOR ALL STUDENTS. In an agreement with the Undergraduate Association (UA), a space currently used as a meeting room on the fourth floor would be opened up and repurposed as a student lounge and event space, as well as a connecting space between the two updated dance/movement rooms. After renovation, the fourth-floor lobby lounge will be open to all students and add much-needed flexibility to the fourth floor.
EXPANDING THE FIRST FLOOR OUTDOORS. Even before starting the Student Center’s renewal, a transformation outside of the Student Center already took place. A student-led effort to make more welcoming spaces outside during the pandemic resulted in some seldom-used spaces between W20 and the Zesiger Center and in front of the DuPont Athletic Center yielded spectacular results with just some outdoor furniture and lighting. The plan is to likewise reinvigorate the gravel-covered Beech Court and other outdoor areas as places for open-air gatherings that connect to the building’s interior and improve accessibility into and around the Student Center.
Climbing from the first to the third floor, this central stairwell will be reconfigured to become the building's focus and a central gathering place for students and the community.
The addition of green walls, warm wood finishes, new lighting, and soft furniture will complement the majestic windows overlooking Kresge Oval.
The Balcony Lounge
Overlooking the Stratton Lounge on the second floor, this third-floor lounge area will be transformed from a collection of tables and chairs into an accessible seating, study, and performance area.
First-Floor Welcome Lounge
To maximize its connection to the atrium and former CopyTech space, the welcome lounge (between the two front doors) will be opened and reinvigorated with soft furniture, comfier chairs, and bench seating.