Cambridge, MA

Simons Building, MIT

The renovation and restoration of Building 2, the Simons Building, is a milestone at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus. Building 2 is part of the iconic "Main Group" buildings, a complex of connected buildings that comprised the MIT campus when it first moved to Cambridge from Boston in 1916. MIT's Main Group was designed by architect William Welles Bosworth in 1889 in the Beaux Arts style, and constructed of steel-framed reinforced concrete, an ingenious innovation at the time.  The open-grid construction, uncommon on college campuses, provided MIT with flexibility in interior configurations.  Building 2 was largely untouched for a century. Now revitalized through a meticulous renewal process, the 93,000 sf project stands as a model for future Main Group restorations. The new Simons Building is home to MIT's renowned Department of Mathematics.

 The renovation of Building 2, completed in time for the Main Group's upcoming centennial anniversary, aimed to restore the antiquated infrastructure and create spaces that befit a modern academic enterprise. Led by MIT alumna Ann Beha '75, Principal at Ann Beha Architects, the renovation project featured a detailed restoration of the original limestone façade & windows; reconfiguration and modernization of classrooms, offices, and collaborative spaces; and the addition of a fourth floor.  In an effort to maintain the historic integrity of the building, the renewal team carefully researched materials and methods to restore the original limestone façade and replicate and replace the 100-year-old windows. Exterior work has improved the energy performance of the building and the comfort of its occupants.  Building 2’s new fourth floor—which adds approximately 14,000 square feet of office, seminar, collaborative space, and building systems—was engineered carefully to alter the building’s exterior profile as little as possible. The project also included the refurbishment and modernization of teaching and research spaces and the installation of new technologies. Building 2's infrastructure and mechanical systems received substantial upgrades and new accessibility features were installed.  Finally, a new art installation of winding polyhedra by Sir Antony Gormley titled, The CHORD, spans the four-story height of the north stair lobby.

The Simons Building at MIT won the 2016 Cambridge Historical Commission Preservation Award for the rooftop addition and creative adaptation of interior spaces and the window wall project received special recognition from the commission in 2011.  The building also won the 2016 SCUP/AIA-CAE Excellence in Architecture Award.


For this project, The Green Engineer provided:

  • LEED Certification Project Management
  • Energy Modeling Services
  • Life-Cycle Cost Assessment


Owner: MIT

Architect:  Ann Beha Architects

Contractor: Bond Brothers

Facade Restoration/Envelope Consultant: Stephen J. Wessling Architects

MEP/FP: WSP Engineers

Structural Engineer: Robert Silman Associates

Civil Engineer: Nitsch Engineering

AV Consultant: RDK Engineers

Landscape Architect: Halverson Design

Other Consultants:  IMAI Keller Moore | Acentech | Jensen Hughes | Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design | A.M. Fogarty & Assoc. | Wil-Spec LLC | Speweik Preservation Consultants

Photography: © Peter Vanderwarker



(Text MIT Dept . of Facilities)