E62 is business school’s new home

$142m eco-friendly building brings together all of Sloan under one roof

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E62, the new Sloan building, is now open for classes. The building will be dedicated in May 2011. The chain‑link sculpture in front of the building (left) was designed by Cai Guo-Qiang, and was completed in June.
Logan P. Williams—The Tech

E62, the $142 million Sloan School of Management building, has opened for classes, for the first time bringing together all the different parts of the Sloan School into one place.

Located at 100 Main Street on the site of the old demolished building E56, E62 opened to faculty and staff in July, with offices being filled from the sixth floor down.

With six classrooms and over 30 group study rooms, E62 is specifically tailored to the needs of Sloan. All the study rooms, which come in various sizes, feature a large flatscreen monitor that can be connected to students’ laptops, a projector and screen, at least one large whiteboard, and cameras designed for videoconferencing.

“I’ve been delighted to hear from students and staff and faculty,” said Dean of the Sloan School David C. Schmittlein. “They say it’s a great place to work, great place to study. It has a nice view of the river, as well as many group study rooms which we needed very badly.”

A place for collaboration

“A big difference is the very functional study rooms,” said Joseph P. Franken, of Sloan 2012 Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) program, expressing great enthusiasm regarding E62’s technological and collaborative upgrades. “With the TV screens, you can hook them up to your laptop, when you’re working in a group, instead of everyone crowding around a laptop, you can put your work on the screen and discuss it.” Sloan’s previous facilities had a small number of study rooms that were less technologically equipped.

In front of the building is a sculpture by Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang — large, connected chain links around pine trees, intended to symbolize the interconnections and collaboration so essential to Sloan, according to Lucinda M. Hill, Director of Sloan Capital Projects.

In addition to formal learning areas, E62 also features plenty of open space, such as lounge areas on the second floor right outside of several study rooms.

“The overall entire purpose is to allow more collaboration within Sloan. That’s where ideas are born and bred,” says Daniel R. Bolgren, LGO ’12.

“[E62] brings all of MIT Sloan faculty together in one building, and we haven’t had that in decades.” Schmittlein said. Previously, Sloan faculty had been dispersed through approximately five different buildings. Now, with the 205 offices on the upper floors, Sloan professors can have offices overlooking the river and plenty of spacious areas, including faculty lounges that extend between two floors.

“It has such open architecture, like this cafeteria,” said Valerie Y. Kuo, a PhD student with an office on one of the upper floors of E62. “We didn’t used to have something like this, and while it doesn’t sound that important, it provides a space where people can eat together, talk, share ideas.”

An eco-friendly design

E62 features many design elements that help make it the “greenest” building on MIT campus thus far, according to a Sloan press release. Walking into the building and heading towards the first floor cafeteria, one of the most striking aspects is the use of windows. On the side facing the Charles River, nearly the entire wall is various types of glass, specially designed to be energy efficient and reduce light pollution. There are also some sunshades and screens set to automatically adjust based on the amount of lighting and the time of day. The reflective roof is designed so that solar panels might one day be installed.

Originally expected to be at least LEED Silver, the third highest rating in green building certification by the US Green Building Council,, those involved with the building now have even higher expectations. Julia Ledewitz, the Sustainability and LEED coordinator for the E62 project, says, “We have very high hopes. We’re not sure yet, but E62 is definitely in the Gold range.” Its LEED certification is pending.

For the most part, only Sloan staff and faculty will have offices in E62. Naturally, anyone taking Course XV classes will have classes in the building, and a large percentage of students taking those classes are undergraduates. With all of Sloan moving into E62, some space has opened up in E52 where Economics and Sloan shared space. Building E52 could very likely also “start plans to undergo some renovations in the future,” according to Marc B. Jones, Assistant Dean for Finance and Administration in School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.

A gathering for Sloan students occurred on Tuesday afternoon to celebrate, and E62 had an open house on yesterday. However, the building won’t have an official opening ceremony yet — instead, the dedication of the building will take place in May 2011 as part of the MIT150 celebration.