MIT announces Morningside Academy for Design, to be launched this fall

School of Architecture and Planning and design academy will be housed in newly-renovated Metropolitan Storage Warehouse

MIT will launch its Morningside Academy for Design in September 2022, President L. Rafael Reif announced in an email to the MIT community March 14.

Supported by a $100 million gift from The Morningside Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the T.H. Chan family, the academy was first envisioned by a design initiative advisory committee and its recommendations made in April 2021.

The academy will be housed in the School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) and will be led by a director, Professor of Architecture and Civil and Environmental Engineering John Ochsendorf, and associate director, Associate Dean in the School of Engineering Maria Yang ’91. 

Reif wrote that the academy will “amplify the impact of MIT’s existing world-class programs in design,” by enhancing its ability to promote design education at MIT and elsewhere, to support faculty and students in design endeavors, and to collaborate and “develop compelling solutions to humanity’s great challenges.”

A SA+P webpage about the academy writes that it will provide a “hub that will encourage design work at MIT to grow and cross disciplines among engineering, science, management, computing, architecture, urban planning, and the arts,” as well as strengthen MIT’s efforts to address issues of global importance, including “climate adaptation, public health, transportation, and civic engagement.”

Additionally, beginning in 2022, MIT will renovate Building W41, the Metropolitan Storage Warehouse at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Vassar Street, as a new physical space for SA+P and its units, including the new design academy. To be completed in 2025, the renovated warehouse will include classrooms, design studio space, faculty offices, and meeting and collaboration areas.

MIT’s background in design education includes the nation’s first architecture program, a major and minor in design, MIT D-Lab, and the DesignPlus learning community recently created by the Office of the First Year.