SGA Creates Innovative Accelerator Facility for MIT Students and Professors

MIT gets a new and innovative accelerator facility that will help create opportunities for scientific and tech breakthroughs. 

SGA designed The Engine, a new accelerator facility for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The 26,000 SF innovation hub aims to serve students, professors and entrepreneurs committed to societal impact through scientific and technological breakthroughs. Their mission, a first-of-its kind, is to exclusively help founders bring their scientific discoveries into the world and commercialize at scale. The Engine – which provides the funding, facilities, services and partner networks to build the next generation of “tough” tech companies – is working to transform the status quo venture ecosystem, just as SGA was tasked to transform the one-of-a-kind space into something that would work for the forward-thinking users.

The Engine's reception area. Image courtesy of SGA.

The Engine’s reception area. Image courtesy of SGA.

When was the project completed?

2018

How much space?

26,000 SF

Was this new or renovated space?

Renovated

The Engine features town hall-type meeting spaces. Image courtesy of SGA.

The Engine features town hall-type meeting spaces. Image courtesy of SGA.

Describe workspace types.

SGA was instructed to “design a flexible work environment that their target tech start-up’s can use.” As the program and tenants evolved, so did the design. The project morphed throughout construction and still continues to undergo changes, even today as a young one-year-old incubator. The pioneering design SGA created, and our ever-changing thought process, allows flexibility as the space adapts to the users. The space includes makerspace, wet lab, BL2 and CL2 labs, laser cutting labs, 3D printers, cafeteria, “town hall” and meeting spaces.

A variety of work spaces cater to different types of work. Image courtesy of SGA.

A variety of work spaces cater to different types of work. Image courtesy of SGA.

What kind of meeting spaces are provided? 

The open floor plan promotes equal use of the real estate allowing all members of The Engine to collaborate in Town Hall, the Cafeteria, and makerspace shared labs.

The design of The Engine promotes collaboration. Image courtesy of SGA.

The design of The Engine promotes collaboration. Image courtesy of SGA.

What other kind of support space or amenity spaces are provided? 

Cafeteria, reception and training areas that are all fully collaborative across all tenants.

The Engine contains a chemistry lab. Image courtesy of SGA.

The Engine contains a chemistry lab. Image courtesy of SGA.

Has the project achieved any special certifications?

MIT, as an organization, has developed sustainability standards for all new construction, major renovations, limited scope and renewal projects to promote performance criteria. They are committed to being a leader in addressing the global sustainability issues, beginning with examining each of their campus buildings. This mission extends to The Engine and the goal to provide green-friendly finishes, low energy fixtures, re-use of existing conditions where possible, and features and laboratories to promote sustainable research.

SGA worked with The Engine to ensure the design aligned with the founder’s vision for the space. These founders are committed to values that push the ideas of sustainability such as clean, limitless fusion energy; clean energy for the baseload grid; energy savings from tiny pores; and more. The commitment to sustainability goes above and beyond the design of the space at The Engine – the concepts that are being developed in this space will work to promote green ways of living outside the incubator. This speaks to The Engine’s commitment to sustainability, both present and future, and the ecological ideas that the tenants hope to bring to fruition with the assistance of the laboratories they are given access to.

The cafeteria is another collaborative spot. Image courtesy of SGA.

The cafeteria is another collaborative spot. Image courtesy of SGA.

What is the project’s location and proximity to public transportation and/or other amenities? 

Located in Cambridge – equidistant between MIT and Harvard, and just blocks from Kendall Square – The Engine is in an ideal location to inspire new ideas, surrounded by many tech-hubs. The location received a 97 walk score, a “walker’s paradise,” and is located 0.1 miles from the red line, plus a number of bus lines, car share and bike shares.

The Engine of course features numerous maker spaces. Image courtesy of SGA.

The Engine of course features numerous maker spaces. Image courtesy of SGA.

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