MIT’s new design hub

by Massimo Barnett
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The MIT Morningside Academy for Design, an interdisciplinary center that aims to build on the Institute’s leadership in design-­focused education and become a global hub for design research, thinking, and entrepreneurship, will launch in September 2022, President L. Rafael Reif announced in March.

The academy, which will be housed in the Metropolitan Warehouse with the School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P), will create and administer academic and research programs across MIT, especially between SA+P and the School of Engineering. It will encourage design work at MIT to grow and cross disciplines in engineering, science, management, computing, architecture, urban planning, and the arts. The results will strengthen the Institute’s efforts to tackle pressing issues of global importance, such as climate adaptation, public health, transportation, and civic engagement.

Its founding support—a $100 million gift from the Morningside Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the T.H. Chan family—will include funding for graduate and postdoctoral fellowships, faculty chairs, opportunities for undergraduate students, and new awards for entrepreneurship competitions, as well as public events such as symposia, lectures, and exhibitions.

“At MIT, we sometimes describe our work as ‘inventing the future,’” Reif said. “Beyond the Institute’s technical, scientific, and analytical strengths, that assignment requires profound humanity and imagination—the capacity to listen closely and think broadly, to reframe old problems in unexpected ways, to crystallize bold new visions, to weave the wisdom of different disciplines and voices into fresh, humane solutions. These are essential strengths of design thinking. The MIT Morningside Academy for Design will amplify the impact of MIT’s existing world-class programs in design.” 

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