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Department of Mathematics returns to Building 2
MIT NEWS OFFICE, Department of Mathematics returns to Building 2, Feb 23, 2016

Last month, the Department of Mathematics moved back to its home in the historic Bosworth Building 2 after a major renovation and restoration project.

Building 2 is part of the iconic Main Group complex, designed by architect William Bosworth, and had been largely untouched since its completion in 1916. The renovation, completed in time for the Main Group’s centennial anniversary, sought to restore the antiquated infrastructure of Building 2 as well as to give students, faculty, and staff updated spaces more suited to their needs.

“It is wonderful to return home to Building 2,” says Tom Mrowka, head of the department. “The renovation manages to retain the quiet majesty of the main group, while beautifully and tastefully updating it, capping it all off with amazing new space on the fourth floor. We are very grateful to all the people that made this happen, the donors, the MIT administration, MIT facilities, and the fantastic architects.”

The renovation, led by MIT alumna Ann Beha ’75 and her firm, included a detailed restoration of the original limestone façade, the replication and replacement of the building's 100 year-old windows, a complete overhaul of infrastructure and mechanical systems and, for the first time within the Main Group, the addition of a fourth-floor penthouse. All eleven first-floor classrooms, including 2-190, the building's flagship lecture hall, were modernized and equipped with state-of-the-art audiovisual systems.

A key feature of the renovation is the introduction of community spaces strategically designed for group interaction, such as new conference, seminar, and casual community spaces. Graduate student and instructor offices were reconfigured into suites opening onto shared meeting areas so that discussions and office hours do not interfere with quiet concentration.

“Having watched over this renovation since its inception in 2010 when I was head of mathematics, I am deeply gratified to see it brought to its magnificent completion,” says Michael Sipser, dean of the School of Science. “The once-dingy hallways now filled with light, the common spaces with lively conversation and their blackboards with mathematics, this masterful transformation demonstrates what can be accomplished with these old walls.” 

Last week, construction began on an art installation by Sir Antony Gormley, a celebrated British artist best known for his "Angel of the North" sculpture in Gateshead, England. The new installation of winding polyhedra will span the four-story height of the Building 2 north stair lobby. It will be completed in mid-to-late March, just in time for the centennial celebrations of MIT's move from Boston’s Back Bay to Cambridge, Massachusetts.