Metropolitan Storage Warehouse

Building W41

Description

The first building erected on the filled land of the Charles River Embankment Company (founded 1880), the Metropolitan Storage Warehouse dominated the new boulevard built from Lafayette Square to the new Harvard Bridge across the Charles to Boston. The massive five-story, 1,600-room castlelike structure sheltered the valuable belongings of wealthy Bostonians in fireproof safety provided by brick arches. Loading bays for the Boston & Albany Railroad line on the north and Vassar Street on the south provided easy access to transportation.Designed by Frederic Pope (first section) and Peabody & Stearns (subsequent additions), the Metropolitan Storage Warehouse — one of the oldest buildings in the neighborhood — was originally constructed in 1895. The building is listed on the State Register of Historic Places and has been determined eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. With its square brick tower and crenellated corbelled cornice, it resembles a medieval castle on a city street corner. MIT`s adaptive reuse of the Metropolitan Warehouse building will redevelop it as a center of interdisciplinary design research and education and as a new home for the School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P). The building will also house a flagship makerspace, an independent and collaborative creative space envisioned by Project Manus as a substantial addition to the MIT Makersystem that will expand the design and fabrication facilities available to the campus. As a whole, the reimagined Met Warehouse will include new classrooms, design studio space that will significantly increase MIT`s capacity for arts and design programming, new faculty offices, and areas for meetings and collaborative activities.Across Vassar Street, the Cambridge Armory (1902, Hartwell, Richardson and Driver, W31/32, 100–120 Massachusetts Avenue), acquired by MIT in 1957 and converted to the Du Pont Center Gymnasium with a brick addition on the east by Anderson Beckwith and Haible in 1958, perpetuated the medieval fortress image of its neighbor.

Constructed, 1895
Addition, 1911
Renovation, 2025