subscribe to ENR magazine subscribe
contact us
careers industry jobs
events events
Dodge Data & Analytics
ENR Logo
Web access will be provided
as part of your subscription.

Renovation/Restoration: Award of Merit

Text size: A A
Photo by Ben Johnson, Shawmut Design and Construction
MIT Great Dome
----- Advertising -----

The iconic Great Dome of Building 10 on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus was closed off for more than 70 years from the Barker Engineering Library reading room, which is located directly below. In an effort to restore the reading room to its original condition, the team renovated the dome—preserving historic features and adding new structure.

The Great Dome originally contained a 27-ft-dia oculus with a glass block skylight. The oculus had been covered since World War II, when authorities thought it could be a beacon for potential bombing raids. The original oculus skylight was made of more than 1,000 patterned glass blocks set in a grid of narrow structural concrete ribs. When work began, the remaining glass block skylight was covered with plywood and EPDM roofing membrane.

The team's scope included re-establishing the oculus skylight; providing sufficient lighting at all times of day; and reducing the echo effect of the dome. The original design called for a concrete rib structure similar to the original construction. But engineers showed that a stainless steel structure would be a more reliable option. The completed space includes a new stainless steel framed oculus skylight; new laylight below the oculus with laminated glass; a new aluminum framed skylight above the oculus to provide weather protection; and new lighting at four levels within the dome.


MIT Great Dome, Cambridge, Mass.

Key Players

Owner Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Design Firm Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

General Contractor Shawmut Design & Construction

Lighting Sladen Feinstein

Electrical Consulting Johnson Engineering and Design

Steel DeAngelis Iron Work


----- Advertising -----
  Blogs: ENR Staff   Blogs: Other Voices  
Critical Path: ENR's editors and bloggers deliver their insights, opinions, cool-headed analysis and hot-headed rantings
Project Leads/Pulse

Gives readers a glimpse of who is planning and constructing some of the largest projects throughout the U.S. Much information for pulse is derived from McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge.

For more information on a project in Pulse that has a DR#, or for general information on Dodge products and services, please visit our Website at

Information is provided on construction projects in following stages in each issue of ENR: Planning, Contracts/Bids/Proposals and Bid/Proposal Dates.

View all Project Leads/Pulse »

 Reader Comments:

Sign in to Comment

To write a comment about this story, please sign in. If this is your first time commenting on this site, you will be required to fill out a brief registration form. Your public username will be the beginning of the email address that you enter into the form (everything before the @ symbol). Other than that, none of the information that you enter will be publically displayed.

We welcome comments from all points of view. Off-topic or abusive comments, however, will be removed at the editors’ discretion.