Lincoln Labs/MIT Child Development Center

Client: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Location: Lexington, MA
Size: 12,000 SF

The Lincoln Laboratory Child Care Center’s design goals placed hands-on learning at the core of its program. studioMLA Architects worked closely with the Operations Team to create spaces that support the curriculum, facilitate creative activities, and invite parent engagement. Design elements such as sliding panels and an operable garage door in a few of the spaces provide maximum flexibility for transforming larger, more public spaces into smaller, cozy spaces.

The children’s library allows parents to “drop in” and participate at the beginning and end of the day. Flexibility was introduced through movable panels on a curved track around the reading area, creating intimate spaces for small-group use during the day.

Nearly 4,000 SF of wooded area was maintained for nature play. A sensory area provides different tactile and visual opportunities that can be “tuned” to facilitate varied learning. An investigation zone repurposes an operable industrial garage door to evoke the Lincoln Labs’ spirit of tinkering, exploration, and invention.

Photography by Keitaro Yoshioka