Epstein Joslin Architects

Learning Spaces

Phi Beta Epsilon House at MIT

Cambridge, MA

A state-of-the-art sustainable upgrade for a 90-year-old fraternity house meets or surpasses the standards of new housing evolving on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus. Key components of the project strengthen communal learning, improve and enhance the presence of the house on campus and Memorial Drive, and make the whole house handicap accessible. The required addition of an elevator presented an opportunity for a dramatic new tower, with glass-enclosed common study/social rooms at each landing that look back to the athletic fields and heart of the campus. To encourage social enrichment and communal living, students encounter collaboration areas within the circulation paths on each of the upper floors, which are flexibly connected to an adjoining six-person “study suite”. New connections and enriched multimedia technologies among common spaces on the first floor and a new dining terrace with views of the Charles River generate a cluster of flexible and active social spaces. Newly defined spaces on the exterior of the building support outdoor communal activity, maximize the value of the site, and provide visual and physical connections with the flow of adjoining campus activity and the city, reinforcing engagement with the broader community.

Photograph copyright Neil Alexander

Project Completion Date

September 2013

Project Cost

$5.9 million over multi phases

Project Size

19,600 sq ft (16,000 sq ft renovation + 3,600 sq ft new)


Phi Beta Epsilon Corporation

Owner's Representative

Steven Carhart, Bob Steininger, Peter Cooper, Mike Skeldon


Metric Construction


Epstein Joslin Architects
Alan Joslin: Principal-in-Charge
Ray Porfilio: Project Manager
Deborah Epstein: Principal-in-Charge, Finishes
Arthur Pinkham: Project Coordinator
Andy Golubitsky: Designer
Anthony Lawson: Designer
Nino Sylvia: Designer

Consultants for design team

Structure: Roome and Guarancino
HVAC: Air Water Energy Engineers, Inc.
Electrical: Johnson Engineering and Design, Inc.
Lighting Design: Ripman Lighting Consultants
Plumbing/Fire Protection: Forte Engineering
Landscape: Saporta Landscape Architecture
Civil: Nitsch Engineering
Steam: Vanderweil Engineers
Estimator: Commodore Builders and Elaine Construction
80 Trowbridge Street Cambridge, MA 02138 telephone: 617-868-1766 fax: 617-661-1148