The Building Technology (BT) Program at MIT is a group of students, faculty and staff working on design concepts and technologies to create buildings that contribute to a more humane and environmentally responsible built world. Our work ranges from fundamental discovery to full scale application. Strategies employed toward these ends include integrated architectural design strategies, resource accounting through material flow analysis and life cycle assessment, structural design and optimization, building and urban energy modeling and simulation, human comfort analysis, control design and engineering, and other technologically-informed design methods. Students interested in any of these strategies will be challenged to address topics of clear and important relevance to the future of the built environment through creative and analytically rigorous approaches.
Research areas supervised by the faculty address innovative materials and assemblies, emerging and nontraditional building materials, low-energy and passive building energy strategies; innovative analysis and modeling of historic structures; performance-driven computational design approaches; and various issues of energy and material resources at the urban scale, including urban environmental sensing, the urban heat island effect, and urban metabolism. Students entering into the program are able to engage with active and ongoing research projects while pursuing their own intellectual and career agendas. These projects change regularly and individual faculty and research lab pages are the best resources for finding current research position opportunities.
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PublishedFebruary 1, 2022
Spring 2022 Public Program
MIT’s Department of Architecture is pleased to announce our spring 2022 public program; a continuing conversation on where we are now.NewsArchitecture + UrbanismArt Culture + TechnologyBuilding TechnologyComputationHistory Theory + Criticism
PhD in Building Technology
The program is open to qualified students with a suitable background in technology and a degree in engineering, science or architecture. It provides a focus for those interested in the development and application of advanced technology for buildings. Students in this program take subjects in engineering disciplines along with subjects that deal with the application of these topics to buildings.
The minimum residency requirement for the PhD degree is two years; two or three years in residence beyond the SM degree are likely to be necessary. Those entering the program with only a bachelor's degree, should plan on completing the program in five years. Candidates are expected to be registered at MIT until the PhD dissertation is completed. Only under special circumstances will students be allowed to carry out any of their research while not in residence at MIT.
Each admitted applicant immediately begins research under the supervision of a faculty member while also taking course work. Most PhD research projects will be a portion of a sponsored research project.
Each student is assigned a Building Technology faculty advisor upon admission. Generally the same faculty member also supervises the student's research. The advisor weighs in on the initial plan of study, including the selection of a major and minor field, and on each term's choice of subjects. The advisor monitors the student's progress and assists the student in selecting a dissertation committee.
Doctoral Research Opportunity in Building Technology and Advanced Urbanism
The Norman B. Leventhal Center of Advanced Urbanism and Departments of Architecture and Urban Studies and Planning have established a collaborative doctoral-level concentration in Advanced Urbanism. Urbanism is a rapidly growing field that has many branches. At MIT, we speak of Advanced Urbanism as the field which integrates research on urban design, urbanization and urban culture.
The concentration in Advanced Urbanism seeks doctoral applicants (one to two per year) who have: 1) at least one professional design degree (in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, etc.); 2) research interests in urbanism that would draw upon both ARCH and DUSP faculty advising; and 3) a commitment to engage with the research community at the LCAU and within their home department throughout their time at MIT. Applicants should apply for admission to an existing ARCH or DUSP PhD program and must meet all specific admissions requirements of the respective PhD program. Admissions committees nominate applicants who fit the urbanism program to a joint advanced urbanism admissions committee. The selected applicants are admitted by their home department discipline group (DUSP; AKPIA, BT, Computation, HTC) with financial support and research assistantships from LCAU.
Prospective students with questions pertaining to the doctoral studies in Advanced Urbanism should reach out to their prospective home doctoral program and to LCAU doctoral committee members: Rafi Segal and Brent Ryan. Or to the mailing list email@example.com.
Master of Science in Building Technology
The Master of Science in Building Technology (SMBT) provides a focus for graduate students interested in the development and application of advanced technology for buildings. Students in this program take relevant subjects in basic engineering disciplines along with subjects which apply these topics to buildings. The program accepts students with undergraduate degrees in a variety of engineering disciplines, in the physical sciences, or in architecture – with a suitable background in technology. Students also come to the program with diverse job experiences, from the design of space-conditioning equipment for buildings to the Peace Corps. All share both a keen interest in buildings and a thorough education in mathematics, physics, and other technical subjects.
Each student admitted to the SMBT program will take part in a research project. A major contribution to the student's education in this program comes from the experience gained carrying out research and design on the fundamentals of new technologies and their application to buildings. The research project will normally be on a subject under current investigation by an interdepartmental team of faculty and students from the Departments of Architecture, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or by an individual faculty member. This research is used to fulfill the thesis requirement for the SMBT degree. The research projects, sponsored by industry and the government, give the students exposure to practitioners dealing with important issues in the building field.
The Master of Science in Architecture Studies (SMArchS) is a two-year program of advanced study founded on research and inquiry in architecture as a discipline and as a practice. The program is intended both for students who already have a professional degree in architecture and those interested in advanced non-professional graduate study.
SMArchS in Building Technology
Building Technology offers students the opportunity to explore critical topics for the future of the built environment and resources. This area explores ways to use design and technology to create buildings that contribute to a more humane and environmentally responsible built world. Strategies employed toward these ends include integrated architectural design strategies, resource accounting through material flow analysis and life cycle assessment, building and urban energy modeling and simulation, human comfort analysis and control design and engineering, and other technologically informed design methods. Students interested in any of these strategies will be challenged to address topics of clear and important relevance to the future of the built environment through creative and analytically rigorous approaches.
Research areas supervised by the faculty address innovative materials and assemblies, emerging and nontraditional building materials; low-energy and passive building energy strategies; innovative analysis and modeling of historic structures and various issues of energy; and material resources at the urban scale, including urban environmental sensing, the urban heat island effect, and urban metabolism. Ideally, students entering into the program will be incorporated into active and ongoing research projects while pursuing their own intellectual and career agendas. These projects change regularly and individual faculty are best informed of current research position opportunities.
Students will often work alongside students from other departments, including Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Material Science and Engineering, Urban Studies and Planning and others. The only class requirement stipulated by the BT group, 4.481 Building Technology Seminar, is offered during the first semester. BT SMArchS students will be accommodated in the Building Technology student lab area and will have the opportunity to work with and share their interests with BT students in other degree programs.
These areas of study are offered with the primary intention of providing the tools and perspectives necessary for changing the nature of the built environment toward a resource-efficient future. Students of diverse educational backgrounds and interests are considered.